Our Story, over and over again…

From the beginning of our time outside the Garden of Eden, we have been a restless people.  Restless to find a place where our belly’s will be full, our hearts fulfilled, and our minds at peace.  Deep at the root of all the things man does, this is his quest .  However, a cunning craftsman also knows this, and he spends countless hours painting a mirage for each of us.  One that when you look at it, what we see is our hopes and dreams staring right back at us, almost a perfect reflection.  A reflection that seems reality.  And so we, seeing this mirage, being to walk towards it.  Our journey starts small and has humble beginnings and pure intentions, but as we continue our journey though, we soon become hungry and thirsty.   In our increasing  thirst and hunger our minds begin to play tricks on us, and our eyes catch little oasis’s as we travel towards our mirage.  Though we once knew these oasis’s were not our destination, in our hunger and thirst it is not so clear now.  Soon we begin to believe these oasis’s are indeed the destination we were looking for!  So we arrive at one, usually the closest available.  The fruit taste so good when we get there, and the water so refreshing!   However, the thing about these oasis’s is that the fruit is sweet but soon gone, and the water crisp but dries up quickly.  What we once thought was our final destination, is now desolate and barren, and provides neither sweetness or refreshment.  And as this oasis withers away, not able to sustain life, our eyes begin looking outward.   Once again instead of looking back, we find ourselves looking forward towards the mirage.  A mirage that is displayed in thin air, yet looks as real and nearer  than before.   So we set out again, knowing that once we get to this place we will finally be able to live life contently, having all that we need from its great resources, and never worry again.  Our journey is smooth and the pace is quick at first, until we begin to thirst and hunger.   Eventually our hunger and thirst is enough that our flesh begins to deceive us again.  We begin to see oasis’s near our path, that start to look more and more like our mirage.  In fact, it seems nearly just like it, enough so in our bewildered minds to stop in.  The fruit is sweet and the water so refreshing!  It’s hard to remember it tasting as good as this before.  Perhaps this is the place we’ve been looking for!  So we are confident in our decision, and decide to stay.  We are merry and full of the sweet fruit and the crisp water, but again soon, these too are gone.  We are left with a barren oasis that now has had its fruit exhausted and water quenched.  To survive our eyes begin to move again, outwards, once more looking for a place that will finally sustain our life, give us plenty that will last, and be content forever.  We see the mirage cleverly constructed again and know it is real.  Setting off on our journey towards mirage over and over again, we have good intentions of reaching that place each time.  And each time, we find ourselves in an oasis, sure that we have reached the place.  Only to learn later that we were fooled when it withers and dries up.

At some point, each of us, at our own time looks back at our path.  What we see is path of destruction.  A chain of once thriving oasis’s with fruit and water, now desolate, dry, and empty.  The only fruit left from our visits is pain, suffering, and regret.   Some of us look back early on and only see one oasis destroyed.   Others see 50, a 100, or even 1000′s before they look back.  When we do take the time to look back, we are usually startled to see Jesus there, following right behind us the whole time with persistence, calling after us patiently, waiting for us to look at Him.  Waiting for us to stop leading our journey, but to instead follow Him to a place He has prepared ahead of time for us.  This place is not a mirage, but the very place we’ve been looking for our whole lives!

No one has ever found this place without Jesus.  It’s not our lack of skill, or physical stamina that is the problem.  It’s not because we set out aimlessly or without supplies.  It’s because our sin has separated us from this place long ago.  It can’t be found by our own searching, efforts, or plans, but only through Jesus Christ and following Him.

Every person on Earth has this same yearning to find this place.  It’s rooted in our deepest parts.  It’s something we can’t ignore or over look or tame.  We strive for it always, and it is universal.  How could everyone ever created, have this same yearning and strive for the same thing?  How could this be?  Because God created us and created us to be in His presence, so it is our natural setting.  We were created to be with God, not apart, and in Him we are only fulfilled and at peace.   Since through our sin we have been separated from God, we are  truly missing this piece of us until He returns in our lives through Jesus Christ.   Are you searching for a place that doesn’t exist apart from God?  Many of us are, and will, and could be forever…  Don’t search forever when Jesus knows the way.

