"Just over a month ago, Bret Neylon, one of Central Indiana’s most respected coaches and cyclists, suffered a near-fatal crash in the Summer Solstice cycling event in Dayton, Ohio. Now, his race to recovery begins, literally, with this Friday’s Racing for Recovery, 7 p.m. (July 28) at the Major Taylor Velodrome in the Lake Sullivan Sports Complex.

Neylon, sprinting toward the end of the Dayton race, suffered a fractured vertebrae when he was sent crashing into the ground by a collision that occurred directly in front of him. Paralyzed from the shoulders down but making noticeable progress at a therapy center in Atlanta, Neylon’s friends and family hope to honor — and support — him in his absence.

Friday’s race will feature Category 1 and 2, Category 3 and Women’s races, but the event serves as more than a means for fellow cyclists to honor Morris Trucking/Team Bloomington’s Neylon: All proceeds from the evening will go to the Bret Neylon Support Fund. The evening will feature additional festivities and games for racers and spectators alike, and will include a gathering of numerous individuals whom Bret has touched — friends, family, students and teammates — in a heartfelt ceremony of pictures and memories.

A Brownsburg middle school teacher and high school track and cross country coach of 13 years, Neylon has been buoyed by local friends and family. However, in order to pay his bills, as well as to build a new home accessible to his condition, he must reach beyond those who have already offered aid. Friday’s contest is just one stretch in this race to recovery — a race Bret Neylon is determined to win.

Next week, check out our multimedia page for a vodcast about this event.

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