Sierra Cycle Challenge benefiting Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra is July 25th – 27th.
Hello Friends and Family of Hilary and Tom
Another year has gone by, and we are again doing the 150 mile Sierra Cycle Challenge in support of Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra. We have just finished 2 weeks of extremely fun but exhausting grandchildren summer camp in Mammoth and need to get serious about training for the ride and launching our fund raising efforts. We are woefully behind previous years on both topics.
Some of you may recall that our ride last year ended after about 80 miles when both of us had a broken spoke. After another broken spoke this spring, we have had the wheels completely rebuilt with new spokes made of Swiss materials (rather than Chinese) that are "guaranteed" to hold up.
Together we again volunteered over 700 hours in the past year. Our house in Palo Alto is very lonely, as we spent less than 4 months there. We continue to be very happy in Mammoth, and with our allocation of time.
We've attached a few photos from past years' activities.
Here is a quick look at our year in Mammoth:
- We lived 8 great months of year 3 in our Mammoth house. It was fun for us to host the few of you who made it to Mammoth this year, and would love to host others in the coming year.
- Our time in Palo Alto is always great too, but we cut short our time there by enjoying a two month (October/November) "around the country road trip" where we had a chance to stay with some of you on the way.
- Hilary had a bit of a hard time this year struggling to manage her back issues and the knee problems that extended from that. Her Nordic skiing was limited, but with some physical therapy she has been recovering in recent months. The prospect of a knee replacement seems to have been deferred for now. At Disabled Sports, Hilary focused on inside activities; i.e. special event management, cooking for endless lunches and parties, and managing student registration and records. She won the award for Excellence in Volunteerism to recognize her work.
- As "volunteer of the year" for the last year, Tom focused on engaging students rather than seeking more ski instructor certifications. He provided lessons and great outdoor experiences to over 100 students with a wide range of cognitive and physical disabilities - children, wounded warriors, and older adults. In the lightest snow year "ever" in Mammoth, Tom skied over 100 days (including a few free-ski days).
- We continue to be known as the "Mammoth Party House" for hosting many disabled sports volunteer parties for up to 100 people each time. Everyone seems to enjoy the parties, we love to host them, and it only takes a couple of days for us to recover after each one.
- We will be on our way to French Polynesia this August to deliver on the sailing trip we donated as part of a Disabled Sports auction last year. Naturally we will extend the donated trip a couple of weeks with some friends so we will be in Polynesia for most of the month.
- Our grand children were with us for a total of about 7 weeks
again this year. Four of the five, ages 6-13, are all great and enthusiastic skiers, sledders, campers, hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, explorers, paddlers, swimmers, fishermen, zip liners, bungee jumpers, rock climbers, and kids. It is a joy to have them with us. Three year old, Hannah, skied a little more last winter and will be ready for more as she turns 4 in January.
For Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra, it was also a great year for the regular lesson program and the special events we supported; e.g.:
- Despite the lightest snow year on record, the year still saw the second highest annual volume of student lessons, 47% of which were funded through contributions such as many of you have given in the past. The range of students is from 4 year old kids with autism to disabled 80+ year-olds who still want to experience the thrill of screaming down the mountain. For those of you who like data, the mix is about 30% autism, 25% wounded warriors (mostly PTSD and traumatic brain injury), and the remainder is a mix of physical and cognitive disabilities across a wide range.
- Additional work has been done on the proposed National Wounded Warrior Center in Mammoth. The intent of the center is to enable wounded warriors to
stay longer in Mammoth and to create educational opportunities in addition to
recreational rehabilitation in the mountains to help them successfully reenter civilian life. Some fund raising was started in the past year and a more aggressive capital campaign is planned for next year. The work is being strongly supported by the VA, DoD, and other organizations. If you would like to direct a Sierra Cycle Challenge contribution toward the National Wounded Warrior Center specifically (rather than the on-going Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra program), please note that in your contribution and it will be done.
