BY RICHARD RHINEHART
Arlington, Virginia, Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2011: World T.E.A.M. Sports‘ iconic Sea to Shining Sea cross-country bicycle ride will make its official return in the summer of 2012. The Sea to Shining Sea ride across America May 28 – July 28 will include 15 to 18 disabled veterans from our nation’s military, accompanied by a small team of able-bodied riders.
Taking about 60 days to travel from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, the Sea to Shining Sea ride will pass through towns and cities both small and large, bringing inspiration and honor to spectators, supporters and the riders. Riders on bicycles, recumbents and handcycles will cross deserts, mountains, plains and woodlands during their long journey east.
With the exact route to be confirmed in the coming months, the 2012 ride will follow the premiere this November of Austin Smithard’s “Two Shining Seas” feature documentary. This dramatic film about World T.E.A.M. Sports‘ successful 2010 cross-country journey will help communities better understand the sacrifices members of our military make in fulfilling their duties, and the inclusive message from the organization.
In 2010, participants included Eric Frazier, a disabled Marine who remains a competitive athlete despite a spinal cord injury; Nicolette Maroulis, an injured Navy K9 Handler who began the cross-country journey on a handcycle but completed the ride on a bicycle; Chad Jukes, an Army Reservist who lost a leg while on duty in Iraq who remains an active mountaineer and climber; and Rory McCarthy, an experienced hand cyclist who has participated in past World T.E.A.M. Sports events, including the nine month AXA World Ride in 1995.
In early 2012, World T.E.A.M. Sports will invite selected disabled veterans to participate in the 2012 ride, a life-changing experience for all participants. The ride will be fully supported, but participants will be challenged daily by varying weather conditions, lengthy distances and varied topography.
State Farm, the Presenting Sponsor for the inaugural Sea to Shining Sea ride in 2010, has committed to serve as the Presenting Sponsor for 2012. Other sponsors and local hosts will soon be joining the team.
The 2012 ride follows three previous cross-country bicycling rides from World T.E.A.M. Sports. These include the 2010 Sea to Shining Sea ride, the 2000 Face of America cross-country ride, in which two teams of riders from each coast met at the arch in Saint Louis, and the 1987 Ride Across America, which served as the stimulus for founding the organization.
At all World T.E.A.M. Sports events – whether mountain climbing, biking, white water rafting or many other sports – four things always happen:
• Disabled participants build self confidence and physical fitness
• The disabled provide a role model for other disabled citizens, encouraging them to take up athletic activities
• The disabled provide a moving inspiration to other participants and to spectators when they see disabled individuals can reach goals and meet challenges beyond anyone’s imagination
• The disabled and non-disabled participants become a team, working together to overcome those challenges