This summer, the CT Challenge is back, bringing the inclusive fun that has made it a beloved presence since its start in 2005. Now in its 19th year, this high-spirited bike ride for cyclists of all ages and abilities is a great way for folks to join together for a terrific time while raising funds for cancer survivors. Over 500 people turn out for this non-competitive event each year. It is essentially a moving party that takes participants through the dazzling Connecticut countryside to the epic, family-friendly festivities at the finish line. This event is a celebration of life, and its spirit of goodwill is woven into every step of the process, with rides for every skill level, effortless bike rentals, and helpful fundraising assistance.
“The CT Challenge is not a race, it’s a ride, because the goal is for no one to be left behind. It’s a ride that builds community and hope for cancer survivors. Each year, when I attend the ride, I have the privilege of being reunited with many old friends but also meeting many new, inspiring people. And everyone attending the ride is united in the common goal of making survivors’ lives better through Mission’s amazing programming. Such programming has allowed me to resume gymnastics, ride a bike, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
— Maya, cancer survivor, CT Challenge participant
Returning once more to its original location in Fairfield, Conn., the CT Challenge is dedicated to helping cancer survivors, particularly younger people, as they recover and heal after their medical journeys, setting them up for a bright and vibrant future. Many of Connecticut’s 16.9 million cancer survivors struggle with post-medical care as they return to their lives after what can be a painful or traumatic process.
Funds raised by the CT Challenge ride go directly toward programs provided by Mission, a nonprofit organization that provides survivors with a variety of programs during this crucial time of their lives. Mission offers a diverse slate of programs to support, encourage, and inspire survivors. Exercise programs, nutritional education, and enriching mind-body health practices help these inspiring individuals to build community and achieve their goals, giving them tools and encouragement that will set them up for success and long-term well-being. Mission and the CT Challenge are passionate about empowering survivors to reclaim their lives post-cancer and look forward to a brighter future.
“Mission/CT Challenge has provided a community of both care and strength during some of the most difficult times and has continued to support me during the most exciting times of my life. I’m about to run my first half marathon in March, and this has been a goal of mine for years. Mission has supported me along the way and encouraged me to go after my goals and dreams and not to let anything stand in my way.”
— Morgan, cancer survivor and CT Challenge volunteer
Fundraising for the Challenge is easy and fun—anyone can jump in and help in any way that works for them. Participants can create teams and enlist friends and families, co-workers can use it for team-building and outreach, and social clubs or neighbors can pool their resources and expand their reach. Individuals can also easily join an existing team. The CT Challenge’s simple registration and helpful online portal make fundraising a breeze: Donors can easily give and feel great knowing their tax-deductible donation is going to an important cause.
“The CT Challenge bike ride is our biggest event of the year, providing the fuel for the programming provided by Mission. There’s no ride like it; the scenic bike routes, the community feel, and overall energy felt by everyone involved, both participants and volunteers, is truly amazing.”
— Laura Equale, director of growth and development, CT Challenge/Mission
As for the ride itself, the CT Challenge team has thought of every detail, creating a festival that has something for everyone. Participants can choose from five routes that offer a range of mileage for everyone, from beginner to expert. Each route is carefully planned to showcase the best of Connecticut’s natural beauty, from breathtaking coastline to tranquil farmland and everything in between. The 10-mile route is great for all ages and skill levels; 25-mile, 40-mile, and 62-mile routes are available for folks looking to challenge themselves and test their endurance. The Grand Fondo is a traditional 100-mile century ride for more experienced cyclists wishing to explore the full scope of the state’s dynamic terrain. With well-stocked rest stops and bike mechanics available on every route, all participants can ride confidently, knowing they’ll be well taken care of and supported at every turn.
“I’m truly grateful for my time as both an employee and member of Mission. It is a beautiful organization to be a part of, and I appreciate the everlasting support. [At the CT Challenge] the camaraderie was contagious; the age range was incredible. It truly was the definition of ‘age is just a number.’ It was inspiring seeing all of the individuals at the ride supporting the cause.”
— Patrice, cancer survivor, former Mission employee
The fun of the CT Challenge isn’t limited to the bike rides: The festival has a wonderful reputation for its thoughtful amenities and joyful celebrations. A pre-ride breakfast kicks things off with a dose of high energy. Throughout the day, dynamic live music performances by local favorites and exciting newcomers entertain the crowd. And as riders cross the finish line, a catered lunch is waiting to welcome them and fuel them to keep the party going. The spirit of kinship and celebration is felt in every detail, and everyone is welcome to join in whatever way feels good to them.
This year’s festivities are supported by an exciting list of sponsors who are proud to support the CT Challenge, as well as Mission as a whole. These companies include Bigelow Tea, Wade’s Dairy, BMW of Bridgeport, Town Fair Tire Foundation, Mitsubishi HC Capital America, Band Central, Unlimited Biking, Top Dog Food & Supply, Fairbridge Asset Management, CED Technologies, Pullman & Comely, Hearst Connecticut Media Group and NewEdge Wealth. Their participation makes it possible for the CT Challenge to throw a terrific party, building community in service of an excellent cause.
The CT Challenge is an inclusive, joyful celebration of life that invites folks of all ages to gather and bring hope and support to those who dearly need it. This epic bike ride and community party is not to be missed and is the perfect way to have fun while doing good. Visit bike.ctchallenge.org today to donate, learn more, and start planning for the ride of your life.