Thank You.

Posted May 29, 2013 @ 6:12am | by Skogen

The Almanzo is many things to many people and to me it is something very unique and special. To me it is something that I can very rarely put into words. In the days that have followed the races this year I have read a number of well told tales, all recounting many different views. I have sorted through the photos, found my own personal favorites and tried to pass along as many as I could. This year, like in years past, I have tried to take the days after to try and imagine myself as someone who had taken to the course and experienced it first hand. My take away is this: Almanzo is the sum of its parts, each and every one of them. From the idea of the whole thing, to the volunteers, to the course, to the riders, to the sponsors, to the families that support their crazy relatives, to the employers that allow for time off, all the way to the clerks at the stores we stop in along our weekend journey. It is not without one that the others exist.

This year, with more riders than ever taking the start, the Almanzo faced the absolute unknown. What unfolded on the 17th and 18th of May is a true testament to the power of community. Had it not been for the countless volunteered hours spent collating, sorting, licking, binding and stamping in the kitchen of our home, Amanzo would not exist. If our family and our friends hadn't taken the time out of their lives to come down and take on the task of smiling and getting everyone checked in before the start, the Almanzo wouldn't happen. If the City of Spring Valley didn't open their doors to us and make sure that anything we needed was covered, the Almanzo simply wouldn't get off the ground. If the support from the generous people in the cycling industry wasn't delivered on time and with humility, the Almanzo would have folded up and been forgotten. If the riders that come from just about every walk of life didn't chisel out a space for this event on their already full and busy calendars, Almanzo simply would not be. There is not enough space here to thank each and every one of you, but if I could I most certainly would. In fact, at this very moment, I would give you all a hug if it were possible.

What I saw in 2008 was something that a lot of people told me was preposterous. It was something that a lot of people believed to be a passing fad. It was something that was all to often scoffed at by people that thought not charging an entry fee was insanity. It was something that I knew could happen if the right people were in the right places. I am happy and humbled to say today that all of those people were in the right place at the right time. Some of them have moved on to do other amazing things and others remain to give it yet another go and for all of them I am eternally grateful. There is a bottom line, as there is with nearly everything, and it is that without just one of them I wouldn't be typing this today. Whether you've lent a hand, contributed financially, ridden the event or even just observed, you have made an incredible impact on the sport of cycling and more importantly to me, my life. You have proven time and time again that healthy communities do exist, grow and flourish if given the chance. Thank you.

Chris Skogen

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