In Kelly’s Words – Personal Challenge
We are one month away from the Kelly Brush Ride! Of course we aren’t gathering together in Middlebury on September 12, so the question we get a lot is “well what is the Kelly Brush Ride this year?”
For me, it means we all get to be creative and come up with our own activity! Since we won’t be together to ride the roads of Addison County, our hope is that everyone will find a fun activity that they complete on or around September 12th. The fun part of this is that it can be anything – road biking, mountain biking, a run, walk, or hike, or anything else that gets you active.
And while that might not be the special event you’re used to, the spirit is even greater. People who apply to us through our Active Fund dream of the ability to pick an activity and do it, but it’s usually unaffordable. That’s what you’re fundraising for: the ability to make being active as easy for someone with a spinal cord injury as it is for you.
As for me, because of a recently healed pressure sore (you can read my blog last month all about this) I’m staying away from my road bike and the unique pressures it puts on my tailbone. This has been hard for me since cycling is typically what keeps me active in the summer. Thankfully I have a mountain bike that allows me to sit in a different position that is not as hard on my skin. With two young kids I’m not able to get out for long mountain bike rides these days unless we get a babysitter (which has its own challenges these days). But I have been doing more rides on our dirt road, in the fields around our house, and even some riding with my daughter Dylan, who is 4 years old.
So what is my Kelly Brush Ride activity? Dylan and I are going to try to do 3 laps on the kid’s mountain bike trail at Cochran’s Ski Area. This summer Dylan has been learning how to ride her pedal bike. She has mastered a balance bike over the last couple years so using a pedal bike was really exciting for her this summer. She has been getting so much better and has even been having fun riding on a little pump track in our back yard that Zeke recently built. (Check out a short video of us in action). Last weekend we went to Cochran’s to try this trail and it was really hard for her and she took a pretty bad crash. After trying it again she could do part of it but definitely not all. So our goal of doing 3 laps together is definitely a stretch, but I’m excited to tackle this together.
While this obviously isn’t a huge physical challenge for me, that’s not the point! It is safe for my skin and I’m really excited to involve Dylan in the ride this way. Together we’ll fundraise to help other moms and dads with spinal cord injuries enjoy the outdoors together like Dylan and I do.
I’m also hoping to spend much of the weekend of September 12th (and other September weekends) joining Kelly Brush Ride teams who are getting together in Vermont to do ride or group activities. The more teams I can join (in a socially distant and safe way) the better, so let me know your plan and I’ll try to join! And if you are getting together outside of Vermont, can I say hi over Facetime or Zoom? One of my favorite parts of the Kelly Brush Ride is seeing everyone who comes to ride so I’m hoping this can be my way to see as many people as possible.
The Kelly Brush Ride is really a celebration of a summer’s worth of training and fundraising and I’m hoping this year will be no different. Last year a rider told me “I know I have to fundraise because if I show up for the ride and haven’t raised any money, I know I’ll get hell from my buddies.” So how do we create that same accountability and urgency when we don’t have somewhere to show up to on September 12th? First, watch this video, and this video [my in-patient rehab roommate!], and this video (you won’t regret it). Then register, use these as inspiration, and let’s do some fundraising over the next month!