CAPTION: On October 16, over 120 cyclists will ride 640 miles from San Francisco to San Diego raising over $1.5M to help thousands of athletes with physical challenges gain access to sports worldwide. (photo courtesy of Challenged Athletes Foundation)

More than 160 cyclists, including 20 individuals with permanent physical challenges, will ride along the California Coast in support of Challenged Athletes Foundation‘s (CAF) 15th Annual Million Dollar Challenge presented by Sully Entertainment.

The group will ride for 7 days and nearly 640 miles from San Francisco to San Diego starting on October 16 and raising over $1.5M to help athletes with physical challenges gain access to sports worldwide. 

The event will kick off at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco on the evening of October 15 with a surprise grant presentation to a local teen who plans to excel in wheelchair sports. The ride will begin the morning of October 16 with a police escort leading the group of challenged athletes, fundraisers and influencers on their 7-day ride down the coast of California.

The cyclists will average nearly 100 miles a day with stops in Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Orange County before arriving in Mission Bay, San Diego, where they will be greeted by the kids who benefit from their hard-earned efforts and fundraising dollars, a media release from Challenged Athletes Foundation explains.

“For 15 years the Million Dollar Challenge has built a community of riders with deep appreciation for life,” said Dean Roeper, MDC Ride Co-Chair and Member CAF Board of Directors. “Together they transform the perception of what people with permanent physical disabilities can accomplish…it’s more than a ride.”

Among the Participants

Among the cyclists this year are more than 20 athletes with permanent physical challenges with incredible stories of overcoming adversity.

Bay Area Paralympic cyclist Jamie Whitmore and CAF Women’s Handcycling Team member Ryen Reed will join Team Liza, CAF’s first-ever mother and daughter team. Beth and Liza James did their very first triathlon together with CAF and will join the group of riders this year. In 2003, Beth was diagnosed with brain cancer and a year later, Beth and her children were involved in a car accident that left Liza (age 25) with a severe brain injury. Together they will conquer the coast with other CAF athletes like Lance Weir, a Marine Corp reservist who was paralyzed after being dislodged in a canoe, and retired Navy officer and Paralympic cyclist, Steven Peace.

Program Nights

As the MDC bgroup makes its way down the California coast they will be rewarded along the way with program nights showing the impact of their fundraising supporting the CAF mission. In San Francisco, on October 15, CAF will present a special E-Assist Handcycle to Xavier Carreon, a 13-year old active teen born with a limb difference. When cyclists reach Santa Barbara on October 20, they will sync up with the 3-day riders just before another surprise grant is given to young Imre Patterson. Imre will be presented with a kid’s adaptive mountain bike so he will be able to take his activities off-road.

“It’s the positivity that keeps me coming back to ride every year. We focus on what we can do and not what our limitations are,” said Melinda Johnson, CAF MDC Ride Leader for 7 years. “I love being a part of such an important cause and looking forward to another extraordinary event this year.”

The police-escorted arrival of the entire MDC group on October 22 signifies the beginning of the 2021 CAF Community Challenge powered by Strava, the flagship weekend of fundraising events including adaptive clinics for running and mobility, wheelchair tennis, swimming and surfing. The weekend culminates with the Celebration of Abilities program and the Aspen Medical Products 28th Annual San Diego Triathlon Challenge. Athletes of all abilities will enjoy an action-packed weekend in San Diego celebrating the power of sport to change lives, the release continues.

This video shares highlights of the 2019 event.

[Source(s): Challenged Athletes Foundation, GlobeNewswire]

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