Research demonstrates that individuals with exceptionalities (disabilities) face low expectations from others about what they can achieve. This often leads to internalized helplessness and low self-esteem. Furthermore, most of their existence has been focused on the management of their exceptionality. They are so far often removed from recreational and social interactions, usually with little to no meaningful participation.
Gravel & Giving is a biking program that challenges our athletes to train for a 31+ mile gravel race. This program is much more than a bike race. We transform the athlete’s perception of themselves as well as society’s perception of what these exceptional individuals are capable of. This program instills the power of perseverance, a passion for goal setting, the self-belief to do anything in this world, and the dedication to never give up on their dreams.
Gravel & Giving has become a revolutionary program that points the societal needle to inclusion and increased opportunities for indiviudals with exceptionalities. It demonstrates to the world how capable these exceptional individuals are when given opportunities to earn the feeling of accomplishment! AFA launched the ‘Gravel & Giving’ program in 2021 when adventure athlete Josh Eckert became the first individual with exceptionalities (disabilities) to finish a race at Gravel Worlds (a prestigious gravel bike race held in Lincoln, NE). Josh’s triumphant finish in 2021 inspired the Gravel Worlds family to make their race the most inclusive gravel race in the world and is now a home to this program.
Concurrently, AFA partnered with Specialized Bikes and Wahoo Fitness to expand our program’s exposure and success by helping to support our AFA athletes in their journey to finish their first ever race.
Throughout this 5-6 month training program, we progressively add in four main phases: