Pacificcoastcycleforacause's Blog

With Bad News, there is ALWAYS GOOD!
September 17, 2010, 3:28 am
Filed under: BLOGS

Unbelievably,  it has nearly been a year since the Cycle for a Cause crew hit the road from Salt Lake City to Seattle, Washington. From there we began the 1600-mile, 21 day, Seattle to San Diego “Cycle for a Cause” ride.  As the 2010 summer has progressed, I (Max Kuszaj) have struggled with what type of bike ride I wanted to organize for charity to be completed this fall.  As I was weighing out options, and discussing them with new and previous ride participants, I came to a huge “bump” in the road that would result in the cancelation of any ride ideas for this fall.

It is with great regrets to announce, the Cycle for a Cause crew will not be participating in a charity ride this October due to a motorcycle accident I was involved in on August 13th.  Instead I will be focusing my time on recovering from my injuries that were resulting from my accident.

Trust me, there is no other place I would rather be than on the road with my friends laying down miles for an amazing cause. This fall will have to take a “rain check” for me personally so I can rehab my body from the broken bones.  Be sure not to worry, the Cycle for a Cause will resume this up coming 2011! Please stay tuned to our website for updates. If there is anyone interested in participating, or has ideas themselves for a ride or charity work, please contact me through email.

Please be sure to check out the photos I am posting from ski photographer Alex O’brien, who was onboard with us from San Francisco to San Diego.  He captured some amazing moments from the second half of the ride. I am sorry Alex it took me this long to put them on the site.

And finally, I want to recognize some amazing people who we have lost since we completed the 2009 ride.  Three great friends and amazing people have left our ski community and lives; Jack Hannan, CR Johnson and Arne Backstrom. We love you guys and will forever miss you…especially your smiles.  Blue skies…


Cycle for a Cause Athletes at the San Diego finish line!


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The Downstairs in Park City Wrap Party a HUGE Success!
December 15, 2009, 3:09 pm
Filed under: BLOGS

Over a month has passed since the Cycle for a Cause crew arrived in San Diego.  The butts have healed from saddle soreness, the tan lines are starting to fade, and the memories from the road are a constant reminder of how much the ski industry is actually one big family.  When we all reached the final destination of Southern California in late October we all wanted to celebrate, but we all needed proper rest and recovery time.

Now that we have recovered as much as possible, I felt a proper celebration of Shane and Billy’s lives, and Riley’s recovery was in order and The Downstairs bar in Park City, Utah gave us the location to do so.  Not all the riders from Cycle for a Cause were able to make the evening, but Pep Fujas, Cody Barnhill, Jesse Hall, Suz Graham, Carston Oliver, and myself Max Kuszaj were present and brought the celebration (and amazing dance moves) all night long.  Dave Steiner, Jackie Paaso, Angeli Vanlaanan, Alex Obrien, and all the other riders, you were greatly missed.

The evenings entertainment was top notch with beats spun by PC local, DJ Knuckles, and reggae/punk performed by the Cody Jordan Band, eye candy on the flat screens by Matchstick Productions, and an amazing raffle to raise money for the  charities.

The outpouring of the ski industry and it’s participants once again reached beyond my expectations.  Thank you Park City, the family of freeskiers and snowboarders in the Park City and Salt Lake area, and all the others that made it a point to make this night memorable.  MOST IMPORTANTLY, THANK YOU RILEY POOR, SHANE MCCONKEY, AND BILLY POOLE!  WE LOVE YOU GUYS.

See you next year?????

Cycle for a Cause would personally like to thank the following people and companies that made this night possible:












NIKE 6.0





December 8, 2009, 4:56 am
Filed under: BLOGS



When: Friday December 11th. 9:00pm till close

Where: The Downstairs in Park City


Cost: $5.00 door, $5.00 raffle

Raffle includes: a Tribute pair Shane McConkey K2 Pontoon’s, Go Pro Cameras, an “UnderGround” Revolution Snowboard, Discrete Gear, Scott USA Product, Skullcandy Gear, NEFF swag, Utah Resort Lift Tickets, Nike 6.0 gear, MSP DVD’s and much more.

