Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Soldier Ride - Sunshine State Challenge
I headed down to Florida on Thursday evening for another Soldier Ride event sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). And it was another incredible weekend with some very cool people. Not to mention that it was in Florida, which was awesome since it was practically snowing in North Carolina when I left!
We started out in Miami and then drove rode/drove down to finish the ride in Key West. I was honored with a high quality, fancy schmancy Raleigh rental to use during the ride. I think my pedals cost more than the bike! But I didn't care that it only had 3 gears. Thank God we were in Florida and the biggest hill we hit was going over a bridge.
The most memorable experience was probably riding over the 7 mile bridge. The police shut down all traffic crossing the bridge while about 30 wounded soldiers and some volunteers rode across. I was expecting glares and honks (and possibly inappropriate finger gestures) from the stopped motorists, but instead just about all of them got out of their vehicles to cheer us on. It was very cool.
The turnout for the Soldier Ride included about 30 soldiers and 30 volunteers/special guests (I was one of the (or maybe the only) special guest) so there were a lot of new people to meet. And the events were packed in. I think we stopped to eat just about every 2 hours because so many groups were interested in sponsoring a meal. Again, there was just such incredible support for the whole event.
Two of the guys who joined us are working on a documentary that they hope to air on A&E or HBO. They filmed and interviewed the soldiers for 3 days to capture footage of these men and women who sacrificed a lot to protect our country. I will certainly post more when I know when it might be aired.
I am just thankful that I was given another opportunity to show my support for these men and women. Having been an amputee my entire life I have a lot of experiences to draw from and have a lot of resources to share with others.