- Both a winter and summer Wounded Warrior camp was held to serve ~80 veterans (from WWII to Afghanistan war), and their families. Numerous Wounded Warriors also participated in other events and enjoyed private lessons/experiences in many sports.
Other special camps included:
- Alpine Race Camp
- Monoski Madness Camp
- Nordic Camp
- Biathlon Camp
- Weekly Ski PE for several area schools
(10% of total lessons). Tom worked with a 5 year old girl with two club feet who developed into a star with paralympic potential for the future.
- The year included successful participation by a
some disabled Mammoth athletes in organized competitive paralympic events
- Summer camping, hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, horseback riding, cycling, swimming, and other events
- And other activities too numerous to list
Needless to say, it was a busy year for us and for Disabled Sports. While it may seem like a very "giving" activity, we also get a lot back by seeing the difference we can make in the lives of our students - young and old.
Because of the success of the program, and the generosity of people like you, both the richness and the scale of the program has been able to grow. Grants and other funding from the VA, DoD, Paralympic foundation, private companies, and other institutions have enabled the acquisition of more specialized equipment and scholarships and travel money for more disabled athletes to come to Mammoth - winter and summer. Mammoth Mountain has recommitted their support with facilities and IT support, free lift tickets for students, free ski rentals for students, and other non-cash program support. Having said that, the bulk of the cash support still comes from individual contributors. These cash contributions are used primarily to fund out-of-pocket expenses for lessons for disabled students who otherwise did not have the financial resources to pay the nominal $75 fee for a lesson (fee includes a private lesson, ski rentals, and an all day lift ticket).
Both of us are again riding in the Sierra Cycle Challenge 2015 to help support the program in 2015/2016. Many of you have been generous in your support of us and Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra in the Sierra Cycle Challenge in past years. Hopefully you can participate again at any level that works for you.
The Sierra Cycle Challenge is a fund raising ride of 150 miles with vertical climbing of over 9000'. It is a ride like no other! Virtually 100% of contributions go straight to the disabled sports program - the support resources associated with the bike ride are almost all donated by volunteers/individuals, other non-profit organizations, and businesses in Mammoth Lakes. Last year the ride contributed almost, $40,000 to the disabled sports program, and through our friends and family, we were able to record over $11,000 of that amount through your contributions.
We need your help! The funds we raise for The Sierra Cycle Challenge go directly toward supporting students with individualized instruction and adaptive equipment, so they can enjoy the same sports that you do. Your donations will allow veterans with cognitive and physical disabilities and children with autism, cerebral palsy, downs syndrome, and other disabilities to remember that life is worth living.
We have a goal to raise $5,000, and would like to reach something near the $11,000 you raised last year. Please help us reach the goal with a tax-deductible donation to Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra. We will be climbing our way through the 9000' in the Eastern Sierra for two+ days and thinking gratefully of all our supporters along the way! We have started the fund raising with a $1000 contribution of our own.
A donation of any amount is appreciated. Even if you decide not to make a donation, a note either of us wishing us well would be great (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org) Many thanks to all of you either way.
For online donations (easiest way to donate) to sponsor Tom and Hilary, donate on this page.
DSES also accepts checks through the mail, and credit cards over the phone. Send contributions directly to DSES by mail or phone below and indicate it is to support Tom and Hilary’s ride (if you do contribute this way, please let us know by email so we are sure to thank you):
Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra
P.O. Box 7275, 1 Minaret Road
Mammoth Lakes, CA 93546
I urge you to take a look at some spectacular pictures from past years' rides to get a feel for the experience. Go to this site:
To see us and the disabled sports team and students in action here is a range of photos of taken during the lessons and special events:
For more general information about the Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra program, go to this web site:
And if you are interested in the emerging plans for the National Wounded Warrior Center, go to this web site:
Thank you so much for whatever support you can give us on behalf of Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra!
Tom and Hilary