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Waddell to Join The Kelly Brush Century Ride to Benefit Adaptive Athletes, Ski Racing Safety

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Vermont’s largest charity ride, the Kelly Brush Century Ride powered by VBT Bicycle and Walking Vacations, will feature Paralympic medalist Chris Waddell. The ride is September 7 in Middlebury, Vt.

Former U.S. Adaptive Team member Waddell has won 13 Paralympic medals, making him the most decorated Paralympian in history and one of an elite group to have medaled in both summer and winter games. He is also the first parapalegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro unassisted and is a member of both the Paralympic Hall of Fame and U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame.

“We are honored that Chris will be rolling out with the dozens of handcyclists and hundreds of bicyclists in the Kelly Brush Century Ride,” said Charlie Brush, Kelly Brush Foundation president. “Through his own foundation, One Revolution, he has done so much to break down barriers and change perceptions of the disabled. He’s an inspiration to us all.”

Now in its eighth year, the Kelly Brush Century Ride Powered by VBT Bicycle and Walking Vacations has raised over $1 million for adaptive athletes and ski racing safety. In addition to drawing more bicyclists than any other charity ride in the state, the event is the region’s largest for adaptive athletes using handcycles with more than two dozen participants taking to the course last year. Online registration for the event closes on Sept. 4 at midnight. Day-of-ride registration is available.

Funds raised through the ride support the Kelly Brush Foundation’s mission to conquer the challenges of paralysis through love of sport by helping athletes with spinal cord injuries purchase specialized sports equipment. The foundation has awarded grants for adaptive gear for skiing, cycling, bowling, rowing and even horse carriage racing.

“The opportunity to join the Kelly Brush ride was one I didn’t want to pass up. I am 100 percent behind the Kelly Brush Foundation’s mission to provide specialized gear to adaptive athletes and improve ski racing safety. I know first hand the beneficial role sports play for those living with spinal cord injury. As a former competitive skier, I’m proud to be associated with an organization that has done so much to raise awareness about and improve ski racing safety,” Waddell said.

Last year, 650 riders participated, supported by 100 volunteers, raising over $250,000 for the Kelly Brush Foundation. Participants in the Kelly Brush Century Ride have helped the foundation award over 60 grants for adaptive equipment and put over 400 miles of safety netting onto race courses across the country.

The ride was started by the Middlebury College Ski Team as a way to raise money to buy an adaptive mono-ski for team member Kelly Brush Davisson, who was paralyzed as the result of a ski racing crash. Brush and her family later founded a nonprofit, and the ride was opened to the public.

The scenic ride over gently rolling terrain in the Champlain Valley offers several distance options: 25, 50 or 100 miles, with options to ride 65 or 85 miles. In addition to members of the Middlebury College Ski Team, the ride has seen strong participation from area ski academies, including Green Mountain Valley School, Burke Mountain Academy and Stratton Mountain School. Riders and teams of riders compete to raise the most money with riders earning Patagonia clothing by reaching fundraising milestones.

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