Written by Lisa Perkins, Traverse City, Mich. Record-Eagle
(TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. - August 17, 2009) -- Steve Buse is always up for a challenge.
This week the disabled veteran and artist will begin a 150-mile bicycle ride across the state with hopes that reaching a goal that once seemed unattainable will serve as an inspiration to others who share his circumstances.
The former world-class skier who suffers from degenerative arthritis and fibromyalgia, as well as disabilities resulting from injuries suffered while serving in the Persian Gulf War, credits a great deal of his ability to keep active to his association with Challenge Mountain in Boyne City.
"They got skis under my feet again, something that I thought would never happen," said Buse, who not only skis at Challenge Mountain, but volunteers for the facility that helps the physically impaired and mentally challenged achieve their maximum potential through outdoor therapeutic recreation.
"Seeing the smile on other skiers' faces, you can't pay for that. It chokes me up to see the positive results," Buse said.
Participants at Challenge Mountain have the opportunity to work one-on-one with instructors, using adaptive equipment, to get them out on the slopes during winter months or doing a variety of outdoor activities throughout the year.
"The Challenge Mountain people have helped me out so much that I wanted to do something to help let other people know how great they are," said Buse, who had originally hoped to walk the route that begins in Traverse City and takes him across the state, stopping at his mother's home in Ossineke and finally to his father's home in Alpena.
"I have been thinking about doing this for a couple of years, but my body is just tearing apart and walking wasn't going to be an option, so we came up with this idea to ride a bike," said Buse, who will leave from the corner of Front and Union streets during Friday Night Live festivities.
Taking the trip in small sections with days off to camp and rest, Buse is planning on spending two weeks to complete the ride.
"This is going to be sort of a vacation for me, but I wanted to make something good of it too, so if people find out more about Challenge Mountain because of me, all the better," Buse said.