It has been a long time since this site has been updated. I figured that so much has been going on in my life I should do a quick update. The last time this site was updated we were getting ready for the 2nd Annual Kelly Brush Century Ride. Well that has come and gone as has the 3rd Annual Ride. Very briefly, at the 2nd Annual Ride (in 2007) we had about 180 riders and raised $90,000 for my Foundation despite the horrendous rainy, cold, and windy weather! It was great to see so many people out facing the elements! I will get to the 3rd Annual Ride in a little bit.
During the summer of 2007 I took three classes at UVM so when I started the 2007/2008 school year at Middlebury I was all set to graduate on time with my class in May of 2008. It was so great to be back at Middlebury but crazy to think it would be my last year (I now miss it a lot!). That winter I skied a lot. I went to Colorado with the Middlebury Ski Team for the week of Thanksgiving to get a jump on the ski season. While I was there I skied a few days with Sarah Will. She is a paraplegic who has won 12 Paralympic gold medals for skiing! And you thought Michael Phelps was good! She is an incredible person, skier, and coach and has helped me a lot. I am so thankful to have her as a friend.
I continued to ski throughout the winter with the ultimate goal of skiing in the Middlebury Carnival GS in February. As the Carnival got closer I began training with the Ski Team. Just getting down the Allen for the first time was frightening, that trail is steep! I progressed into training and I would go up and take a run or two in their course to get used to skiing the hill with gates. I know you are all picturing me flying down the hill like I used to. Well I wasn’t! I was taking my time, turning multiple times in between the gates sometimes, and occasionally deciding that gates were optional! But I was still making it down the hill, going through the start and finish. I definitely got better and better though. The week before the Carnival the conditions were perfect and I made it down in about 2.5 minutes. Not all that bad I thought! Just my luck, the Carnival conditions were terrible—bulletproof ice underneath with powder on top and pushed in piles along the side of the trail. It wasn’t my prettiest skiing but I made it down! I foreran (started before the racers for those who don’t know ski racing) and made it down! It was such a great accomplishment for me and I was so proud of myself for meeting my goal. There were tons of students at the middle and bottom of the course cheering me on which made it all that much better. Even though that was fun for me, I still am just excited about getting proficient at skiing and don’t have any interest in racing. (Although, Zeke has been trying to convince me to start racing and try to make the 2010 Paralympics!)
My next big accomplishment was graduation. I had a great spring with all of my friends and classmates enjoying Vermont and Middlebury to the fullest! Graduation week was full of parties, celebrations, friends and family. I had a lot of family come to cheer me on at graduation, which meant a lot. It was a beautiful day and the ceremony was nice (that’s polite right?!). The highlight for me however was when my name was called and I received a standing ovation from my classmates and the faculty. I was not expecting any kind of recognition and especially not what I got. I just live my life the best way I know how—I don’t try to be an inspiration or do anything extraordinary. It was very touching to be recognized for what I have accomplished. It really wasn’t until that moment that what I had accomplished came into perspective for me.
After graduation I spent the summer in Vermont relaxing. I wasn’t worried about getting a job right away—I wanted to take some time off and relax. By the end of the summer I was anxious to start working and get more structure in my life. I applied to numerous jobs, many around Burlington. It was tough for a while; it was not a great time to look for jobs! However, I ended up getting a job at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut (thanks to a connection set up by Marilyn Reap!). I am working in Commercial Operations doing domestic scheduling. That basically means that my department deals with all of the ads on ESPN—putting them in the correct programs, in order, etc. I wanted to go into advertising/marketing of some kind so this job seems like a good fit. I am moving down to West Hartford, CT on November 6th and starting my job on the 10th. I found a great handicap accessible apartment in West Hartford (that was not an easy task!), which has a great downtown area very similar to Church Street in Burlington. I don’t know anyone in the area, though I’ve been in contact with a few people from ESPN. I guess I’ll have to make new friends!
I told you I would come back to the Bike Ride so here is a little recap. The day was gorgeous weather (much different than the year before!) so we had a great crew of people and a great day. We had 366 riders and raised $135,000! I rode 27 miles to the water stop, which is the same amount that I rode the year before. This year, however, I did it in 2 hours and 50 minutes, 40 minutes faster than 2007! We had a BBQ and raffle at the end of the day and I think everyone had a great time. You can go to the Foundation website at www.KellyBrushFoundation.org to check out a full write up on the ride. We will be having another Ride next year so stay on the lookout for Save-the-Date cards this winter!
That is a rather long-winded update on how I’ve been over the last year but I hope you enjoyed it! Please leave any messages on the site as I will check it periodically. You can also email me if you would like to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I know I have said this before but I cannot thank all of you enough for your love and support over these last few years, it really has made all the difference.
All my best,