Cyclists gear up for annual Dam Ride

Cyclists gear up for annual Dam Ride
Cycling for a good cause - participants ride for charity but also have great fun in this spring event. (Meg McKinney)

If the exercise, scenery and raising money for a good cause wasn’t enough, Charles Rossmann says there’s another draw to participating in the upcoming Dam Ride.

“Where else will you get the opportunity to spend the night sleeping in a dam?”

He and a team of Alabama Power and Southern Company bike riders and kayakers will embark April 12 on the fourth annual ride from the company’s headquarters in Birmingham to Lay Dam to raise money to beat multiple sclerosis.

The “Power Pedalers” leave at 9 a.m. on the 78-mile ride, crossing Oak and Double Oak mountains near Leeds via Alabama 25. Lunch is in Vandiver with riders continuing to Lay Dam for a 3 p.m. arrival. Riders can avoid climbing the two steep mountains by meeting the group in Vandiver.

Those preferring a water experience can kayak or canoe from the Waxahatchee Marina in Chilton County to Lay Dam on Friday and then to Mitchell Dam on Saturday.

Riders and floaters can spend the night at the dam Friday night (cots provided) and return to Alabama Power headquarters by 3 p.m. Saturday. Food is provided for the weekend.

Law enforcement will escort riders, and support vehicles for both biking and kayaking will be on hand. The cost is a $50 donation to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

More information is at (search Dam Ride) or from Rossmann at [email protected] or 205-257-4378.

MS is a chronic, often disabling disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the brain and spinal cord of the central nervous system. About 1 million people in the United States have the disease.

Rossmann, an economist in Southern Company Services Resource Planning who doubles as team captain of the Power Pedalers, said the event covers a lot of ground.

“The Dam Ride celebrates fundraising for an important cause, the company’s hydro history, the beauty of rural Alabama and personal fitness and health,” he said. “It also celebrates friendships new and old with fellowship while on a bike, on the water, at the dining table and around the campfire.”

Last year, 40 bikers and 10 kayakers/canoers joined the fun.

Rossmann said the trip is for employees, retirees, family members and anyone committed to fundraising for MS.

“The Power Pedalers team was started a decade ago by SCS Vice President Charley Long, who is now retired,” Rossmann said. “He challenged himself and others to aggressively embrace the mission of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to end MS. He has ridden across the country to raise money and now leads the team’s kayaking events.”

The Power Pedalers participate in several bike-riding and similar events throughout the year to raise money for the National MS Society, accruing more than $200,000 in the past four years for the nonprofit research group.

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