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Cycling Jerseys a success for Congo!

After 2,776 miles in just 7 days on their bikes, the Race for Congo Cycling Team sponsored by Ascend Sportswear finished their amazing ride in Baltimore, Maryland.  Riding non-stop 24 hours a day the cycling riders were on a mission to raise money for the urgent crisis in Congo.   Congo is stricken with conflict tearing families apart, insecurity threatening the innocence of women, and hunger stunting the growth of an entire generation.

The cycling team was not without trouble on their journey though.  They faced foul weather, multiple flat tires on their support vehicles, and worsening fatigue as each rider had upwards of  6 cycling tours every single day!  The riders were wearing their official Race for Congo cycling jerseys and biking jerseys on each route and conquered some amazing terrain.  You can follow their journey and view all the great pictures of this fantastic team HERE.

Cycling Jerseys Race for Congo Start LineThe Race for Congo Cycling Team from World Relief, had a goal of raising $43,000 to bring relief to Congo.  With the help from many generous donors the Race for Congo raised nearly $110,000 meaning the event was a huge success.  We want to thank all of the Ascend Sportswear fans and customers who purchased the Official Race for Congo Cycling Jersey, and those who outright supported the cause.   With your help Ascend Sportswear was able to support World Relief in its critical and powerful mission to aid Congo.

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Energize: Cycling Rest Stops

Cycling Rest Stop AheadOn long cycling rides event coordinators usually set up what they call ‘food’ or ‘rest’ stops every 10-15 miles.  They’re complete with refreshments ranging from chopped up fruit to my favorite, chocolate chip cookies.  Besides, nothing says high performance cycling like shoving 3 of those bad boys down before trying to look serious again.  I do that by grabbing a banana and commenting to my buddies on how my cadence were a little off on the last climb (probably the 3 slices of banana nut bread at the prior ‘food’ stop).   Hey, you have to reward yourself after a good climb!  Anyways, the point of these cycling stops is to provide some much needed nutrition and a critical gatorade refresh; which is likely luke warm by the time you pull your bike up.

Can you imagine biking a casual century without a rest stop?  I mean the pros do it in the tour everyday, but even they have cycling team cars and a lunch break  (a game of balance on your bike while you eat).  Let’s just be thankful they actually get off their bikes to take a ‘natural’ break, as the VS. announcer puts it so kindly.  The point is that everyone needs the right nutrition and hydration to keep cycling at high performance and end up at the finish line.

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Race for Congo Cycling Jerseys Arrive

Race for Congo Cycling Jerseys BoxThe official Race for Congo Team cycling jerseys and team kits arrived over the weekend.  The box arrived in good fashion marked with the words ‘Congo Relief’  (to the left).  That’s what this courageous cycling team from World Relief is all about; relieving Congo from conflict tearing families apart, insecurity threatening the innocence of women, and hunger stunting the growth of a generation.   Their mission is to raise over $43,000 towards this effort in just 7 days traveling over 2,776 miles across the United States on their bikes!

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Major Motion Development Cycling and Biking Results

Major Motion Development Cycling Team Criterium FinishMajor Motion Development Cycling Team sponsored by Ascend Sportswear delivers higher performance results in the USA Cycling 2011 Junior, U23 Elite Road Nationals

Among the most elite junior cycling ranks in the USA, team Major Motion Development delivered an outstanding performance which included 5 top 10 finished and 2 top 5 finishes!  The USA Cycling 2011 Junior, U23 Elite Road Nationals which was held from June 22-26 in Augusta,GA saw the nations up and coming cycling and biking stars in action for nearly a week.

