Ride Big, Give Big

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The cycling community is one big family around these parts. And when one of our own gets hurt, it sends a ripple through all ends of the cycling spectrum. On June 11th 2012, such an event occurred at Portland International Raceway during the weekly mountain bike short track race. 31 yr old married single speed racer Mat Barton had a freak crash, landing on his head and severely damaging his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

Mat Barton

In an effort to help with the mounting medical bills related to such a horrific injury, all areas of the cycling and racing community have come together to raise money for Mat and his family through auctions and raffles. In the first two weeks of local fundraising, $50,000 was collected. Our own teammate Beth Ann was directly affected by this accident since Mat is a friend and former teammate of his on the Staccato Gelato team. Two of our Les Femmes banded together to raise money while racing the 6 Hours of Mt. Hood XC relay on July 1st. Beth Ann and Jill created the two women team of “Cash us if you can”, completing 11 laps in 6 hrs with about 7 miles per lap and winning the race for this category. With friends, coworkers and fellow cyclists paying $1 or more per lap, they raised over $1200 for Mat.

I participated in the All American Alley-Cat race on July 4th. Competitors paid $5 to enter but many gave more since all of the money is going directly to the Barton family. An Alley-Cat is a race to a series of check points, similar to what a bike messenger would do. The locations are unknown until they say “go” and everyone races to get their “manifest” from a stack on the ground. You must get your manifest checked off at each location and additional manifests were given later in the race, with about 20 miles worth of racing around SE, NE and NW Portland. Other tasks were required at some check points. I also had to do push ups, sing the national anthem and say the pledge of allegiance and drink about 6 oz of a monster energy drink. It was the 4th of July after all. This was my first Alley-Cat and I had a lot of fun for a very good cause. I also won the women’s race against 12 other women. As of this post, the race earned $600 for the family.

The racing community will continue to hold fundraisers through cyclocross season in September. We are hoping that Mat may be able to come out and see us by then.

You can help out Mat and Jessica by donating at BartonPDX.com and follow his recovery journal at CaringBridge.org.

Thank  you to Bikeportland.org and Jose Sandoval for some of the photos.

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