Cervelo BWR 2016: CAF’s Truly Tough “One Arm” Willie Stewart

“One Arm” Willie Stewart Finishes His Fourth Belgian Waffle Ride with the support of the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Photography by Jake Orness.

I typically don’t talk much about the BWR immediately following the event, because like a fine beer or wine, it needs to be savored before the experience—or in this case accomplishment—sinks in.

As cyclists, we can be arrogant at times. The challenge of the BWR brings us back to earth and reminds us why we love to ride. Every year I bitch and whine about how hard it is, and every year I love the taste of Lost Abbey even more when I finish. I can promise you’ll be forced to push past your limits, and that’s what makes it so awesome.

On top of the hallucinations at the Oasis, the never-ending climbs and the headwinds, the BWR raises money for The Challenged Athletes Foundation—an organization that puts thousands of people with disabilities back on the playing field. This is one of the hardest rides in the United States, yet they still raise money for people with disabilities. This funding helps provide prosthetics, hand cycles and other equipment for individuals looking to return to activities we sometimes take for granted. The BWR welcomes all abilities to toe the line, giving people equal access and opportunity to fail or succeed, and in life, that’s all we can ever ask for. The opportunity to feel alive, or to enjoy life at it’s fullest, or to find out when we’re weakest. These moments are what I crave, and that’s why you’ll find me back every year!

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