No legs? So what? Local man competes in Reno-Tahoe Odyssey

Published: Jun. 1, 2018 at 11:29 AM PDT
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The 14th annual

kicked off early June 1 at Wingfield Park. The 178-mile loop runs around the Reno-Tahoe region, starting at Wingfield Park, then moves along the Truckee River in downtown Reno, passes through Truckee, Tahoe City, South Lake Tahoe, Genoa, Carson City and Virginia City before returning to Reno and finishing at Idlewild Park.

This year, one participant, Jonah Vandever, is participating using a hand-cycle. Vandever is a double-amputee and is teaming up with


Vandever and his team are hoping to raise awareness for his cause to raise $195,000 for new prosthetics that will allow him to continue to do the outdoor activities he loves.

"I also help my mother in her daycare which requires me to pick up children and pick stuff up with a knee that doesn't require me to worry," he says.

He says the prosthetics he has have about a four-month shelf life and are why he is the only hand-cyclist participating in the race. Vandever is cycling the first and 36th legs of the race.

"I don't have legs? So what?" he says. "That doesn't stop me from doing what I want to do."

You can donate to help Jonah's cause at


His mom, Steffini, says he has overcome the odds since he was a young boy.

"It started when he was really small; the doctors said he would never walk and with the stitches still in the bottoms of his stumps after his legs were amputated, he just ran across the living room floor and he's been running ever since," she says.

He says he gets his strength from friends and family's support.

"Without them I wouldn't be the crazy, amazing, legless guy that I am today," he says."

Vandever attends Truckee Meadows Community College and hopes to become a motivational speaker.