By Jennifer Kepke, TSB Contributor
The trademark for the city of McKinney is Unique by Nature, which certainly holds true,especially when compared to other cities across the nation. In 2010 McKinney was ranked 5thout of 100 cities by CNN Money Magazine as one of the best places to live; it’s the only Texascity to be in the top 10, which is no surprise with a steadily increasing population and a heartyeconomy.
If “Unique by Nature” fits McKinney, then some of McKinney’s finest residentscomprise a unique cycling team, the McKinney Velo Club (MVC), that has come to be known assome of the elite in amateur racing for the North Texas area.
The team has had outstanding results in racing, but what’s even more unique is that themembers do not keep their winnings to spend on themselves, “We are unique in a way that wecontribute to other things, other than cycling… with our winnings, we don’t keep them; ourwinnings go back into the community,” said team member Stephan Terrill.
Last year alone the MVC donated $2000 to local charities in McKinney, gave $1000in charitable donations to Heroes for Children and to Canine Companions for Independence,helped over 400 kids with bicycle safety at bicycle rodeos, and they gave financial assistance tothe children of a local family whose parents were involved in a domestic dispute.
While the amount of time spent training on the bike benefits the individual’s fitnesslevel and the team as a whole, it also benefits the city. MVC contributes to the quality of life inMcKinney, “We have an adopt a highway program where we go out and pick up trash, ” Terrillsaid, “We’re also very involved in a committee here to set up safe bicycle routes in McKinney. We’re involved in the community as well as Collin County.”
These contributions, coupled with the economic impact that the Bike the Bricks racehas on the historic downtown area with over 7,000 spectators in attendance last year, make asizeable positive economic impact on the city of McKinney.
“It was an incredible day, ” saidBrandon Horrocks, owner of Square Burger in historic downtown McKinney, “We’re right onthe last turn by the finish line; it’s very exciting. Business was tremendous; we ended up selling
out of food. We had to close the whole day, that following Monday, because we were out ofingredients.”
The success of Bike the Bricks wouldn’t be possible without dedication. Twenty-twoteam members attended a training camp in February to prepare for the new race season.Professional cyclist and Active Lifestyle Expert for WFAA Ch. 8, Geoff Godsey, joined thecamp and gave substantial racing advice in a round table discussion every night after dinner.
During the rides he gave guidance to the team, “Godsey rode in the back with some of us,encouraging and coaching us …’ride within yourself’, ‘constant pressure on the pedals’, ‘don’tpush up the hills’, ‘stay at 180′[watts]… It really did help, big-time,” said Scott Giancola.The training camp spanned over four days and consisted of long rides in the beautiful rolling terrain of Texas Hill Country. The purpose of the camp was to build strength, skill and camaraderie among team members. According to team member, Tim Kolb, “Everybody has exceeded their expectations in their riding, and I can’t wait to see in the next week or two the kind of bump that everybody gets in their fitness, and with some of the races coming up – I think we are going to see a huge benefit to the training we’ve been doing out here.”
Make a trip to the Tom Thumb or Starbucks off of Hardin and Eldorado early onSaturday morning, and more than likely there will be a group of cyclists and the flash of orangeand dark blue as the McKinney Velo Club rolls out of the parking lot for their weekly trainingride. These rides are more than just an opportunity for exercise among good friends, thesetraining rides help to pave the way for the club to give back to the community. “When we’resuccessful it allows us to give back to the community in bicycle rodeos for kids and in donationsto local charities, as well as improving everyone’s overall wellness,” said Jeff Fene, MVC boardmember.
McKinney Velo, with over a Hundred members is host to a premiere “Texas Style” criterium known as “Bike theBricks”. The 3rd annual Bike the Bricks will be held on 5/25/12. See www.txbra.org for more info.
Photo taken by: Joy Trotter.In photo: Kent McCormick, Lauras Dvareckas, Jennifer Kepke, Jeff Fene, JohnnyMoore, Jeff Steinman, Ian Scott, Scott Giancola, Roddie Haley, Eddie Cadena,Larry Going, Tim Kolb, Lacey Lonsford, Matthew Looney, Jacob Wood,Stephan Terrill, David Dederichs, Matt Brady