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Everyone knows the stereotype about triathletes and bikes - our handling skills could always use some work. 

When I showed up at my first Tuesday night criterium at Rentschler Field in 2015, I knew next to nothing about the sport of cycling. Needless to say, I was intimidated and in awe of the A racers flying around the course, and the older juniors who seemed so at ease with the balance and handling drills we practiced in the pre-race junior clinic. All of the coaches from the Connecticut Cycling Advancement Program and teams affliated with the program were so warm and welcoming, by the end of the night I knew I was hooked. I still remember the first time I met Coach Dave Hoyle, one of the most genuine people I have ever met, and the true heart of the program. He taught me the value of trust and faith in the people surrounding you. It took me until we lost him last year to realized that this lesson applies far beyond the race course. Yes, it is important to trust the other people in the pack when we are whipping around a course in close proximity, but it is also important in life. Coach Dave (and so many other coaches and people of the cycling community who continue work to keep his legacy alive) was the embodiment of the CCAP's core mission: putting more kids on bikes and giving them the opportunity to reach their full potential. 

I fell in love with the sport of cycling, and the deep feeling of community that comes with it.This weekend, in honor of the Breakaway Benefit, I challenged myself to do something that, before I starting riding through the CCAP, I never thought I could be capable of doing. I set out to complete a double century. 200 miles. For the finishing section of it, I chose to complete a smaller sub-challenge to ride to the Massachusetts border and back. I knew going into the start of the whole thing that the task would challenge me both physically and mentally, but if there is anything that being part of the cycling community has given me, it is grit. Without the support of my teammates on NYTT who rode the last 90 miles with me, friends made at CCAP races who sent me words of encouragement, and the drive instilled in me by my coaches, I could never have finished. 

Riding through the CCAP for the past 5 years has given me confidence, perseverance, and countless life lessons. Please consider donating to the CCAP, so that they can continue putting more kids on bikes and helping young riders like me fall in love with a lifelong sport. Any amount helps, and your donations let this program help youth riders reach their potential. 

#RideLikeDave

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CT Cycling Advancement Program, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) EIN: 46-1774656 nonprofit organization

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