Summit Challenge gives riders a chance to give back

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(Source: Julia Rametta)

Participants ride a tandem bike during the seventh annual Summit Challenge. (Source: Julia Rametta)

Just weeks removed from witnessing the Tour of Utah, the biking community hosted another event. But this one didn’t give away yellow jerseys or shiny trophies, instead the participants were the ones giving. The seventh annual Summit Challenge was held this past Saturday for riders of all abilities, an event that was named the 2012 Event of the Year by Cycling Utah.

The proceeds from the event benefit the National Ability Center, a non-profit organization located in Park City, Utah. Their mission aims to uplift individuals of all abilities by helping them build confidence and self-esteem through sport, recreational and educational programs.

“The event was started by a group of volunteers who thought a bike event that included all of our participants would be a fun and challenging opportunity for the community,” said event manager Julia Rametta. “The first year there were less than a 100 riders and it has grown year by year. This year we had over 600 riders and 200 volunteers.”

Participants had the choice of an 18, 52 or 102 mile course that took them through the mountains and valleys of Summit and Wasatch counties. Participants had the chance to ride some of the course that was featured during the Tour of Utah.

(Source: Julia Rametta)

A participant rides a recumbent bicycle during the seventh annual Summit Challenge. (Source: Julia Rametta)

Rametta has seen the event help the participants achieve things that they had never even thought of before. It is a time for some to overcome disabilities, while others can conquer the fear of biking up and down the hilly mountain side.

“We have seen people complete the 18-mile course who never thought they could achieve that,” she said. “This bike ride is open to people of all abilities and we work with each individual to make sure they have a bike they can ride and the support they need.”

The event raised over $50,000 due to the record number of bikers that participated and donated this year. Also, due to a donation by Ernst and Young, the event’s title sponsor, one entire family was able to purchase an adaptive bike and participate together. The Wounded Warrior Project group banded together to ride in the 52 and 18 mile rides which was called the Soldier Ride.

Bikers weren’t the only ones who gave to the center. Donations were given from donors who may not have had the time to bike, or just don’t enjoy being on the saddle for hours at a time. Those donations not only allowed some participants with disabilities to ride for free, but it also gives others a chance to attend a summer camp with a sibling, or for a veteran to go on a short vacation with their family.

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