Ride 2 Recovery: Florida Challenge

By Joe Lee

As about 200 wounded veterans and their supporters cycle through Florida, today, the third annual Ride 2 Recovery (R2R) Florida Challenge enters its third day.

Whe the ride is complete on November 21, the riders will have trekked more than 350 miles, from Tampa to Jacksonville, Florida, in an effort to raise funds to support veteran rehabilitation programs. In addition, a live, online auction is now taking bids on various products and services to support R2R.

Many of the participants ride on specially designed, high-tech bicycles, hand cycles, recumbent and traditional road bikes – many of which are custom built for veterans by R2R.

The riders left Ocala, Florida, this morning at 10 A.M., heading to Gainesville – home of the Florida Gators. The group will be treated to a hero’s welcome, including a basketball game between Florida and the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Justin Minyard from Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, fist came out to R2R back in May at the Memorial Challenge in Virginia. It was his first effort after suffering from major back surgery and its lingering treatment. In the months since that ride, Justin has really taken to his new trike and has put together a regular training schedule and has been riding 200 miles per week and has lost more than 40 pounds. He wants to begin racing and hope to participate in the upcoming Warrior Games.

Another is Delvin McMillian, riding on his new quad racer. Delvin rides without hands or arms and his prosthetics connect him to the bike and allow him to enjoy the freedom that cycling provides. Everyone marvels at how well he can ride. R2R has broken some great technological ground in the adapted bikes it provides the injured veterans. Today, Delvin became the first person to ride a hydraulic disc brake road bike. The disc brakes allow increased braking power something that you have a hard time doing without hands.

Read more about R2R and find the ride guide on the R2R website, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.