WESTMINSTER, Colo. (KDVR) – Lacey Jones will never forget when and where it happened.

“It was at 7:09 a.m., and we were outside Parker, AZ. The date of the accident was June 16 of 2021,” Jones told FOX31.

She was part of a cycling team called Love, Sweat and Gears, taking part in Race Across the West, a 930-mile cycling challenge that takes riders from Oceanside, California, to Durango. Jones remembers hearing an 18-wheeler approaching but didn’t think much of it. Then came the impact.

“I remember waking up and opening my eyes when I was on the ground, and just thinking, OK, wiggle your fingers, wiggle your toes, do you have feeling?” Jones said.

“Somebody opened the door and said Lacey got hit. And that’s all we knew,” teammate Katy Cavanas said.

Back on the bike to help with healing

What followed was an air evacuation to an Arizona trauma center, a broken back and a long recovery.

“I went into emergency surgery that day. There had to have been 20 different surgeons in that room. It was hard, especially when they babysit you and they tell you can’t even get up to walk across the room without somebody there,” Jones said.

But somehow, Jones never feared getting back on that bike.

“I remember the first ride we did when she first got back on the bike, and just how emotional it was, because she’s doing it,” teammate Jazmine Gatewood said.

And this year, she’s racing again with renewed vigor and a new mission.

“She wanted to have something in front of her to help her healing process and give her a reason and a purpose for it, and we were 100% there for it,” Cavanas said.

Since teams taking part in the race always pick a charity to raise money for, this year, Love, Sweat and Gears is racing for Adaptive Adventures, a Colorado-based charity that provides sports opportunities for those with physical disabilities and their families.

“We do cycling programs, we have climbing programs, we have paddle sport, and that’s kayaking, that’s dragon boating,” said Rob Bingham, director of development at Adaptive Adventures.

Coast to coast ride to help others overcome

Jones knows that had her accident been just a little bit worse, she may have needed help from Adaptive Adventures herself.

“We were excited. We kind of learned a lot about them and what they were for and kind of connected how we do cycling in our community, and that’s just another group that does it, and they were really inclusive and really energetic,” said Gilbert Vasquez, adaptive sports coordinator at Adaptive Adventures.

“I need to finish and I want to finish with the girls,” Jones said.

To contribute to their fundraiser, visit the campaign website.

She hopes to ride coast to coast this June – with her teammates – in the Race Across America 2023. Their goal is to raise money for Adaptive Adventures to help others overcome the kind of obstacles she overcame.

“Just emphasizes where we’re coming from and what we’re really about,” Jones said.