Rad am Ring has come a long way: celebrating its 15th anniversary, the cycling weekend at Nürburgring has grown from a small event with only 73 participants in the 24h race back in 2003 to a cycling classic with more than 8,500 participants from different parts of Germany and becomes increasingly attractive for cyclist from all over the world, too: Armando Espinoza probably travels the furthest to take part in the 24h race: the former combat helicopter pilot with the US Marines, 8 time Ironman triathlete and passionate cyclist lives on Maui, Hawaii. When he learned about Rad am Ring and the Ledschends charity team that takes part in the 24h-bike race every year, he decided to fly around half the world to support this charity cause, too.
In the life of Armando Espinoza, many things happened not by accident, but with hard work dedication and a little luck. Becoming a pilot with the US Marines for example, taking part in Ironman triathlons and bike races or meeting Sascha Poth, The Founder of Charity Team "Ledschends", on his home island Maui. They meet while riding up Haleakala, Maui's 3500 meter volcano also know as "The House of the Sun". "Sascha told me about the event, the 24h race and the charity team that rides to raise funds for children in need. I immediately knew I wanted to be part of it”, Espinoza recalls. "It was a challenge like no other I have done before and to benefit children, be able to race on a Formula 1 race circuit is special.”
For his 24h debut, he decided to take one of the biggest challenges you can choose at Rad am Ring: a Solo start. But Armando Espinoza loves challenges, especially when they are taken for a reason: “Everybody has a passion", he says. "What you do with it is up to you. Mine is riding a bike and if I can use it to help others by doing something I love that makes it even better. Sometimes I get to wrapped up on winning and forget why I race. Rad am Rig is a true testament to the love of the sport."
Espinoza does not travel to the Nürburgring unprepared or without ambition, though. He rides up to between 25 an 30 hours per week that add up to an average of 300 miles (approx. 550 km). As his job as a private pilot involves a lot of traveling, he often shifts to indoor cycling as he cannot take his bike with him everywhere and some places are “too risky and not bike friendly to ride outside.” For his 24h debut at the Ring, he will be provided with a bike of our partner Felt that will be equipped with a special edition of Profile Design wheels displaying his name and the US flag – and Armando Espinoza is looking forward to putting both to use at the end of July as he is used to courses with lots of climbing: “At home on Maui you cannot do a ride that has less than 2,500 to 3,500 feet (750-1,000 meters) of climbing”, he says. “But Nürburgring will be something completely different as the climbing will add up.” The US Marine will bring his son Alex Espinoza to the Ring as his race support, but it won’t be the two of them for very long. “I have already met other Team Ledschends members to include James Early, former pro cyclist and last years 4 Man team winner (Master 1 category). An event like this is about camaraderie, about sharing the experience with friends, family and competitors. I am excited to be on the same course as experienced 24h riders.”
Among them will be former mountain bike champion Karl Platt, last years pro race winner Paul Voß and former pro cyclist René Haselbacher.
“We are proud that Rad am Ring increasingly attracts a mix of people from different (professional) backgrounds and different countries all united in the love for cycling. The percentage of athletes from other countries may be still quite small, but considering that we started with only a handful of riders back in 2003, we are positive that this event will continue to grow across borders. Armando Espinoza’s taking part in our 24h race shows that the concept is attractive to cyclists all over the world”, says head organizer Hanns-Martin Fraas.
For further information on these events and Rad am Ring in general please visit our website at www.radamring.de
About Rad am Ring
Rad am Ring is a cycling event which has taken place at Nuerburgring since 2003. The course leads through the very modern Formula 1 arena and over the legendary Nordschleife. Highlights are the 24h races on the traffic-free, partly lit race course and the team quarters in the pit lane. Furthermore, in 2017 Rudi Altig Race, a pro race of UCI category 1.1 will take place for the second time. Besides the ultra- and the long-distance event several amateur races, a time trial, for the first time a mountain bike marathon and some bike rides without timekeeping are held at 2017 Rad am Ring. The amateur races are part of German Cycling Cup, Germany's largest series of amateur cycle races.