Beginning September 20, more than 45 cyclists – including five physically challenged athletes – will depart Westlake Village for the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s (CAF) Inaugural Cycling Challenge – Ojai Valley. The three day event will feature options of a 166 or 201 mile journey and up to 15,500 feet of climbing, all to raise funds and awareness for physically challenged athletes.
The course, which begins in Westlake Village, will include iconic portions of past Amgen Tour of California events, such as the Balcom Canyon pass and epic climbs through the Santa Monica mountains. On this ride, it’s not just the ocean views, descents and challenging course that make this a one-of-a-kind event. It is a journey that combines a passion for cycling with the chance to change perceptions. Participants will ride side-by-side with inspirational and talented challenged athletes – including amputees and individuals with paralysis – and witness firsthand the impact of their support. The funds raised through the CAF Cycling Challenge – Ojai Valley directly aid CAF’s mission to support those with physical disabilities through grants for adaptive equipment, training and competition expenses.
Participants taking part in the sold-out event include NBA legend and Hall of Famer Bill Walton and inspiring challenged athletes such as:
- Sarah Reinertsen – The first female above-knee amputee to finish the Ironman World Championship on a prosthetic, Sarah also starred on CBS’s Amazing Race. She is the first amputee to be featured on the cover of Runner’s World and ESPN’s The Body Issue.
- Nick Roumanada – More than a decade after losing his leg to bacterial meningitis at 13, Nick received his first running leg from CAF in 2010 and has since finished the New York City Marathon and multiple Ironman 70.3 events.
- Dan Aldrich – After a water skiing accident left him with paralysis of his left arm, Dan never let his injury slow him down and now competes in golf competitively at the One Armed Golf World Championships at St. Andrews.
- Billy Lister – suffered a stroke at age 15, resulting in hemi paresis. After attending a CAF paratriathlon camp, Billy got hooked on triathlon and cycling. He’s since participated in the 620 mile Dodge Million Dollar Challenge, and he continues to live life fearlessly as an inspiration to others.
“The CAF Cycling Challenge – Ojai Valley offers enough climbing and distance to challenge even the most seasoned cyclists,” said Virginia Tinley, Executive Director of the Challenged Athletes Foundation. “The fact that a number of our challenged athletes will be joining for the event truly demonstrates that there is no limit for what those with physical challenges can accomplish.”
The CAF Cycling Challenge – Ojai Valley begins Friday, September 20 at 7:00 a.m. as participants enjoy a kick-off breakfast at the Four Seasons Westlake Village. A festive departure ceremony will see the riders at 9:00 am as they embark for their journey. Friday and Saturday evening will treat the riders to a stay at the Ojai Valley Inn and Spa before their return journey to Four Seasons Westlake Village Sunday afternoon for a final ride-in celebration.
For more information visit www.challengedathletes.org/cycleojai
Image courtesy Challenged Athletes Foundation