Cyclists to ride 620 miles in Mazda Foundation Million Dollar Challenge

The Challenged Athletes Foundation’s Annual Mazda Foundation Million Dollar Challenge kicked off on Oct. 11, leading more than 100 cyclists, including celebrities, professional athletes and eight athletes with physical challenges on the 7-day, 620-mile ride down the California coastline.

Each of the participants has pledged to raise $12,500 or more to benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). Collectively, before the ride began they raised more than $1,376,000 – already exceeding the $1 million goal – which will allow the CAF to fund grants for adaptive sports equipment, training and competition expenses, mentoring and sports clinics. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $8 million.

“The Mazda Foundation Million Dollar Challenge provides participants with a high-end event comparable to the experience pro cyclists receive,” Virginia Tinley, executive director of the CAF, stated in a press release. “However, every year we are told it is the opportunity to ride side-by-side with the challenged athletes that makes it a life-changing event.”

Cyclists will make their way down the coast, stopping in six beach cities before arriving at Kellogg Park in La Jolla, Calif. on Oct. 17.

Among the eight challenged athletes participating are Mary Roberts, a below knee amputee and Jamie Whitmore, a professional mountain biker before battling cancer and loosing nerves and feeling in her left leg, who also is a Paralympic cycling hopeful. Also riding are Bill Walton, CAF ambassador and NBA Hall of Famer, Christian Vande Velde, retired pro cyclist and event co-chairman; David Zabriskie, retired pro cyclist; and pro cyclists from Team Garmin-Sharp.

To follow the event on Twitter, go to @CAFoundation or #MoreThanARide.

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