LIVE music by CODI JORDAN, UnderGround Drink specials, late night music by DJ KNUCKLES, MSP movie screenings of “In Deep” and “Something About McConkey”, athlete appearances, and much more.

XSI will also be in attendance to spread awareness of their insurance offerings to athletes.

November 1, 2009, 2:21 pm
Filed under: BLOGS

Cycle for a Cause

Since the arrival in San Diego less than a week ago, I have had time to relax, reflect and think about the 24 days spent on the road raising awareness with an amazing group of athletes and friends. Now that the ride has come to completion, I need to express the point that the cause will live on, and the spreading of awareness to the public must continue.

As freeskiing athletes and friends we are involved in an amazing industry, but one that needs a lot of direction when it comes to the health and well-being of its’ participants.  Yes, it is a one-of-a-kind industry in many ways, and one that has consumed my life for nearly 10 years.  I have met the most amazing individuals, traveled the world, and have made the best family of friends one could ever imagine possessing. With the stream of tragic accidents continuing, injuring and claiming the lives of friends, something needs to be changed.  When I say “something” I am stressing the health, life, and general insurance freeskiing athletes cannot carry to protect themselves and their families against the financial struggle that may occur with an accident.  I cannot think of another industry where the athletes and participants involved are in a situation like this, and it MUST improve.

Common questions often linger in my mind constantly. “Why can’t an athlete receive health insurance with a sponsor when signing a contract?” “Why can’t athletes like us receive life insurance that is affordable?” “How can companies turn their backs on an athlete who is in need after an injury?”  The questions continue on and on, and for some reason I cannot find the proper answers, and that I have an “EXTREME” issue with.  I hope that with events like the “Cycle for a Cause” we can bring some awareness and shed some light on these answers.

Our quest to pedal the West Coast was a success.  Being surrounded by a group of people who share these concerns, who want to bring the necessary change to our world of freeskiing is what made this achievable, enjoyable and memorable. I cannot express my gratitude enough.  You all have hearts of gold, buns of steel and the experience of sharing the open road with you is one I will never forget; Pep Fujas, Dave Steiner, Jesse Hall, Cody Barnhill, Jackie Paaso, Angeli VanLaanen, Alex Obrien, Tom Dolezel, Sherry McConkey, Tal Fletcher, Suz Graham, Carston Oliver, Greg Strokes, Tess Weaver, Derek Taylor, Tony Zentil, Matt Barber, Ian Graham, Mike, Casey, Katie, Shane (forgive me for not knowing your last names), ‘Super Nanny” Jen, and Ayla McConkey. Thank you for your pedal strokes and support of this ride.

This ride would not have happened without the financial and corporate support from the companies that have helped. The appreciation and gratefulness we have to you all is inexplicable.

The ride THANKS:


Oakley and Oakley Research and Development


GO PRO Cameras

Under Armour

Axis Freeride

Skull Candy

Scott USA

Beyond Coastal

BOOST Mobile


Cole Sport

Nike 6.0

K2 Skis


Evo Gear

Powder Magazine

Freeskier Magazine

Skiing Magazine

Blue Sky Foods


Mtn Ranks

Alta Ski Resort

Matchstick Productions

Erik Seo

And finally, thank you Riley Poor, Shane McConkey and Billy Poole for being the inspiration in my life. You are what made this happen.

………..SEE YOU NEXT YEAR?!?!?!!?!??



