More than 3,000 participants and 1,000 volunteers are expected at the fifth annual Dolphins Cycling Challenge. The 2015 ride and run/walk (a new addition this year) takes place Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 7 and 8.
Since its inception in 2010, the event has raised close to $7 million dollars for the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to provide funding for local scientists, researchers and doctors.
Due to underwriting by companies including Lennar and AutoNation, plus help from organizations including the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority, 100 percent of the event’s proceeds benefit the charity.
The biking component of the Cycling Challenge features six different options throughout the tri-county area — the longest being a 176-mile two-day ride from Miami to Palm Beach and back. Shorter legs feature 12- and 26-mile rides.
“The logistics of this event are unbelievable,” explains this year’s chairman, Richard Berkowitz. He and the cycling staff (seven full-time employees) must deal with the Florida Department of Transportation as well as 37 different cities, municipalities and police departments to ensure the event runs smoothly.
A CPA who resides in Aventura, Berkowitz, 63, formerly spent several decades volunteering for the Pan Mass Challenge in Boston but was also part of the founding group for the Dolphins Cycling Challenge. This year he opted to work solely with the Dolphins event because of the time commitment involved as chair – and the fact that the proceeds remain in the local community. Berkowitz plans to participate in the full 176-mile ride, which averages six to eight hours of cycling per day, at approximate speeds of 15 to 20 miles per hour.
According to Berkowitz, a main goal for this year’s Challenge is to help Sylvester become one of just 41 designated National Cancer Institutes in the U.S. Currently, there are no NCI-designed facilities in South Florida (Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa is the only NCI-designed center in Florida). He says there’s a grueling application process and that community support in terms of fund raising is an important component.
VIPs slated to participate in the event include: U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (5K Run/Walk), Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Miami Dolphins CEO Tom Garfinkel (who will chair the event next year) and pro cyclist George Hincapie, according to event CEO Michael Mandich (the 31-year-old son of former Dolphin Jim “Mad Dog” Mandich, who died of bile duct cancer in 2010).
Mandich, a nine-year Miami Beach resident, says several former Miami Dolphin players will also participate including this year’s grand marshal Kim Bokamper (who lost his wife to colon cancer last year), Joe Rose and Nat Moore.
“My passion for this race grew as a result of my dad. However, this has been a blessing to have an impact on so many lives,” says Mandich, who adds an important note: “This is a ride, not a race. From our point of view, it’s competitive but the main goal is raising funds.”
Miami Beach Rowing Club Ergathon
The Miami Beach Rowing Club held its fourth annual Ergathon on January 25 at the Shane Center (home of the Rowing Club), 6500 Indian Creek Dr. in Miami Beach. Masters and junior rowers participated in a 10K workout on the rowing machines (ergometers) followed by a silent auction, boat-naming ceremony and lunch for rowers, family and friends.
The event raised $20,000 — including donations from Health Foundation of South Florida, the DeLaplaine family and Merrill Lynch — to support the purchase of new boats, scholarship recipients and the adaptive rowing program, which was created last year for athletes with disabilities.
Three of the club’s para-athletes, Helman Roman of Hallandale, Luis Amaro of Miami Lakes and Juan Carlos Gil of Coral Gables recently qualified for a national training camp this month in Sarasota that could send them to the National USRowing Para Rowing Team.
NEW EATERY HOPES TO OPEN FOR V-DAY
Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching. Some are hoping for flowers, a romantic dinner and/or jewelry. After eight months of construction, KLIMA Restaurant & Bar, 210 23rd St., Miami Beach, is hoping to be open in time for Valentine’s Day weekend.
Partners in the newly renovated property (previously Tosca, Eden and Talula) are Pablo Fernández-Valdés and Yago Giner, former heads of Spain’s Grupo Tragaluz. Executive Chef is David “Rusti” Rustarazo; Culinary Director is Albert Ventura (both hail from Barcelona).
Offerings include hot and cold appetizers and salads, as well as pastas, prime meats and seasonal fish. Desserts include Key Lime pie with a “secret” Spanish ingredient.
The 122-seat property will feature indoor and outdoor dining as well as a bar area on the ground floor. A second floor members-only club is slated to open by summer 2015.
Beach Buzz appears every other Sunday, and focuses on people and businesses throughout the Beaches, Aventura and Miami. To reach Debra K. Leibowitz, call 305-531-7887 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or become a fan of her Beach Buzz page on Facebook.