The athletes with disabilities not only experience the excitement of outdoor sports, but also are a moving inspiration to other participants and to the public, who see that the disabled can meet challenges beyond anyone’s imagination.
Rancho del Rio, Colorado (PRWEB) September 21, 2014
High in the rugged Gore Range northwest of Vail, Colorado, ten teams of disabled and able-bodied athletes rafted the Colorado River, rode mountain bikes and hand cycles, and completed a ropes course in pursuit of outdoor adventure. At the September 12-14 Adventure Team Challenge from national non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports, disabilities proved to be no more than an inconvenience to participating athletes who successfully completed the three stage event.
Each participating team of five athletes included two with disabilities, one being a wheelchair user. Since 2007, the annual team event offers an inclusive adventure for disabled and able-bodied participants. The athletes with disabilities not only experience the excitement of outdoor sports, but also are a moving inspiration to other participants and to the public, who see that the disabled can meet challenges beyond anyone’s imagination.
The Challenge returned to the remote Rancho del Rio resort this year, following two years in the high desert near Grand Junction. Although many participants for the Challenge came from Colorado, other athletes traveled from Massachusetts, Virginia, Illinois, Florida, Texas, Minnesota, California and New Brunswick, Canada. Athlete disabilities included amputees, paralysis, blindness, post traumatic stress and other injuries, with several participants being injured veterans.
At the event’s conclusion, the Boulder, Colorado-based Berserkers managed to hold off the surging Bootleggers and claimed their second victory in as many years. The Bootleggers nearly overcame a 12 minute deficit on Sunday in a remarkable effort to deny the Berserkers of their championship, but fell one minute short.
Two other teams – the Green Machines and Purple Rain – tied in their timing between the two days of competition, arriving about 25 minutes after the top two teams. The last place Mercenaries completed the competition at more than two hours behind the top teams.
This year’s Challenge began with a Friday afternoon prologue at Rancho del Rio along the south bank of the Colorado River. On Saturday, teams were transported 1,600 vertical feet above Radium for a fast-paced downhill start on bicycles and hand cycles. Beginning at 8,550 feet above sea level on a sunny ridge overlooking the shadowy canyon, teams descended nearly six miles on a rocky dirt road at blinding speeds to the river crossing at 6,870 feet.
Following the descent, teams ascended a steep incline, than began a cross-country journey along confusing tracks and trails. By early afternoon, teams were descending again to the Colorado River, where waiting rafts guided them to their next challenge, a ropes course set on the granite bluffs overlooking Radium Hot Springs. Here, the paraplegic athletes were sent across the river on a high zip line before teams returned to camp.
On Sunday, teams began on rafts, stopping for check points along the Colorado River. At the Piney River, teams headed south, reaching an old homestead and another check point. Returning to the launching ramp at State Bridge, the teams climbed onto their waiting bicycles and hand cycles for the ride back to camp.
At Rancho del Rio, teams arrived to cheers. At the finish line, friends, family and staff welcomed the athletes to a well-deserved celebratory lunch.
The 2014 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado was supported through sponsorships and partnerships from Pearl Meyer & Partners, Benson Botsford LLC, Devens Recycling Center, Front Street Re, The Independence Fund, INTEGRATED Healthcare Strategies, Oregon Adaptive Sports and Timberline Tours. Additional support was provided by James Benson and George Puskar. Van Brinson, World T.E.A.M. Sports CEO and President, announced September 14 that the Challenge will return to Rancho del Rio in September, 2015.