Working together as a team of athletes with and without disabilities through an extremely grueling competition really gives a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie.
Grand Junction, Colorado (PRWEB) September 05, 2013
A quadriplegic athlete from Boulder, Colorado and his team is a favorite to win World T.E.A.M. Sports’ inclusive September 13-15 Adventure TEAM Challenge west of Grand Junction.
Following a diving accident 18 years ago, Topher Downham, the City of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks’ Outreach Coordinator, refused to limit his activities owing to his injury. “I love to ski and water ski. I’m infatuated with sailing right now,” he said. From racing downhill quad mountain bikes in Japan, to a month-long cycling tour in the Netherlands with a friend, Downham remains active in outdoor sports.
Participating as a member of Colorado-based Team Beserkers, Downham will be competing in his third Adventure TEAM Challenge, to be held in scenic McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. Joining Downham is Peter Brown and Jarrod Skullavik of Denver, John Lintott of Fruita, and Steve Mestdagh of Boulder. “Our whole team is passionate about this race and what it stands for,” said Downham.
“This race is one of the greatest events I've ever been a part of,” agreed Skullavik. “I constantly pontificate about how it changes your life, not in a cliché way, but more in a rewarding way that makes you appreciate the goodness in people and the power of team, especially a team of just plain good people.”
Team founder Brown points to the 2012 Challenge as a sign that his team is well-conditioned. “Watching Topher fly down the downhill portion of the first day last year while we pursued on foot way behind him,” is encouraging to the creative director and father of two. The team completed the race in third place last year and is a favorite to win this year.
One reason is the addition of Mestdagh to the team in 2012. An accomplished rock climber who lost part of a leg during a climbing accident, Mestdagh made the climbing segment of the Challenge look easy. “He was so graceful,” Downham remembers. “It was like watching a mountain goat maneuver up the cliffs.”
Mesa County athlete Lintott is also well-regarded by Downham, who calls him a “phenomenal workhorse.”
In its seventh year, the Challenge is one of the non-profit’s most popular events, offering competing teams river rafting, climbing, mountain biking and hiking segments. “Working together as a team of athletes with and without disabilities through an extremely grueling competition really gives a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie,” said Downham. “It was a really tough race. I can't believe we're doing it again.”
For persons with disabilities who are considering sports, Downham is reassuring. “If there's something you want to do, find a way to do it,” he said. “Pushing my limits, being in the outdoors, and not listening to other people's yammering about what I can and can't do...that's what has kept a smile on my face these last 18 years with a disability.”
The Adventure TEAM Challenge from World T.E.A.M. Sports is sponsored by Fidelity & Guaranty Life, Penske Truck Rental and Timberline Tours. Celebrating 20 years in 2013, World T.E.A.M. Sports creates inclusive sporting events for disabled and able-bodied athletes.