Philip Svitak was killed March 4, 2002 along with seven other American servicemen in Afghanistan. He was caught in what Pentagon officials describe as a fierce twelve-hour firefight after one of the two helicopters carrying them to a landing zone was shot down. The aftermath resulted in the war's worst loss of American lives due to enemy fire. He was a Night Stalker, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, a professional and tough as nails. Phil was killed in the mountains of Afghanistan during a firefight with al-Qaida and the Taliban. He was attempting to rescue a soldier who fell from another helicopter when he was shot. Phil was 31. He left behind his wife Laura, and sons Ethan, and Nolan, and parents Rich and Roseann Svitak. Phil was an avid cyclist. He loved cycling. His favorite was mountain biking. He spent a lot of time on the road bike as well. “The Philip J. Svitak Freedom Ride” was initiated by his cycling buddy Amy Thomas in an effort to honor Phil, his family, all fallen soldiers, and to share his love for cycling. Phil gave his life fighting for what he believed in, our Freedom and our Country. Let's honor Phil, and show our appreciation to all our fallen soldiers by doing what Phil loved best, cycling. Phil was a nightstalker, a very elite group of fighters.
A portion of the funds from the Svitak Freedom Ride presented by CrossBreed Holsters goes to buy bikes for Children of military families at Christmas time these are delieverd to the base in Fort Leonardwood MO. We have a goal of 50+ bikes every year.
"This was the first time I rode your event ride...Over the years I have participated in many rides...both charity and non-charity....I was blown away when I got to the finish and checked in and was given a finisher medal...I only have them from half-marathons...what a pleasant surprise!!!!" -Svitak Freedom Ride Participant
"It's the best course, most well-run and organized, and most fun triathlon in the area" Summer Roundup Triathlon Racer
"You are the best!!! extra-ordinary is all I can say....I will spread the word in NorthWest Arkansas that this is a MUST ride. I am so glad I signed up1! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!-Svitak Freedom Ride Participant
"Everything is FANTASTIC! The course is great. Slip n' slide at the end is rad. Yummy food afterwards is awesome. Can't get better than this!" Summer Roundup Triathlon Racer
"Shout out to Ruth Sawkins and her Awesome Rufus Racing Team! Ruth taught me how to run AND ride a bike AND Seriously believe in myself!"-Cindy P. Kansas
"Nice finisher's medal, great people at the Undercliff water stop!! Just a fun time with a lot of friends and very well put together!! Very organized!"- Svitak Freedom Ride Participant
"Last year was fun......but, this new shake up is way better! It much more challenging! Great job!"- Charles B. Let's Get Awesome! participant