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a lone tree thrives on a slab of red rock overlooking the vastness of Canyonlands National Park on a mostly sunny day during midday; the White Rim Trail itself is faintly noticable as it circumvents 200m away from the edge of the nearest canyon; the background shows various mesas overlooking Canyonlands and a light amount of clouds against a baby blue sky; a post-edited banner with the words

Photo by: Dean Warren

100 miles, 24 hours or less, 5 paracyclists, 1 support vehicle
and a 0.1% chance of floods

Either we are the paradoxical underdogs of the millennium or we are better off scratching lotto tickets than advocating for ability inclusion in the cycling industry. Every once in a thousand years, Moab -- one of today's mountain bike meccas -- is flooded so badly, the infamous 100-mile 'road' in Canyonlands National Park is deemed impassable. But luckily for us, the trailblazing adventure ahead is lead with an adaptive mindset, ready for anything, especially the opportunity for puns: is the White Rim Trail impassible or impossible

Due to recent heavy rain, the Mineral Bottom Rd exit/entry on the White Rim is closed due to rock slide and washout damage. Expect difficult driving conditions on the West Side of the White Rim including washouts, deep water and mud, and rock falls. Be prepared to self-rescue, turn around, or drive out-and-back to reach your campsite. Driving after dark is dangerous so give yourself ample time to negotiate this difficult terrain.

If it's impossible, I know how to handle that.

My name is Josie Fouts, and as congenital amputee born with only my right hand, I have lived an 'impossible' life being continuously told I cannot do what others can do with two hands, and yet persistently prove that indeed I can accomplish more than possible when I focus on the abilities and body parts I do have! 

a distraught man stands with a shovel over a 2-3 foot drop in the road making it difficult for a 4WD vehicle to pass; upon a closer look, there are bicycle tire marks indicating that indeed, cycling is the most accessible mode of transportation!

Photo of Sean T Randolph by: Matt Didisheim for the National Ability Center

If it's impassible, I know I'm prepared for that too. Being an advocate for accessibility in the outdoor industry, I am living proof that when we first prioritize those who have the greatest needs, we create a path anyone can follow! For example, imagine a building that has valuable resources inside (like shelter or warmth) but a snow storm buried the entrance. To allow the majority of people access the resources inside, should we first shovel the stairs, or should we first shovel the ramp? Opting for the latter seems more unlikely with an ablest lens, but really it's more accessible or... handy. Plus it is physically less work (ie: only shoveling the ramp so everyone can enter VS shoveling the stairs and then the ramp).

As an adaptive athlete of color, I see a lot more sustainable solutions in today's issues  -- social inequality, climate change, business lulls -- and thus, bring a unique perspective to our perception of life. Everything requires balance so the other end of the spectrum I'm blinded from is being paralyzed by the unknown. Growing up in a country half way across the world from where my genetics are known to thrive, you could say I was born for adventuring into the unknown!

I know unknown like the back of my hand.

Obviously there is no handbook or straightforward path to life, especially advocacy work, so how do I learn how to overcome unknown barriers in the unpredictable future? My answer (and life's purpose) can be summed up in two meticulous words: MOUNTAIN PARACYCLING. Riding on rugged terrain means shifting my usual "point out every rock" roadie mindset otherwise I'll get nowhere fast. If the rock is physically outside of my clearance needs, it's not worth my energy. Instead I'll only overcome the boulders (or barriers) that are worth my time and effort getting over or around. Off the bike, this mindset still benefits me while I pick and choose my battles. 
That is why I am trailblazing to single-handedly save the world with mountain paracycling!

zooming out on White Rim Trail as cyclists descend

Video by: Dean Warren

Tread Setters is a film project that highlights 5 paracyclists riding the White Rim Trail while balancing the mental, emotional and social aspects of advocacy. To relate to a larger audience, a bit of copy-and-pasting needed to occur so we promoted it as a para-FKT. Before the filming, no Fastest Known Time (or FKT) database distinguished a Paracycling category. We changed that (see! To our knowledge, we are not the first paracyclists to complete the route, yet none of these other successful trips have been officially recognized by the gatekeepers to records. That's not equality and it's even further from equity. So this is sort of the 'First Known Time' (for the majority of the human population aka non-para) and the first means it is automatically the fastest.

More importantly, Tread Setters is launching paracyclists into the mountain bike scene with an accurate image. Accuracy is critical in advocacy so others following along are metaphysically connected with the movement, especially the adaptive community who needs the gritty details to replicate the process. If you are looking to either get into mountain biking, or help an adaptive athlete, below is an extensive objective list with subjective comments.

Enjoy you gear heads. 

Adaptive gear list for Josie

Photo by: Dean Warren

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