Events/News

World T.E.A.M. Sports’ Inaugural Face of America Liberty Ride Brings Inspiration

By Richard Rhinehart

West Point, New York, October 21, 2015 – National non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports’ inaugural Face of America Liberty bicycle and hand cycle ride from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York to the World Trade Center in Manhattan October 18 provided the 28 participating disabled and able-bodied athletes the opportunity to ride together as a supportive team.

Riders in Manhattan, New York.

Riders arrive in Manhattan October 18, heading south to the World Trade Center. Photograph by Alex Rohman.

Similar to the organization’s annual Face of America ride in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania each April, the one-day, 53-mile ride along the Hudson River included military veterans, civilians and active duty military from five states. Ranging in age from 26 to 68, participants came together as a team during their seven hour journey, talking and cooperating, overcoming obstacles and challenges. Arriving at the World Trade Center in downtown New York, the riders gathered at the reflecting pools south of the new 104-story One World Trade Center to remember and honor those who lost their lives in the 2001 attacks on America and the subsequent Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.

For the non-profit, the return to the World Trade Center recalled the emotional 2002 and 2003 Face of America bicycle rides directed by World T.E.A.M. Sports. In those two years, more than 2,000 athletes from across the nation rode 270 miles from Ground Zero in New York to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia in three days.

Under consideration as an addition to the non-profit’s 2016 national event schedule, the 2015 Face of America Liberty was developed by World T.E.A.M. Sports board member Paul Tyler and James P. McCauley Jr., a regular Face of America participant and the leading fundraiser for the April 2015 ride. Seeking to create a similar inspiring cycling event in the Hudson Valley, McCauley and Tyler worked tirelessly to find an appropriate route between the Military Academy and downtown Manhattan. They also consulted with various federal, state and local authorities to be certain correct procedures and policies were followed, creating a good foundation for future rides.

Van Brinson at Face of America Liberty.

World T.E.A.M. Sports CEO and President Van Brinson greets riders arriving at Face of America Liberty at the U.S. Military Academy October 18. Photograph by Paul Tyler.

Departing the Military Academy that morning in cool but clear weather, the riders encountered light snow flurries as they traveled south. Under clearing skies, the team crossed the Hudson at Weehawken by ferry in mid-afternoon, and then rode along Manhattan’s west side to the World Trade Center.

“When we arrived at the Trade Center, we had a European woman walk up and ask what we were doing,” recalled World T.E.A.M. Sports CEO and President Van Brinson, who provided support along the ride to athletes. “When one of riders explained that it was veteran-focused event from World T.E.A.M. Sports, the woman started hugging everyone.”

Noting that the route along the Hudson River was challenging, Brinson believes it has good potential with “the right team of people.”

“World T.E.A.M. Sports is excited about the Face of America Liberty ride,” said Brinson. “We are continually looking for ways to expand our outreach and this ride offers us that opportunity. Over the next few months we will be working to determine the feasibility of expanding this ride for next year.”

Riders prepare for the start of Face of America Liberty.

Riders prepare for the start of Face of America Liberty in West Point, New York October 18. Photograph by Van Brinson.

Volunteers at Face of America Liberty.

Several volunteers provided assistance at Face of America Liberty, including World T.E.A.M. Sports board member Paul Tyler, on far left. Photograph by Van Brinson, in back.

Riders at Face of America Liberty.

Riders at Face of America Liberty. Photograph by Paul Tyler.

New York City view.

View of New York City from across the Hudson River. Photograph by Stacy Gerard Puttick.

Riders on the ferry boat across the Hudson River.

Face of America Liberty riders took a ferry across the Hudson River. Photograph by Paul Tyler.

Team members at Face of America Liberty.

Face of America Liberty riders pause for a photograph in New York. Photograph by Alex Rohman.

Ceremony at the World Trade Center, New York.

Face of America Liberty riders participate in a short ceremony at the World Trade Center in New York. Photograph by Paul Tyler.

Reflecting Pool at the World Trade Center.

The reflecting pool at the World Trade Center, on the footprint of the fallen tower. Photograph by Stacy Gerard Puttick.

Face of America Liberty team members in Manhattan.

Face of America Liberty riders in Manhattan October 18, 2015. Photograph by Stacy Gerard Puttick.



Video created by Melvin Roberts.