The National Ability Center invites people of all abilities to take a ride during this year’s Summit Challenge.
The event, which will be held on Aug. 27, is a fundraiser for the recreational nonprofit, and it’s designed to bring the community together, said Caitlin Bognaski, the NAC’s senior development and events manager.
“We usually have around 800 riders, so when you include volunteers, spectators, family and friends it’s probably upwards of 1,200 or 1,300 people on the roads and at our ranch,” she said. “So we’re excited to host it again this year.”
Registration is open at summitchallenge100.org and closes at 11:59 pm on Thursday, Aug. 25. Riders — who choose bicycles, tricycles and adaptive cycles — can select the routes they would like to tackle, according to Bognaski.
“We have 16, 25, 50, 80 or 100-mile routes,” she said. “The 100-mile route is unique, because it includes a climb up to Wolf Creek Ranch in Kamas that only the Tour of Utah had access to. So that’s popular amongst the 100-mile riders.”
Families and riders who think that 16 miles is still too far to ride have the option to take on the Discovery Loop, Bognaski said.
“This is a one-mile route around the National Ability Center,” she said.
Also, all adaptive riders ride for free, Bognaski said.
“If they need a buddy rider, their buddies are free to ride as well,” she said.
Start times for the Summit Challenge are staggered, according to Bognaski.
“The first one will start at 7 am, and then they will go from there,” she said. “We sometimes update them, so riders should check out our website to see when their route will start. The starts and finish will take place at the National Ability Center Ranch in Round Valley, and the routes will wind throughout Summit and Wasatch counties.”
According to Bognaski, the Summit Challenge is not a race.
“That’s why we call it a ride,” she said. “We love to get both our adaptive and able-bodied riders out riding together, whether they are individuals or in teams. Anybody can create a team, but it’s just fun to get out on the road together.”
The Summit Challenge is also a fully supported ride, meaning there will be plenty of rest stops on each route, Bognaski said.
“These stops are hosted by different community partners and corporate organizations that came out to sponsor the different routes,” she said.
Since the event is a fundraiser for the National Ability Center’s programs that empower individuals of all abilities by building self-esteem, confidence and lifetime skills through sport, recreation and educational programs, riders are encouraged to fundraise.
“People can set up an individual fundraiser page or a team page,” Bognaski said. “It’s not, but we encourage people to fundraise when they can, because this supports all of our recreation programs we run year-round.”
Last year, the NAC served 3,200 individuals with about 20,000 recreational experiences, according to Bognaski.
“Pre-COVID the number of individuals we served was 7,000 with 35,000 experiences,” she said. “While the pandemic has prevented some of the groups from coming back during 2020-21, we are starting to come back.”
Although the NAC shut down for a month from March to June 2020, it was important to continue the Summit Challenge, Bognaski said.
“We heard from many people that we were the place where they could recreate as individuals or with their families,” she said. “So we knew it was upon us to keep the accessibility available to them, especially during a time when people needed to recreate more than ever.”
In addition to the riding, this year’s Summit Challenge will feature a vendor village at the NAC ranch that will be open from 11 am to 4 pm
Some of the sponsors participating in the village include Boeing, Big D Construction, DWH Health Partners, accessiBE, Northup Grumman, Park City Chamber, Hearth and Hill, Adobe, SelectHealth and L9 Sports.
“We encourage people to visit, see the riders when they cross the finish line,” Bognaski said. “We’ll have food, beverages and SkullCandy will DJ for us.”