More Photos from the final day of the ride courtesy of Oakley:

Day 24: Newport Beach to San Diego, CA
October 28, 2009, 3:22 pm
Filed under: BLOGS

Today was the final leg of our 24-day grueling journey along the Pacific Coast.  We started the day off in Newport Beach, CA with our crew (plus Tom Dolezel’s friend, Mike) and headed down the PCH to Laguna to meet up with the Oakley posse consisting of Greg Strokes, Tess Weaver, Matt Barber, and Tony Z. Once catching up with them, we all pedaled on to Dana Point to meet Derek Taylor from Powder Magazine.  From there our crew was complete, and we motored on towards San Diego, a ride roughly about 90 miles.

Having some new, strong, and less fatigued riders was great and made the riding much easier for the crew that has been on the road for 3-plus weeks. Thanks you guys for “pulling” the crew along and all the support.  It was amazing to see the group grow as the ride continued on each day, and having 20-plus individuals for the final day showed what an impact this ride has made in such a short time.

We pedaled on to Encinitas to meet briefly for some coffee and food to fuel the final push to La Jolla and finally, San Diego.  Once in San Diego, we were met at the finish line at Mission Beach by Alex Obrien, Ayla McConkey, Jen the “Super Nanny”, Craig Coker, Michael Olenick and many others handing out “high fives” and hugs.  The support from all was felt all around.  As much as it was amazing to San Diego, it almost felt anticlimactic after all the days on the road.  But standing there on the boardwalk along Mission Beach surrounded by friends and family, in the sunset, and watching Sherry and Ayla play on the beach, it all made sense as to why we did this ride.

Thank you everyone that was involved and all the support. None of this would have, or could have happened without you. Riley, Shane and Billy, we all love you and this was for you guys.

As far as all the riders involved, Pep, Dave, Jackie, Jesse, Suz, Cody, Sherry, Tal, Carston, Shane, Ian, Alex, Angeli, Tom, Greg, Tess, Derek, Tony, Matt, Mike, Casey, Katie and everyone else (if I failed to include you, I’m sorry) you guys are amazing and thank you!

Stay tuned for more photos and blogs from the final days and after ride events in San Diego.

An after-ride conclusion party will take place in Salt Lake City later in November.  Information for this will be up soon.




Day 23: Malibu to Newport Beach, CA
October 26, 2009, 10:42 am
Filed under: BLOGS

Today was a new day, with all the bad luck set aside from yesterday; we headed out of Malibu and south towards Newport Beach for the second to last day (hopefully) of this long trip.

Unfortunately though, today was the day that we had to say goodbye to one of our key participants from the start, Cody Barnhill.  Cody had to fly up to Alaska today for a Warren Miller movie premiere in his hometown.  Thanks so much for being apart of this ride Cody.  We all are going to miss you!

After our goodbyes to Cody, we hit the road and packed into a large drafting party along the PCH from Malibu to Santa Monica and motored out the first 25 miles to Venice in great time.  There in Venice we slowed down the pace and to get some great people watching in.  We also spent some serious time convincing Tom to change into one of his famous banana hammock thongs, but the idea was shot down when the Venice locals verbally assaulted him as he stepped out of the restroom. Guess Tom riding a bike in a lime green thong through Venice is not going to happen on this trip, what a disappointment.

From there we pedaled along the boardwalks down to Manhattan Beach for some lunch.  Pumpkin races were the local attraction down the streets of Manhattan Beach today.  See the photos below for some images of the street rolling madness.

After some killer food at the local Wahoo’s Fish Taco Restaurant, we motored on though Hermosa Beach.  Then we hit the busy roads of Long Beach on to a bike path running parallel to a Los Angeles water canal made famous by all the Hollywood action movie chase scenes.  The only chase seen going on was the group trying to keep up with Sherry as she pulled the crew the few miles down the pathway.  I think Sherry is starting to like wearing spandex and hauling down the road, but I won’t start the rumor with her mountain biking peers.

A quick refueling stop at the Long Beach Whole Foods market and we were ready to go for the final 20-mile push to Newport Beach for the evening. The final 20 could have been mellow, but Pep and Steiner decided to power it out to make the Newport Dunes Resort before dusk.  Mission accomplished.

