As the clamor of town dwindles, gondola cabins slow to a month long halt, and store fronts slip into darkness and posted off season closures, TASP finds itself abuzz with adventures of every sort.
The end of September and early October saw Telluride Adaptive hosting a variety of initiatives throughout the expanded region. The first was a Project Odyssey with Wounded Warrior Project hosted outside of Moab, Utah. These week long journeys foster the fondest of memories for all involved, TASP staff and WWP participants alike. The reprieve and raw nature that the rugged desert setting provides is essential to warriors being able to step away from their daily lives and turmoils and reconnect with fellow brothers in arms while learning the tools and techniques that will help them reintegrate into everyday society. The unique setting of camp, set high above on the bluffs of Dead Horse State Park, offers the peace and tranquility necessary for our wounded servicemen to unwind. Yet challenge and difficulties to overcome together abound; WWP participants spent the daylight hours rappelling underneath yawning arches and testing their mettle on the renowned mountain bike trails Moab boasts. Interspersed throughout the physical challenges are the mental ones, opportunities to explore the darkness of past experiences in the security of an understanding and empathetic group of fellow soldiers.
As the Odyssey came to its close, TASP staff swapped harnesses and ropes for helmets and bikes as TASP’s annual off-road handcycle camp Moab Mania! kicked off just a few days later. Moab treated riders to perfect weather, an exciting slew of trails, both new and familiar to participants, and a new initiative to connect with the local ridership in Moab.
With a smaller crew than typical, stacked with highly skilled riders, the camp was able to push riding to the next level. While each of the trails posed their own unique challenges, one in particular was next level for handcyclists. Riders took on Rocky Tops and Ramblin’ in the Navajo Rocks trail group outside of Moab. While most of the group had ridden Ramblin’ before, Rocky Tops was new to all riders. This trail features incredibly off-camber sections, something that is an accentuated obstacle to handcyclists since their balance relies on all three wheels having an even distribution of weight. Should the rider not counterweight the tires enough with lots of leaning, or the angle of off-camber is to great, the handcycle will flip over. Incredibly, all riders took on the intimidating portion of the trail with gritted teeth and a wry smile, each having 3 able bodied spotters to catch the handcyle and its rider should they begin to roll towards the steep drop and boulder field beyond. Quiet focus and determination pervaded the air as each rider tenuously inched their way on the precariously sloped slickrock. After such a feat, it would seem that the rest of the ride would prove easy, yet hairpin turns strewn with boulders and featuring exposed drops continued to provide excitement for the rest of the day turning the ride into one of the most challenging ever attempted by the handcyclists.
To top it all off, TASP staff and Moab Mania! riders hosted a stand at the Moab Farmers Market to give locals and visitors alike the opportunity to learn more about adaptive off-road handcycling. Moab Mania! participants were present to answer any and all questions from those who were interested. A fleet of Reactive Adaptations bikes were on display to demonstrate the incredible technology and process that goes into each rider’s handcycle. The ability to connect with the local population and explain in depth how TASP and its riders find such value in Moab’s trail systems and support of adaptive riding was an exciting opportunity for all.
After several more successful rides, TASP bid farewell to this year’s riders and once again quickly shifted gears to host another Project Odyssey, this time in Ridgway State Park. Warriors arrived and were immediately taken by the serene setting of camp situated among pines featuring a view down to the glittering reservoir below. Again, comradery and common experience formed quick bonds and the group came together to support each other in everything from rock climbing steep cliff faces in Ouray to Stand Up Paddle Boarding on glass waters reflecting the snow capped peaks in the distance. TASP volunteers in the area came on various mornings and nights to help TASP staff cook decadent meals for the warriors, from thick cut Blue Grouse french toast soaked in syrup to German feasts replete with schnitzel.
TASP has since wrapped up the Ridgway WWP trip and cleaned and stowed the camp kitchen, however, programming continues on. Team San Juan, TASP’s Special Olympics team, is now getting a running start for ski season through a new initiative that is the first of its kind for TASP. Dryland practices, training for the ski season using various strengthening techniques, are now taking place every Sunday at the brand new Montrose Recreation Center. Athletes train in everything from squats and box jumps to yoga.
As the peaks turn white with fresh snowfall and forecasts predict low temps and high percipitation, it is with barely contained excitement and anticipation that TASP awaits the ski season and welcoming the first students through the ski office door. Stay tuned for more adventures, programs, and opportunities and come see us this winter! Registration is now open and you can book your winter adventures with us here!