SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Beginning September 12, more than 60 cyclists – including six physically challenged athletes – will depart Santa Barbara for the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s (CAF) Cycling Challenge – Ojai Valley. The event, which features a star-studded lineup of industry leading sponsors including ZICO, Latham & Watkins LLP, Commercial Realty Consultants, Inc., CBRE, GU Energy Labs, Krave Jerky and Smartwool, is truly a one-of-a-kind cycling experience. While the three-day ride will feature route options of 166 or 201 miles with up to 15,500 feet of climbing, all participants receive full support comparable to that of professional cycling events. Daily massage, SAG stops throughout the day, professional mechanical support, luxury accommodations and gourmet meals are a staple of this event.
The course, which begins in Santa Barbara, will include iconic climbs of California such as Painted Cave, Gibraltar and Pine Mountain. On this ride, it’s not just the ocean views, challenging course and service that make this a one-of-a-kind event. 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.
Some of the challenged athletes taking part in the event include:
- Ricky James – While a motocross accident as a teen left him a paraplegic, he never lost his desire for speed and competition. He has now completed nine half IRONMAN triathlons and nine full IRONMAN triathlons and will compete in the IRONMAN World Championships next month.
- 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.
- Oz Sanchez – A former Marine, he suffered a spinal cord injury in a motorcycle accident in 2001. He started handcycling competitively in 2006 and won medals at the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games, and at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
“While this cycling event offers some of the most thrilling and challenging mileage in Southern California, it is by far the exhilaration of cycling with these inspiring challenged athletes that takes the supporters’ breath away,” said Virginia Tinley, Executive Director of the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
The CAF Cycling Challenge – Ojai Valley begins Thursday, September 11th with a welcome dinner at the Fess Parker Santa Barbara Hotel (633 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 93103). A festive departure ceremony will see the riders off at 7:00 am as they embark on 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 the Fess Parker Santa Barbara Hotel Sunday afternoon for a final ride-in celebration.
For more information visit www.challengedathletes.org/cycleojai
Challenged Athletes Foundation
The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) is a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved – and stay involved – in sports. CAF believes that participation in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Since 1994, more than $55 million has been raised and almost 9,500 funding requests from challenged athletes in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts reach another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love. To learn more, log on to www.challengedathletes.org or call 858-866-0959.