Everyone is getting well rested for the final day to San Diego tomorrow, which will be a long one, at least 90 miles.  A quick stop at the Powder Magazine offices is in store for the morning, and then the rest of the day will be the mission to finish this 1500 mile ride.

Wish us some luck and thanks for all the support. Shane, Billy and Riley, you guys are nonstop on our minds and this one is for you.


Day 22: Goleta/Santa Barbara to Malibu
October 26, 2009, 1:44 am
Filed under: BLOGS

Today was one of those days…one of those days where no matter what you do, or try, things just don’t go the way you planned them or wanted them to.

We knew that the miles were going to be high today on our venture to Malibu from the Santa Barbara area, but the major bumps in the road were not at all expected…

As usual, the crew set out at separate times with a 40-mile halfway meeting point established.  Tal started off the day rough, with 2 flats before we even left the campground.  The day would only get better from here.

My group of Dave, Pep, Tom, and Tal powered through the bike paths and side routes of Santa Barbara and the Pacific Coast Highway.  Pep suffered some mechanical issues with one of his tires and needed the tire replaced, so he fell off our group and stopped at a shop for repairs.  Tal experienced his 3rd flat of the day, and then was rescued by the Canadian RV when the bead on his tire would not hold on to his front rim.

We all made it to the midway meeting point with the support truck along the Pacific Coast and regrouped and planned the rest of the long afternoon to Malibu.  Jesse and Suzanne pedaled on, followed by Steiner and Carston who made a push on solo, then Tom and myself, and finally the rest of the group including Pep, Shane, Jackie, Sherry, and Cody.

The directions were a little vague, but everyone managed to navigate through Ventura and Oxnard eventually and towards Malibu.  Here is where it all “hit the fan.”  Shane struck something in the road and went over the handlebars while pedaling and required multiple staples in his head.  So while the crew that was riding with him was occupied with his medical attention, Alex ran into problems and had a flat tire on the truck. Luckily, he managed to be in front of us down the PCH so we were able to assist him with the spare tire.

By the time the truck was ready to go, the sun was setting and 25 miles remained till Malibu.  Jesse, Suz, and myself pushed on along side the sunset (with our highlights and tail lights) and pedaled out the final miles to Malibu and our hotel in the pitch dark.  Right behind us arrived a sweaty Pep, who decided to keep pedaling even after the Shane accident, and also managed to get in 100 miles for the whole day.

Much needed sleep is in order for tonight and thoughts of 2 more days of pedaling to San Diego is on our minds and in our dreams.

Tomorrow is slated out to put us in Newport Beach.

Shammy Butter is a gift from god…


Day 21: Oceano to Goleta/Santa Barbara, CA
October 26, 2009, 1:18 am
Filed under: BLOGS

The lack of wifi and internet access has hindered the blogging process.  Sorry for all of you who have been reading the daily updates.

Today consisted of a big push to the Santa Barbara area from Oceano.  This was the first day that we have had riding together as the large new Cycle for a Cause crew.  Needless to say, this is extremely different than the first 20 days.  We are no longer the 6-7 person cycling group, but the new arrivals make me realize how important this ride is to everyone.  Thanks to all that can be here to participate, and thanks to all of you who are reading.

After the goodbyes to Ayla and her “Super Nanny”, Jen, we started our morning off heading southeast and away from the coast.  This put us inland and pedaling into vast farmland with long, long, loooooong straightaways of road.  It was a nice change of pace, and a nice change of scenery.

The group thinned out to different riding groups due to speed and riding abilities and we were off to the midday meeting point for the support truck.  Might I add, Alex Obrien, you sir are amazing!  Thanks for lugging all of our stinky gear and much needed cycling supplies day after day.  We all can’t thank you enough.

