Adventures with Greg Durso: Wild West Tour & Kelly Brush Ride
WOW, only 24 days until the 14th annual Kelly Brush Ride; time really does fly when you’re having fun… or it just moves faster the older I get?! Three months ago, my transition from Long Island Banker to Burlington Nonprofiter (that’s a word, right?) could not have gone any smoother or better. I already love being the new Program Director for KBF and I really hope I can create a lasting impact. It was at this time last year, at my 7th Kelly Brush Ride, that I really took a step back and realized just how special this ride and community is to me. Not only was it a realization of how special and impactful the KBF has been to my life, but it really hit me that this is where I wanted to be—and this is where I could make a difference in an adaptive community that has become super important to me. As cheesy as it sounds, the Kelly Brush Ride is a moment each year that has helped shape and change my life trajectory and now I sit here (well I always sit) amazingly excited for what’s to come.
Tomorrow, in my official KBF Program Director role, I leave for an almost three-week road trip starting in New York then to Chicago, Denver, Crested Butte, Vail, Park City, Logan, Grand Targhee and finally Jackson, Wyoming. This jam-packed work adventure entails presenting a new semi-secret communications platform to SCI rehab facilities, tons of mountain biking (including the adaptive mountain biking championships and Whydaho Rendezvous MTB Festival) donor visits, fellow KBF grant recipient meet-ups, partner adaptive sports organization outings and who knows what else. Stay tuned for my daily adventure blog and videos!
I will return just in time for the Kelly Brush Ride on September 7 where I think the best of all things is happening – getting the chance to be joined by a big group of handcyclists to start the ride. Most times many of us (handcyclists) are the only ones in a group bike ride or we just head out by ourselves, and the same goes for many events. I am super proud that I get to start with all these handcycles but even cooler for the first time ever at the event, lead over 10 handcyclists, all of who I consider great friends, out for the 50 mile journey. This is an opportunity we don’t usually get, something we always talk about—have a big group together for a long ride—but it just never seems to happen. It becomes so much more than a ride; we get to learn, teach and understand the sport and each other better. We become our own peloton, our own force, our own group of smiles.
I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to these next few weeks, how excited I am to have all these opportunities and create lasting moments and experiences to build off for next year. My role of taking the KBF message on the road is an incredible honor, but personally, the ride has been such a staple in my life that nothing else compares to that feeling I get at the starting line each year. Year after year, this ride gives hope, enables new individuals to live their best active lifestyle, and I’m just so happy that each year I can be a part of it in any role necessary.