Posted: Aug 4, 2010 11:12 PM by Andy Koen
Updated: Aug 5, 2010 1:44 AM
Pushing and pedaling across the highways of Colorado this week are hundreds of wounded warriors from every branch of military service across America.
Some are veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, others of Vietnam. All share the bond of sacrifice for their country.
"Cycling is something that anyone can do anywhere any time," explains organizer John Wordin.
The marine corps veteran and competitive cyclist has helped to form the Ride 2 Recovery three years ago as an outlet for the physical and mental wounds war.
"It's hard for the general population to relate to what these guys are going through with their injuries, but they can relate to each other so by bringing them in to this group setting it really creates a great dynamic in their rehabilitation process."
That camaraderie is one of Nathan Hunt's favorite parts of the ride. He's been of seven of them.
"It's hard work but you're on the road talking longer so you make the most of everything."
Gavin Sibaya sees the ride as an integral part of his physical therapy. While still physically able to walk, Sibayan has very limited use of his legs.
In the span of month in the Fall of 2007, Sibayan survived three separate attacks by explosive devices. The first was so jarring it dislocated his hips.
"So, I had to pop em back in myself," Sibayan said. "I was there for three more weeks and got hit two more times, and after the third hit, it knocked me out and I got shrapnel in my head."
In addition to wounds to his legs, Sibayan was also diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and a Traumatic Brain Injury. Nevertheless he's competed in and won 5 gold medals in swimming at the Warrior Games.
Wordin says he sees that same determination in so many of the veterans who participate in the rides that he plans to keep staging rides.
"As long as they keep telling me they want to do more rides then we're going to do more rides."
The 100 plus riders participating in the Rocky Mountain Challenge started their tour in Cheyenne,Wyoming on Saturday and have been covering roughly 50 miles a day.
The first group of riders will leave the Howard Johnson Hotel on North Academy Boulevard at about 9:15 a.m. Thursday, and the second group by 10:00.
The schedule calls for the riders to make stops in Black Forrest, and Falcon prior to crossing back across Colorado Springs to the Garden of the Gods by lunchtime. They willthen head for downtown and continue south to Fort Carson by mid-afternoon.