After a longer than needed break, and some “Cycle for a Cause” poster distribution to the local Starbucks in Lompoc , CA, the crew slowly dispersed to our final destination of Goleta/Santa Barbara El Capitan State Park.  This final 40 miles of riding would include our last major hill climbs, which would in turn, be the hottest section of riding we have experienced on the whole trip.  Once again, Alex was there with the support truck to revive us with fluids and supplies, which was beyond necessary!

Route 1 finally intercepted the 101 (the Pacific Coast Highway) and we were back on the Pacific Coast with our much needed ocean views for the last 15 miles to the State Park.

Upon arrival to El Capitan State Park, the crew decided to hit the beach and get “pummeled” as I like to define it by the small swell of waves.  The salt water on the sore body was the perfect ingredient to the end of the day.

Tomorrow will be a long 90-100 mile day to Malibu.

San Diego is in our sights now….


Day 20: Cambria to Oceano, CA
October 23, 2009, 12:24 am
Filed under: BLOGS

How can I express the refreshment felt by all when a 4-year old little bundle of singing and dancing happiness joins a group of tired and stinky road cyclists who have just pedaled 1200 miles down the Pacific Coast?  You really can’t.  So enter Miss Ayla McConkey.

The Sand Princess

The Sand Princess

We are extremely lucky to have onboard Sherry and Ayla McConkey and a great friend of Shane’s, Tal Fletcher.  These guys drove 8 hours from Lake Tahoe to meet up with us to pedal for a a few days for the cause.  The presence of them along for the ride is unexplainable.

Also joining (or should we say, rejoining) the ride is Tom Dolezel and his group of Canadian film school students.  These guys (and girls) drove 3 days straight from Toronto in a RV to meet us and follow all the way down to San Diego.  Pretty amazing.

On to the ride…today was a very mellow 50-55 miles pedaled from Cambria to Oceano.  This ride was by far the easiest we have had all trip and was very much needed.  A light spin to welcome Sherry and Tal into the group and a light spin to help our legs recover.

Once in Oceano we set up camp, filled the Canadian “CruiseCanada” RV to the brim with people, and headed down to the beach for some sunset photos, a quick cold swim, a few adult beverages, and some dancing with Ayla in her “maybe” halloween princess dress.

The night concluded with a huge dinner at the local mexican restaurant and the arrival of Suz Graham, Carston Oliver, and friend to the roster of people on the ride.

Tomorrow is a big push to Santa Barabara (Approx. 90 miles).

Keep on reading, thanks for all the support, and be sure to check out all the photos below.


Day 19: Big Sur to Cambria, CA
October 21, 2009, 10:01 pm
Filed under: BLOGS

What can be said about today?  Sea Lion lined beaches, lap-sitting squirrels, pedaling above the clouds, amazing downhill sections, tail winds, tons of sun, vultures, the endless views of the Pacific…this ride had it all…and Jackie saw Tarantulas!

We the day started out at Big Sur, where we found ourselves climbing up a large 1200-foot climb for breakfast. Great way to start the day…I hope you can feel my sarcasm in that statement. Once past the climb, we rode above the cloud/fog layer lining the Pacific Ocean that was very similar to the day riding from Manchester to Bodega Bay. Unbelievable.

The midway point of our ride, and point where we met our support vehicle and Alex, was at a scenic overlook with the most outgoing and daring little group of squirrels I have ever seen in my life. Look at the photos and see for yourselves.

After that was yet again two large climbs along the coast and then down to the shoreline for about 10 miles before we hit the land of the Sea Lions.  When I say land, I am not exaggerating.  These guys littered about one mile of beach and were quite entertaining with their mannerisms and sounds.  Again, see the photos.  They speak for themselves.

The day concluded in Cambria, CA about 75-80 miles from our departing town of Big Sur.  Tonight more people are meeting up and the pedaling crew will increase the more we head south.

Tomorrow is in the works, so stay tuned for updates, blogs, and photos from the road.  The end is in sight, about 350 miles in sight…