Fantastic Finish for the 2011 Face of America

With the four coach buses departing for Washington and the festivities winding down to a close at Seamus Garrahy’s, quiet came once again to the historic Civil War battlefields of Gettysburg. On the 150th anniversary of the beginning of America’s tragic War Between the States, Americans came together to celebrate our nation – our freedom, our democracy, and our unending support of fellow citizens.

Face of America Day 2 Start

Sunday morning was sunny but cool for the Face of America ride. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.

At the conclusion of the 2011 Face of America ride, nearly 500 Americans from across the continent who joined together for a weekend set off on their separate ways, returning to their lives and businesses. Yet, they are fundamentally changed for the better, having shared the common experiences and challenges of the 110-mile ride from Washington to Gettysburg.

The Face of America is much more than a simple bike ride, it is an opportunity to meet, talk with, and support those Americans who have chosen to defend this country. Throughout the weekend, and along the streets and highways of rural Maryland, participants had a chance to talk with active and retired servicemen and women, wounded warriors, successful businessmen and women, public servants and the common man. All worked together to meet the many challenges that arose during the 2011 ride.

Following a rainy, stormy Saturday ride, which saw the last ten miles into Frederick abandoned owing to severe weather warnings, participants arrived in the west central Maryland city by shuttle van. Settling into their hotels, dinners were delayed or interrupted by tornado, flash flood and severe thunderstorm warnings from an epic storm front that had earlier brought destruction and tragedy to the southeastern United States.

Loy's Station Park suffered flood damage.

Saturday evening's storms severely flooded the Loy's Station Park along Old Frederick Road. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.

Participants awakened to mostly sunny skies on the following morning, Sunday, April 17. From their hotels in Frederick, the disabled and non-disabled riders arrived at the day’s starting point and enjoyed a breakfast sponsored by the Frederick Marine Corps League.

The ride was about an hour late in starting, owing to the previous evening’s storms and resulting last-minute changes to the day’s route. The Loy’s Station Park on Old Frederick Road with its historic covered bridge was set to serve as a rest stop for the ride, but flooding Saturday evening knocked over portapotties and filled all but one with mud and debris. The large tent for food service was inaccessible owing to wet, flooded terrain. With Old Frederick Road closed to traffic by the county, the rest stop was set up on the road itself, on both sides of the wooden bridge.

At Barlow along the Taneytown Road, the Barlow Fire Company 22 hosted one of the largest rest stops of the weekend, with hot food and beverages. This was a welcome rest stop for many participants, following nearly 20 miles of riding since Loy’s Station. Importantly, the portapotties were available for rider use.

The first wave of riders arrive at the Face of America finish.

The first wave of wounded warriors reach the finish of the 2011 Face of America ride. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.

North of Barlow, the riders passed over Route 15, turned and entered the Gettysburg National Military Park, passing Scouts and families near Little Round Top and the Devil’s Den. Following a staging stop at the Michael Posner farm, the riders proceeded the final mile to Seamus Garrahy’s, passing beneath the massive howitzer guns on Black Horse Tavern Road and riding toward a huge United States flag flying high from a Gettysburg Fire Department ladder truck. Grilled steaks and cold beer awaited the participants, their friends, families and supporters.

While Saturday’s weather was often miserable, Sunday’s sunny but cool day provided a fantastic finish to the weekend. For many as they climbed aboard the coaches for their ride back to the Hyatt Regency Washington, plans were already being made for the 2012 Face of America ride, scheduled for April 27-29.

World T.E.A.M. Sports thanks all those who participated as riders in the 2011 ride, along with the many safety marshals, motorcycle crew, food and transportation volunteers, guest speakers, and sponsors. Your support and tireless effort is critical to the success of the Face of America and to the organization.

Explore media coverage of the Face of America 2011.

Face of America 2011 Celebration

Participants celebrate in Gettysburg at the conclusion of the 2011 Face of America Ride. Steaks and beers for all. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.