I was first introduced to the Kelly Brush Foundation in 2009 when I was lucky enough to receive a grant for a KBG sit ski. I’m extremely grateful for that because since then I’ve been able to ski with my friends and family when and where I’ve wanted.
Fast forward to 2014 when I purchased a hand cycle and began to ride regularly. I’d heard about the Kelly Brush Ride since receiving my grant and now that I had a bike I knew that this was my chance to give back. I got a picture of me on my bike put it on my fundraising page and shared it on Facebook and emailed it to everyone I knew. I had tremendous support from my friends and family and raised much more than I had expected. It was humbling and got me even more excited to take part in the event. I rode all summer and fell in love with cycling, that year I rode the 25 mile route and was blown away by the whole event and knew I’d be back. In 2015, I set a goal to do the 50 mile route, I ended up meeting up with a couple friends and I finished much faster than I expected. I got to meet a bunch of other riders on the road and while enjoying the after party. I was already looking forward to the 2016 ride while driving home that afternoon.
On September 10, 2016 I completed my third Kelly Brush Ride and it was the best one yet! I set my goal in the spring of 2016, to ride the 100 mile route at the Kelly Brush Ride and a total of 2,000 miles before snow falls. The night before the Kelly Brush Ride I could barely sleep because of the nervous excitement, this was my first 100 mile ride and 40 miles longer than my previous longest ride! My buddy Geoff, also a hand cyclist, and I have done a lot of riding together at home in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. He’d done a few century rides previously and knew how much I’d trained and that I could do it. We were the first ones in the parking lot and got ready as the sunlight was barely a glow on the horizon. We were on the road before 6am, giving us plenty of time to finish and enjoy the social scene at the finish line.
We hit our stride early and knocked out the first 60 miles in just under 4.5 hours, the next 40 or so went a little slower but we still finished in better than expected time (under 9 hours) and crossed the finish line around 3pm to a roaring crowd. It was an awesome feeling to accomplish such a big personal goal but also to show what’s possible if you work hard and set goals. We had plenty of time to enjoy some food, drinks and talk with old friends and make some new ones.
I’m so thankful for the Kelly Brush Foundation because receiving my grant gave me the start I needed to get back into sports after suffering a spinal cord injury from a motor vehicle accident in 2006. I’ll continue to look forward to the Kelly Brush Century Ride in the years to come knowing that the money raised is helping to get someone else that suffered an injury back into sports, staying active, setting and achieving goals of their own.
Also a huge THANK YOU to all the volunteers that help make the ride so amazing!!!
See you on September 9, 2017 for the 12th Annual Kelly Brush Ride!