930-mile Cycling Race, Fundraiser for BSHS Graduates


Last updated 6/21/2022 at 10:29am

Sylvia Maas (in orange at right) with some BSHS seniors.

In 2021, Sylvia Maas, endurance cyclist and Borrego Springs resident, had quite a year, winning her two-person division in Race Across the West (RAW), first woman to win the Texas Longhorn 500, crewing the Race Across Oregon (RAO) 260, and riding to Michigan.

This year, she is dedicating her Race Across the West (RAW) to raise money for some special people she met at Borrego Springs High School. The Borrego Springs Soroptimist Club is collecting donations on behalf of the graduates for Maas on her 930-mile-RAW ride.

The scholarship fundraising ride for Borrego students has a nice connection with Race Across the West (RAW) in that this race, Race Across America (RAAM), and the 6-12-24 Hour World Time Trial Championships, all happen, or pass through Borrego Springs.

The riders are expected to pass through Borrego Springs, June 14, between 4 p.m. – 5 p.m. Best place to view Maas is at the XL Gas Station on Palm Canyon Drive at about 5 p.m. or so. The XL Gas Station is also sponsoring her. Other opportune sites to view the riders is from the Mall where the time keepers are; Christmas Circle; as the riders come down Palm Canyon Drive; after cycling down Montezuma Grade; they will then be turning right at Borrego Springs Road on their way to State 78.

"Contributions will, hopefully, help get these students started on their next phase of life with the same confidence and conviction that is shared by their peers," Maas said, adding, "An anonymous donor has offered to match up to $10,000 for graduates."

"Each scholarship will be for $1,000, with the recipients personally receiving the money shortly before they begin school in the fall. I'm hoping for multiple recipients, so any help you can give is appreciated."

Maas, who recently retired from 36 years of teaching and moved permanently to Borrego Springs last year, found a way to keep working with young people.

"I joined the Borrego Springs Chapter of Soroptimist International. Through this philanthropic group, focusing on women helping women, I began to volunteer in one of their programs, which is working with the seniors at Borrego Springs HS," Maas said

She spent the last few months helping students, boys and girls, fill out scholarship applications for four-year colleges, junior colleges, and vocational programs.

"I have been impressed with the attitude and drive of many of the seniors I have been working with on scholarship applications," Maas confided, adding that, "I have recently begun an overall science review for those seniors heading into college next year as science majors."

The hot-button topic of equity in education came to the forefront during COVID. According to Maas, the inequities are real, and Borrego High School is a perfect example of the inequities that plague small rural towns from lack of reliable internet access at the school, to the burden of language barriers between school-student-home-applications.

"It makes it ten-fold more difficult that there is no counselor at the school. Counseling departments generally deal with college apps and scholarship apps with the students. However, I enjoyed the opportunity to get to know the students, and help them with their applications. I really want to see them succeed.

"The reality of money comes with applying, and the students feel it. They need money for transportation, school books and supplies, like computers, and the myriad of other costs that come with transitioning from high school to college. It's scary enough for many Borrego students facing this new and challenging change. Anxiety about money is often enough to discourage a student," Maas reported.

A word about Maas and Race Across the West. Maas is not new to the race, having completed it a number of times. The race begins in Oceanside, California, on June 14, 2022, and finishes in Durango, Colorado.

It starts with riders alongside the Race Across America (RAAM) solo racers. Traversing some of the most beautiful country in the west, RAW leaves the beach in Oceanside, climbs the Coastal Range and drops into the scorching desert of Borrego Springs.

After crossing the deserts of California and Arizona, racers begin a gradual climb into the mountains surrounding Flagstaff, Arizona, and eventually into the Rocky Mountains. The race finishes at Fort Lewis College in the cycling mecca of Durango, Colorado.

Maas set records at the World Time Trial Championships held in Borrego Springs, and last year her team, "IN OUR PRIME," finished the Race Across the West with just one rider – Sylvia Maas.

During the 2021 RAW, the team's spirit and tenacity were tested, as can be expected in events of this nature. Karin Weller, Maas' partner, needed to withdraw from the race at Camp Verde, Arizona. Never mind, Sylvia warriored-up and completed the next 428 miles solo! Now she's Warrioring Up for Borrego's graduate students.

To support Borrego the graduate students, donations to the Borrego Springs Soroptimist Club can be made by going to the club's PayPal account: http://www.siborregosprings.org, then, 1. Click on "Funding education and dreams." 2. Click on "Donate today." 3. Click on the "Soroptimist program" drop-down menu. 4. Then Click on "Race Across West HS senior scholarship."

Contributions can also be mailed to Borrego Springs Soroptimist at PO Box 504, Borrego Springs, California 92004 Please note the donation is for Borrego graduate students.

All donations to Soroptimist International are charitable.

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