Hundreds of cyclists will roll through Charlotte

Cyclists roll by in the 12th Annual Kelly Brush Ride powered by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. The annual ride, which starts and finishes in Middlebury and winds through the Champlain Valley, drew more than 800 cyclists and 40 adaptive athletes. The event raised more than $500,000 for adaptive sports and ski racing safety. Photo by Gabe Aceves

The 13th Annual Kelly Brush Ride, powered by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, is set to roll on Sept. 8 in Middlebury, bringing hundreds of riders through Charlotte as they ride the 100-mile “century” and the 85-mile routes. A total of about 500 riders are expected to complete one or the other loop. 

Kelly Brush, who founded the Kelly Brush Foundation to empower those with spinal cord injury to lead active lives, grew up in Charlotte where her parents Mary and Charlie Brush reside. Kelly and her husband, Zeke Davisson, are also Charlotte residents. 

This year cycling is not the only way to support in the state’s largest charity ride. Participants can opt to play a round of golf to raise funds for the Active Fund, which provides grants for the purchase of adaptive sports equipment for people with spinal cord injuries. The ride also supports the foundation’s ski racing safety program. 

The ride through the Champlain Valley was voted “Best Century Ride” by Vermont Sports magazine in March 2018. In addition to offering golf for the first time this year, the event will feature a beer tent serving locally brewed Switchback. 

“The Kelly Brush Ride start and finish is next to the Ralph Myhre Golf Course at Middlebury College, and many of our participants play a round the day before or go out after the ride. We thought, why not make it an official part of the event?” said Davisson, executive director of the foundation. “Kelly and her family are avid golfers, and the foundation has given grants for adaptive golf equipment, so it seemed like a natural fit.”  

The Active Fund has awarded more than 650 grants in 47 states. The foundation has also awarded more than 150 grants to improve ski racing safety in every state with alpine racing venues and funded more than 15 miles of safety “B” netting to make courses safer. 

Timo Shaw, president of title sponsor VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, is looking forward to this year’s event.  “We feel strongly about the work done at Kelly Brush Foundation and have been title sponsor of the ride for seven years,” said Shaw. “It is very special to see over 800 bicyclists, handcyclists, families, ski teams and community members all coming together to get outside and support a great cause.”

Participants can register online through Thursday, Sept. 6, or in person at the event to ride 100, 50, 20 or 10 miles and/or sign up for a tee time. For registration and information visit the Kelly Brush Foundation website.