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NAC Hosting 12th Annual Summit Challenge In August

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The National Ability Center is hosting its 12th Annual Summit Challenge, coming up on August 24th. KPCW spoke with one of the teams in the event—including one rider who is visually-impaired.

Madison Baumann, who hasn’t been on a bike for 14 years, will be taking the 50-mile run in the event along with buddy rider Laura DuSold, who is a staffer at the Ability Center. 

The two met at the NAC last fall and have been training for two months. Still, Madison recognizes that what’s coming up is a challenge.

“First time on a bike in 14 years, so it’s going to be an adventure, that’s for sure,” Baumann explained. “I was in a bad car accident when I was 11. That was how I lost my eyesight and haven’t been on a bike since then. So, I’m excited. It’ll be a fun adventure. We are going to be on a tandem bike. So, Laura will be guiding the bike, and I’m kind of along for the ride in the back, helping pedal.”

Madison wanted to start slow with the 16-mile run. Laura favored the 100-mile course. So, they compromised on the 50-mile. The event also has an 80-mile (the price to register depends on the length of the run) and there’ s a free one-mile Discovery loop

She talked about how she orients to the road, and to traffic, with her limited vision.

“Ironically, my good eye side doesn’t have the peripheral vision,” Baumann said. “I can actually see better to my left side, which is where my bad eye is, and so riding alongside, I can actually see the cars. So, I feel safer riding with the cars going in the same direction because I can actually see them, vs. walking or riding in the opposite direction of traffic.”

Laura talked about the pair riding on a tandem bike with one gear.

“I guess the biggest thing I’ve learned through the tandem is just communication, and talking more than I thought was necessary,” DuSold continued. “Like telling Maddie if there’s a bump coming up, if we’re turning left, what’s approaching. So, for me I think that’s the biggest change. But other than that, just riding a bike. We have a wide turning radius, but other than that.”

“The pedals move together,” Baumann explained. “So, when one of us is pedaling, the other has to pedal.”

Laura added that Madison does pull her own weight.

During the colder months, Madison is also on the NAC’s high-performance ski team. She’s been a skier for 22 years, since she was a toddler.

For more information about how to join the Summit Challenge, click here.

Known for getting all the facts right, as well as his distinctive sign-off, Rick covers Summit County meetings and issues. KPCW snagged him from The Park Record in the '80s, and he's been on air and covering the entire county ever since. He produces the Week In Review podcast, as well a heads the Friday Film Review team.
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