Mitch Ancona, owner of Ancona's Wines & Liquors in Ridgefield, Georgetown, and Wilton, headed to Kansas earlier this month where he rode his bike 201 miles at this year’s Dirty Kanza 200.

The Dirty Kanza is a 200 mile long ultra-endurance bicycling challenge held on the gravel roads through the Flint Hills region of east-central Kansas.

Ancona was riding to help raise funds for the Norwalk River Valley Trail’s (NRVT) first section in Redding, dubbed the Redding Mile.

“We’ve received a $375,000 grant from CT DEEP to build the Redding Mile and need to raise a match of $75,000 to trigger the grant," said Stuart Green, the NRVT’s town leader in Redding. "Mitch Ancona’s terrific Mad Kanza Challenge has resulted in $8,750 in donations, putting us very close to our goal.  We’re hoping to begin construction of the Redding Mile later this year.”

“I was hoping we’d raise about $3,000 and was blown away by the generosity of friends and associates who helped the Mad Kanza Challenge, almost tripling our goal," Mitch Ancona said. "It’s a testament to people’s excitement about expanding the NRVT.”

The Norwalk River Valley Trail  aims to build 30 miles of trail connecting Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk, Connecticut to Rogers Park in Danbury, passing through Wilton, Ridgefield, and Redding along the way.  Eight miles have been built so far in Wilton and Norwalk.

The NRVT will be a 10-foot wide, wheelchair-accessible trail creating recreation opportunities for walkers, hikers, cyclists, kids and pets, offering a healthy transportation alternative to rail stations, schools, offices, and businesses.