The Challenged Athletes of West Virginia, located at Silver Creek Resort at Snowshoe Mountain, is well-known for its winter adaptive sports program, which provides equipment and instruction to individuals with physical and cognitive disabilities.
The program also has hand cycles for spring and summer activities on tame trails, but director Carol Woody said she is hoping to beef up the cycling program to include mountain biking with the addition of an off-road mountain bike hand cycle.
“We do have hand cycles,” Woody said. “Those are great for the Greenbrier River Trail. We used them for our camps – our war veteran camps – and stuff like that in the past. They’re not so much for the off-road trails.”
With the new hand cycles, participants will be able to traverse the more rugged terrain found on the trails throughout Pocahontas County, especially at Snowshoe Mountain Resort and Silver Creek.
“It would be great to have a bike that we could even ride right out the back door here,” Woody said. “There’s a trail back there. Our first bike is probably going to be more geared toward the park trails because there are several trails over there that are already set up. They’re wide enough to handle the three-or four-wheeled bikes.
“We’d like to get a fleet of bikes so we can have more of a regular program,” she added.
Since Pocahontas County received the IMBA Ride Center classification for mountain biking, the sport has become a bigger attraction for visitors, and Woody hopes to increase the CAWV summer program with the addition of the bikes.
“Mountain biking is just becoming more and more popular, especially for our area because it’s unique,” Woody said. “We have great skiing for our area, for our region. We have great mountain biking for the country or even world, so we can be competitive on the mountain biking. I think it’s a really up and coming thing, so I want to make sure that we’re part of that, and it can be accessible to all. We’re really excited.”
Because the hand cycles are equipped for mountain bike trails, as well as outfitted for use by para- and/or quadriplegics, they tend to be expensive.
“These bikes are about ten thousand dollars and probably a little more than that by the time you add in some of the extras that we will want to have on there,” Woody said. “For example, several of the bikes have what’s called quad controls. Paraplegics have pretty much – depending on where their injury is – they have core and upper arms. They can do a lot more.
“But quads don’t have as much and sometimes not even a whole lot of arm movement,” she continued. “With the quad controls, it makes it easier for them to ride the bike, as well. It just opens it up for more people to be able to ride. If we can add on that stuff, it also adds a little more money.”
With that in mind, Woody organized a drawing to raise funds. The drawing has several prizes – the grand prize is a Transition TR11 mountain bike, two night stay at the Corduroy Inn during the summer season, three hours of instruction with Harlan Price, owner and head coach at Take Aim Cycling and a Snowshoe season bike pass.
The second prize is three hours of instruction with Sue Haywood, a former pro rider and professional mountain bike instructor, one-day Snowshoe bike pass and a $50 gift certificate to Old Spruce Tavern or Brewing.
The third prize is a one-day Snowshoe bike pass and a $50 gift certificate to Appalachia Kitchen, Pizza Slice or Tuques Bar and Grill.
Tickets for the drawing are $20 each or six for $100.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Woody set up the drawing online and individuals may purchase tickets at rafflecreator.com/pages/40337/downhill-mountain-bike-fundraiser or contact Woody at 304-572-6708 for more information.
The mountain biking hand cycles will be a great addition to the summer program, which includes camps for war veterans and their families.
“It’s another thing we’re going to add so we can have year-round programming,” Woody said. “We’d like to add other sports, too, but especially we can have these two main sports which our area is known for.
“Throughout the last few summers, we haven’t had regular programming like we do in the winter,” she continued. “This year it kind of just set us back with the whole COVID thing. But it gave us a chance to slowly get into this new program, as well.
“We want to make it as accessible for as many people as possible.”