Amy Kaplan has been a virtual rider in the Connecticut Challenge for five years. This year, she's dropping the virtual.
The 60-year-old Fairfield resident said she will make her first Challenge ride this summer when the event kicks off July 30 from the Fairfield County Hunt Club in Westport. Kaplan is a three-time cancer survivor.
"I'm going to commit to riding 10 miles, but maybe I can get to 25,'' Kaplan said last week. "We'll see how it goes."
The former Westport resident has battled colon, cervical and breast cancer. She has been cancer-free for about four years, and the Challenge is one way she can celebrate her story. "When you're a cancer survivor, getting older is great,'' she said.
Kaplan plans to ride with a few other team members. The Challenge strikes a particular chord with Kaplan. The ride supports programs that assist cancer survivors.
"When I was recovering I had a lot of issues,'' Kaplan said. "There weren't a lot of programs available. We really need the programs that the Challenge supports. These are so important to survivors."
There are rides of 10, 25, 50, 75 and 100 miles. Registration opened last week. Organizers expect nearly 1,000 riders. The 100 mile ride rolls through Fairfield County and up by Lake Waramaug in New Preston. It is billed as "New England's Toughest Century."
Kaplan will forego the century for something smaller. As a virtual rider, she raised money, volunteered and did everything she could to support the event. Now she's going to be pedaling her very own bike. "I'm so pleased to be able to do this,'' Kaplan said.
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