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New event to promote unity

Adia Waldburger, of the Record staff

The National Ability Center (NAC) is adding another event to its already bustling events calendar.

The Summit Challenge, which will be held Aug. 30, is a hands-on event that the NAC hopes will allow better understanding and interaction between disabled athletes and the able-bodied public.

The Center already offers a number of large-scale events, including the A Starry Night and Red, White and Snow galas as well the Ability Ski Challenge that allows able bodied skiers the chance to ski alongside some the NAC’s best sit-ski and mono-skiers. The Summit Challenge was created to complement the Ski Challenge, so that able-bodied people could interact with the some of the NAC’s summer athletes.

"A lot of people don’t have many opportunities to participate with people with disabilities," said NAC Marketing and Outreach Coordinator Ryan Jensen.

Jensen is hoping the event will promote understanding about disabled athletes.

"It gives people the chance to actually get out and see their abilities and a person with disabilities and realize that they enjoy an activity at the same place in the same way," Jensen said.

There will be two distances, a 15-mile and 50-mile ride. Jensen said that next year they hope to add a century ride to the roster. The 15-mile ride will take off from the Center grounds and wind out and back through Park City. The 50-mile ride will take riders to the east side, through Kamas, Oakley, Francis, Marion and Peoa before heading back to the NAC. Jensen said that those interested in a longer, more scenic ride will love the 50-mile course. He also noted that many of the NAC’s disabled recreational riders have chosen to do the 50-mile course to give themselves a hard, challenging ride. Longer distances are no big deal to most of these cyclists. Most of the recreational riders will do a 15-mile ride at least three times a week.

Already signed up are cyclists that are visually-impaired, have spina bifida and are amputees. Jensen some spinal cord injury riders may also participate. Those riders will be riding hand cycles, recumbent bikes and tandem bikes. Riders will include, former Paralympians, competitive cyclists and recreational riders. Able-bodied riders will get an opportunity to take a turn on one of the disabled bikes after the ride. The NAC will hold a post-ride BBQ where people can take any of the NAC’s 12 bikes for a spin around the parking lot.

Check in for the Summit Challenge will start at 7:30 a.m. and the 50-mile ride will take off at 8:30 a.m. The 15-mile ride start will follow at 9 a.m. The NAC has also garnered the support of health provider, Select Health that will place emergency medical services all along both courses. After the cycling tragedy that occurred in Brown’s Canyon a few weeks ago, Jensen said it was paramount to make sure that all riders would be safe. There will also be numerous stops along the way where participants can grab some water and energy bars. A BBQ will follow the ride at 2 p.m.

To sign up for the Summit Challenge, visit http://www.discovernac.org.


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