BY RICHARD RHINEHART
Washington D.C., May 20, 2011: Disabled and non-disabled athletes from across North America will participate in one of Colorado’s most challenging multisport outdoor events, the 2011 Adventure TEAM Challenge this June 25-27. The fifth annual Challenge from non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports, the Adventure TEAM Challenge includes 13 teams of five persons each, with two athletes per team being disabled. One of these disabled athletes must be a wheelchair user or paraplegic.
Created by Golden, Colorado adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind person to ascend the world’s Seven Summits, the Challenge attracts top-quality athletes. “The beauty of adventure racing is that there are no superstars; everyone on the team plays an integral role and has to cross the finish line together,” said Weihenmayer. “Everybody has moments when they suffer and are in pain, moments when they need help to keep going, and moments when they shine.”
The 2011 event will have exceptional competition, with participants from eight states and Canada. Scheduled to participate are Weihenmayer, who is appearing in ABC’s summer television adventure series, “Expedition Impossible;” World T.E.A.M. Sports CEO and President Paul Bremer, a participant in the organization’s 2010 Sea to Shining Sea cross-country bike ride; and World T.E.A.M. Sports founder and US Olympic Committee Director James Benson. Other athletes include Steve Ackerman of Fort Collins, Colorado, a disabled cyclist who participated in the World T.E.A.M. Sports 1995 AXA World Ride, a 13,000-mile, around the world bike ride; Sarah Will, a paralympic Olympic skier from Vail who earned 13 medals as a member of the United States Disabled Ski Team; Mark Wellman, the first paraplegic to climb El Capitan and Half Dome in Yosemite; and teenaged Clarissa Pozgaj, a quadriplegic athlete who successfully completed the 2010 Challenge. Also participating are Jeff Prouty, the founder and Chairman of The Prouty Project; and Dean Stoecker, the President and CEO of Alteryx, Inc., the Challenge’s presenting sponsor.
The Adventure TEAM Challenge teams disabled and non-disabled athletes, who work together to tackle a variety of challenges, ranging from white water rafting, mountain biking over steep, rocky terrain, climbing, rappelling, and crossing a lengthy zip line.
Held on Bureau of Land Management land north of Wolcott along the Colorado River, the Challenge is a part of World T.E.A.M. Sports’ series of inclusive events nationwide, which includes the annual Face of America bike ride from Washington, D.C. to Gettysburg. The April 2011 event attracted more than 400 participants, including 93 disabled wounded warriors. The non-profit organization recently participated in the Warrior 100K Ride in southwestern Texas with former President George W. Bush. Last October, World T.E.A.M. Sports wounded warriors successfully climbed the 20,075-foot Lobuche East, a high ice-covered peak in Nepal in the Soldiers to the Summit Nepal expedition.
Open to public spectators, the Adventure TEAM Challenge is headquartered at the Rancho del Rio east of Bond.