Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The @hand Endurance Racing Team takes on the MS150

by Chad Pavliska
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the annual MS150 ride from Austin to Houston to raise awareness and funds for the National MS Society. Each year @hand employees have the opportunity to ride or provide support as part of the @hand Endurance Racing Team in the event. 

I'd like to share with you why this event was one of the best in the storybook of our company so far. 

First, I know the team was especially grateful to the entire @hand company for their support. It's not lost on us that we spent most of Friday morning planning and then took the afternoon off to go play and have fun. It's due to the hard work from the greater @hand team that even makes that a possibility. Thank you!
Second, the team will have raised over $4,000 for the National MS Society by the time all the donations have come in. Everyone needs help at some point in their lives, and it’s nice when a company sponsors an event which is not only a great experience but helps those who need help. 
Kudos go to Chris Karcher who raised $1,100 himself. I think he has led the fundraising efforts all 3 years running. Can anyone challenge the reigning champ next year? 
I know of one person with MS, so the number of people that approached me with a story about a family member or close friend who is dealing with the disease surprised me. The responses to my donation requests ranged from “unsubscribe” all the way to "thank you for your request, I've been waiting for someone to ask me so I can donate on behalf of a close friend." It served as a reminder that there are people depending on us to get over the fear of rejection when it comes to fundraising and helping others in need. For me it was a great lesson learned. Fund raising is hard but there is a greater cause at play. 
Third, I was really proud of our first time riders Tim Trentham and Jonathan McKinney. While others in the group go out looking to find ways to punish themselves, these guys found a way to get a bike, train only on the weekends, and made the ride look easy. They are the best data point for those still on the fence for next year's ride. You can do this on a budget with limited time and not punish yourself. Although, if you are looking for punishment you can do that too. 
The @hand Endurance Racing Team and the MS150 ride wouldn’t be possible without a stellar support crew led by Dawn Phillips and Carl Howard. Dawn attempted to keep us all in line and organized while Carl attempted to take down two of our younger riders at the bar on Friday night before the ride even started. I really have no idea how Chris Elgin and Chris Karcher started the ride on Saturday much less finished at the head of the pack. They are legends in their own mind for sure. ;)

Finally, I’ll share a thought about our overnight accommodations after Day 1 in Carmine, TX.  Quite simply, we have the best setup of any team riding the MS150 thanks to our HR Manager, Candace Bridges run the Umland Street Sunday Haus B&B just outside of La Grange where we get to sleep for the night.  If we aren't the fastest team, we are the best fed and cared for team in the ride!

On behalf of myself and the @hand Endurance Racing Team, thanks again for all the support!


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