Challenge Profile: Gainesville Club #1 Team in the Nation
This week marked the mid-point of the 2013 National Bike Challenge. Are you tired yet? The Gainesville Cycling Club isn’t. GCC, based out of Gainesville, Florida, retains its firm grip on the #1 national team ranking — having racked up 265,000 points, with the #2 team having earned just more than 138,000.
I caught up with GCC President Jayson O’Mahoney, also known as “J OM – Veggie Power” (pictured below, right), to learn more about GCC.
Formed in 1980 with just 25 members, GCC membership has boomed to more than 1,000 diverse members — ranging from amateur racers and daily commuters to tandem groups and hand cyclists. “Presently, we have over 200 club members and people affiliated with the community of Gainesville on the National Bike Challenge team,” O’Mahoney reports. “Virtually all team members are local to Gainesville, and we pride ourselves on local involvement. Every team member is helping to demonstrate what a great place Gainesville is to ride a bicycle.”
The League’s Bicycle Friendly America rankings support O’Mahoney’s assessment of Gainesville. In 2004, the city earned Silver status as a Bicycle Friendly Community. (To find out how your community can earn a Bicycle Friendly Community ranking, click here.)
Along with organizing community rides and fundraisers, GCC takes its participation in the National Bike Challenge very seriously. “Initially, it was a slow process for people to join the Challenge team, but once the first 50 signed up and began contributing miles and points, the momentum began to build,” O’Mahoney says (pictured right).
GCC has retained its place as the #1 nationwide team since the first month of the Challenge; additionally, two of its members are in the top 20 individual national rankings, five members are in the top 100, and 13 members boast a spot in the top 500. One of the club’s top 500 members is a hand cyclist!
“Two and a half months remain in the Challenge,” O’Mahoney says. “Complacency is not an option. We hope to maintain our points lead all the way to September 30.”
Don’t forget to log those miles! We’re almost at the 10 million “MILE-stone”!