Later this week, two ERIK’S employees are embarking on a long journey beginning in Anacortes, Washington and ending at Eglin Air Force base in Florida. The ride itself is planned to be 4600 miles – prompting some to ask “Why?” For Zach Garner and Adam Smith (both of ERIK’S Eden Prairie), the answer of why is an easy one. As Green Berets, they chose to do the trip both as a challenge and to support their fellow soldiers. The mission is to raise money to support Task Force Dagger, but the Ride to Valhalla is also about raising awareness for the issues facing special operations soldiers including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Leaving from Fort Lewis in Washington, Zach and Adam plan to ride an average of 70 miles each day. With stops planned in Montana, Colorado, Dallas, Kentucky, North Carolina along the way there will be plenty of options to follow their progress. The plan is to regularly update their Facebook page for The Green Beret Adventure Team, where live tracking links via Spot and Garmin Livetrack will be posted.
The ride will be completely self-supported, and they are still looking for support in the form of gas cards (mail to Task Force Dagger). Adam and Zach welcome anyone to join them for a day on the ride. Each scheduled stop along the way is significant to their cause, either as a Special Forces base or a location of historical significance to Special Services soldiers. All money raised as a result of this trip will go to benefit Task Force Dagger.
July 29 – Fort Lewis, WA
August 11 – Helena, MT (The 1st Special Service Force was organized and trained in Helena)
August 31 – Fort Carson, CO
September 16 – Dallas, TX (Home to Task Force Dagger)
October 2 – Fort Campbell, KY
October 14 – Fort Bragg, NC
October 30 – Eglin AFB, FL
Like all ERIK’S employees, Zach and Adam love bikes. As part of their preparations, they have selected a few different styles to meet the terrain and their own personal preferences based on the day. Both Adam and Zach have the same bikes, excepting for size and personal component choices. The secondary benefit is the ability to ride every day. Think of it like this – the average chain lasts 1500 miles, meaning if they only road one bike there would be some down time repairing bikes. This way their support team can work on a bike or perform maintenance while they ride another. Take a look at what they are bringing:
This is where the quiver started – the Diverge‘s geometry plus room for wide tires along with disc brakes make it an ideal bike for long rides on unpredictable terrain and even weather conditions. They’ve outfitted their Diverge Comps with custom frame bags so they can carry the gear they need, plus sandwiches – because who DOESN’T like a sandwich? The Diverge is a nimble handling bike that is designed to transition easily from pavement to gravel.
The second bike they are bringing with is the Bianchi Intenso. The Intenso is for days they want to put the hammer down. Keep in mind that no day is a short day by anyone’s standards, so the comfortable yet responsive ride of the Intenso gives them a bit of variety on their journey. The Intenso is also the only carbon bike they have, so the weight savings alone might be all that’s needed to brighten spirits on some days! In all seriousness, the C2C or Coast to Coast geometry is designed for long days in the saddle which will keep them comfortable as the miles tick away.
Finally, the Willard was the latest addition to the fleet for the Ride to Valhalla – but a worthy one at that. While similar in experience to the Diverge, the Willard’s longer wheel base and wider tire capacity make it ideal for the roughest of conditions. The guys will be riding the Willard 2, which has an identical drivetrain to the Diverge Comp‘s they are riding, but the tires are wider and knobbier right out of the box.
We’ll be posting updates on their progress as well – if you have a question for Zach or Adam, send it our way and we’ll pass it along! Later this fall, stop in and ask how to gear up for your own adventure.