Hundreds to take on Summit Challenge
August 23, 2016
This Saturday more than 800 riders of all ages and abilities will gather at the National Ability Center for the Summit Challenge, a bike ride that serves as one of the organization's signature fundraisers.
Julia Rametta, event manager, said the event is actually three rides — participants may elect to ride 16, 52, or 102 miles, and the route takes them throughout Summit and Wasatch counties. Charlotte Hamilton, also managing the event, said riders can expect a great experience.
"They are fully-supported rides, so there are rest stops along the way," she said. "There are SAG [Support and Gear] vehicles to help you out, course signs, arrows everywhere. So it's a very friendly ride for sure."
Rametta said there are typically more than 100 adaptive riders who participate in the event, now in its ninth year. She said the NAC prides itself on its mission of inclusivity and that is reflected in the Summit Challenge.
"This event is for everybody," she said. "The 102-mile ride obviously brings out more of the serious riders. The 52 is also for people who like to ride and want a bit of a challenge, but also not totally crazy for them. And then the 16 we have a lot of families do, a lot of younger kids and then also a lot of the adaptive riders will do that as well.
"We also have a Wounded Warrior group that comes to do the Soldier Ride with us, and they typically do that 52-mile ride. They all stick together as a group and they're a fun group to see and cheer on as they pass through."
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When Rametta describes the Summit Challenge as a signature fundraiser, she means it — the event brings in about $65,000 from the 800 participants reaching out to ask for donations as part of their ride. But she said the event is important in more ways than just helping to fund programs.
"This event gives us a great opportunity to network with the community, both the people participating and also the awesome community partners and sponsors who participate, as well," she said. "And then when you have 800 people out there on the course it definitely brings awareness to what we are doing. And also being able to see everybody who is able to participate with the adaptive cycles, that allows us to spread our mission out there."
Hamilton said organizing a bike ride as a major fundraiser was an easy decision. People in Park City and the surrounding area love to ride, she said, as evidenced by the abundance of trails for both road and mountain bikes. Rametta said the event also serves as a way for the NAC to practice what it preaches.
"It speaks to our mission," she said. "We want to get everybody out there recreating together and this is a way for us to do that in a way that everyone can participate."
While the 102-mile distance draws serious riders, Hamilton cautioned that the event is not a race.
"There are a lot of competitive riders who like to challenge themselves on the 102-mile ride but we really try to emphasize the fact that this is a ride, not a race, because they have to obey all the traffic laws, they have to stop at stop signs," she said. "They're not timed."
Registration is closed for the Summit Challenge, but those who still want to ride can do so.
"People can still do our discovery loop, which is just a one-mile ride," Rametta said. "It's mostly geared toward families with younger children who maybe want to introduce them to cycling, or people for whom the 16-mile ride is even a bit much but they still want to be able to participate.
"And then people can also come and join us at the Event Village. It starts at 11 a.m., and there will be food and beverage tents, and they can cheer on the riders as they come back."
Fundraising will still be open at the event, too, Hamilton said, and she encouraged people who want to be part of the atmosphere to come and hang out at the Event Village.
"Come cheer people on as they cross the finish line," she said. "We have Uinta sponsoring the beer, there's food, Skullcandy has a DJ. It's a fun little atmosphere we're creating to celebrate people's accomplishments."
Rametta added, "It's a party, for sure," and she said it's often touching to see people who have been training so hard cross the finish line and accomplish a goal.
"It's very emotional," she said. "The last couple of years, that last rider to come across the finish line has been very cool. Both years it's been somebody who'd been out there all day and it was their goal to finish this ride."
The Summit Challenge will be held Saturday at The National Ability Center, 1000 Ability Way in Park City. The rides begin at 7 a.m., and the Event Village opens at 11 a.m. For more information, visit SummitChallenge100.org.
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