In Kelly’s Words – Thank you Kelly Brush Ride Participants!
I am completely blown away, humbled, and excited about the success of the “virtual” Kelly Brush Ride this past weekend. To everyone involved: thank you!
When it became clear that we were not going to be hosting hundreds of people on the Middlebury College campus, we really had no idea what kind of engagement and support to expect out of a virtual version of the Kelly Brush Ride. We didn’t know if people would still fundraise—not to mention whether participants would even sign up. Well, you did!
In my last blog I wrote about my hopes for the Kelly Brush Ride in this summer of COVID, and the KBF team spent a lot of time getting people excited about picking their own activity and participating in a virtual ride. While the team did great communicating our hopes for the event and why it’s still so important, I think the event’s success is truly a testament to our community of loyal supporters and your dedication to the mission of the Kelly Brush Foundation. I could not be more grateful for this!
I have heard from a lot of people over the years that they love coming to the Kelly Brush Ride because of the spirit and energy of the day. While I was cautiously optimistic that we could capture this same spirit and energy with a virtual ride, I was blown away by how our participants used social media, direct contact with us, and small groups of trusted friends to capture that spirit, energy, and community feel. Following along the KBF Instagram account and scrolling through my own, nearly every post was someone doing a Kelly Brush Ride activity.
Zeke and I had a busy day of Instagram and Facebook live events (click here to check out our post-ride celebration) as well as meeting up—distanced, of course—with some of the teams that were doing activities local to Vermont. At each of these the energy was palpable. It felt no different to me than if we were all together in Middlebury and everyone was heading out on the route.
As I scrolled social media, a few activities stuck with me. While I loved to see every activity, a few of these really underscored how cool it was to have people capturing the spirit of the Kelly Brush Ride with a cool activity unique to this “virtual” opportunity:
- A group rode to the top of Whiteface Mountain, 5 miles of an 8% grade
- The entire Green Mountain Valley School student body (120+ students) biked on Saturday, many did either 100 or 50 miles
- An 8 year old biked 21 miles, his longest ride ever, because he had planned to do 20 miles at the Kelly Brush Ride and he didn’t want to let the switch to virtual change his goal—go Grant!
- A KBF grant recipient who is a paraplegic did a one mile open water swim
- By the time we were waking up on the East coast, someone had already completed 80 miles in Croatia for the Kelly Brush Ride
- Our top fundraiser, who is a quadriplegic, dedicated his daily FES (functional electrical stimulation) bike ride to the Kelly Brush Ride
- Multiple people on the west coast did indoor activities because of the smoke outdoors
So how was my ride? You may remember that I had a goal of doing three laps of the beginner mountain bike trail at Cochran’s Ski Area with Dylan, my 4.5 year old. We had practiced a few times and I thought we were going to do it but Saturday just wasn’t our day. We struggled our way through 2 laps and decided to skip the third. But the next day we went for another bike ride together and had a great time, a good reminder for all of us that we can always do better tomorrow! We also reinforced an important lesson: the value of being active is being with family, friends, and the quest of personal challenges and accomplishment. Even when goals aren’t reached, set yourself up to fight another day!
The Kelly Brush Ride remains open until the end of September. So there is still time to fundraise and complete an activity if you’d like to take part. We are still having people registering! We already have an eye to September 2021 and look forward to the prospect of bringing everyone who can make it back together while still engaging as many virtually as we can! The energy from this year’s ride will carry us through the whole next year and make 2021 even better.