By Kaylee LaRocque
NAS Jacksonville Public Affairs Officer
Team Navy Jax cyclists celebrated the team's 12-year anniversary the weekend of Oct. 13-14 as members participated in the 31st annual Bike Multiple Sclerosis (MS) PGA TOUR Cycle to the Shore benefiting the National (MS) Society, a Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)-supported charity.
The team originated in 2005 with 11 members riding in the MS150 Ride to the Shore. The cyclists were sponsored by VyStar Credit Union, which still sponsors the team today by providing jerseys and shorts. Some of the original team members continue to ride as new members join the well-established group of dedicated cyclists.
"I put together this team many years ago because I love cycling and this particular event is for such a great cause," said Team Navy Jax team founder and captain Miriam Gallet. "We, in the Navy community, are always reaching out to those in need. Those suffering from the debilitating effects of MS need our help. The research to find a cure must go on."
"I joined when I arrived at Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) about a year ago and it's been more fun than I ever hoped for," said Naval Hospital (NH) Jacksonville Commanding Officer Capt. David Collins. "A couple of our doctors are on the team, so I decided to join. And this event is for such a great cause."
Team Navy Jax cyclists spend hours training for the event, participating in spin classes at the NAS Jax Fitness Center and getting together to ride in locally-sponsored rides. By the morning of the ride, they were ready to go and excited about participating.
Team members started the ride Saturday morning at THE PLAYERS Championship Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Florida or Marineland in St. Augustine, Florida. Cyclists had the option to pedal 83 miles each day from TPC, 36 or 59 miles from Marineland or an extra loop for the 106-mile Century Ride. Rest stops are available every 10 to 15 miles with bike mechanics to assist with flat tires and support vehicles.
According to Cmdr. Kristian Sanchack of NH Jacksonville, he usually plans to bike 83 miles but that often changes at the urging of teammate Anthony Glass. "Anthony will be out there saying, 'just a couple more miles, okay, we've come this far so let's just do the Century Ride.' So, I plan for 83 miles and usually end up doing a lot more, but it's a great ride."
Cyclists pedal their way to the Daytona Beach Boardwalk where tents are set up with food and drinks. Many spend the night and ride back the next day.
The group set a goal of $10,000 to raise in support of the organization for this year's event with Team Navy Jax cyclists Jeff Carbiener and Anthony Glass raising thousands of dollars for the cause. "I raised $3,000 this year," said Glass. "My company is very supportive of my participation in this event."
"Team Navy Jax is an excellent team," said National MS Society, North Florida Chapter Associate Sydney Henderson. "They raise a lot of money and they are some of the nicest riders that I've met. Their camaraderie is awesome and they are a really great group."
Also supporting the group was Lorrie White and OSC/Smuckers Company at the NAS Jax Commissary and the NAS Jax Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department.
Neither the U.S. Navy, NAS Jacksonville, MWR or Jax Air News, nor any part of the federal government, officially endorses any company, sponsor or their products or services.