There were a total of 5 events including 3 road races, 1 criterium race, and 1 time trial race.  Cycling Team Major Motion Development’s best performance came during day 3 in the criterium race.  Both team members Cory Williams (shown above – far right) and Ben Bertiger earned a spot in the top 10, with Cory making the podium in 4th position overall! (FULL CYCLING RESULTS BELOW)

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What drives your cycling and biking?

As athletes we are always being driven by something; a faster time, a longer cycling route, or beating your biking buddies in a sprint.   When things get more serious it may be a multi-stage cycling event victory, becoming a professional athlete, and eventually we can be driven towards the ultimate victory in the cycling world like the one we saw in the Tour de France on Sunday.   These are fun cycling milestones and good goals to have.   However, how often do we see great professional athletes reach their respective milestones only to be still unfulfilled?   How often do they then switch what drives them, what inspires them, and what motivates them to money, approval, fame, etc and ultimately destroyed their careers in some way?

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Cycling and Biking for Congo

Ascend Sportswear is Racing for Congo!

Race for Congo Cycling and Biking Jersey

Race for Congo Cycling and Biking Jersey

Ascend Sportswear is teaming up with World Relief to support the Race for Congo August 1-7th.  The 1st annual Race For Congo is a cycling race across the country and against the clock to help end the urgent crisis in Congo. With conflict tearing families apart, insecurity threatening the innocence of women and hunger stunting the growth of a generation, the people in Congo are praying for peace to come now.

Joining them in their cry, 8 Race for Congo cyclists will pedal wearing Race for Congo cycling and biking jerseys and gear from Ascend Sportswear.  They will ride in relay around the clock August 1 – August 7, crossing 2,776 miles in 7 days, enduring grueling hours and pain-filled nights to raise $2 per mile.  Read more about how you can Help and own this cool cycling jersey! Continue reading

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Perseverance: Cycling in the ‘fast group’

We’ve all experienced this or have been there to see it happen…

It’s a cycling club ride and you arrive at the scene and begin prepping for your bike ride (yes, of course you are wearing your Ascend Sportswear men’s biking or women’s cycling jersey).  All the typical cycling club guys and girls show and the ride soon begins.  As usual the peleton begins to split into its riding groups and your group, the ‘fast’ group, starts to gather up to lead the charge.  Suddenly you take notice of a new face in the group.  A guy that looks familiar and you’d guess you’ve seen before, but he must typically ride in another group.  Nothing strange though, and everyone is welcoming as you continue along the bike route. Continue reading

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Day 3: Cycling and Discipleship – Actions speak louder than words

Day 3:  Cycling and Discipleship – Actions speak louder than words

The definition of a Christian disciple is one who accepts and assists in the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ.  As a disciple of Christ, we often think of the ‘great commission’ as pouring out the word of God to our friends or even strangers in an effort to have them accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior.  A worthy cause no doubt, and certainly one way to get the job done.  However, we can’t always be speaking the word into our neighbors, co-workers, and friends every second, especially on a cycling ride!  That just isn’t practical.

As a follower of Christ (a disciple), we are required to learn from and grow into ‘Christlike’ character.  Herein lies one of our greatest tools to spread the gospel, our character and actions.  All too often, we forget the most powerful form of being a disciple, leading by example.  Can discipleship take place without words or even through something like cycling or biking?  You bet. Continue reading

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Major Motion Development Cycling Team Sponsorship

Ascend Sportswear is announcing its official sponsorship of Major Motion Development cycling team as of June 2011.  The junior team is a perfect fit for Ascend Sportswear, as it focuses on developing youths to have discipline and expand their opportunities inside and outside the sport of cycling.  The partnership is a result of Ascend Sportswear’s continued work with the Bahati Foundation, founded by professional cyclist Rahsaan Bahati for the development of under privileged youth.   Rahsaan grew up through the ranks of the Major Motion Development team and excelled to become a very successful professional in cycling ranks. Continue reading

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