By Richard Rhinehart
Arlington, Virginia, December 10, 2012 – World T.E.A.M. Sports’ popular Face of America bicycle ride from Washington to Gettysburg opened registration today for teams and individuals participating in the inclusive April 26-28, 2013 event.
Providing an opportunity for able-bodied civilians, active duty and retired military to ride with disabled veterans from all branches of the service, the 2013 ride begins adjacent to the Pentagon in suburban Washington and concludes at the historic battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Face of America is fully-supported for participants of all abilities, leisurely traveling 110 miles in two days. New for 2013 are two loop rides for more experienced riders; a 100 mile loop from Gettysburg on Saturday, and a 100 kilometer loop from Gettysburg on Sunday. All participants receive a commemorative jersey at on-site registration, along with a gala commemorative dinner and a celebratory outdoor lunch in Gettysburg at the Sunday afternoon conclusion.
For participants of the annual Face of America ride from World T.E.A.M. Sports, cycling with disabled veterans of America’s military provides a sense of honor and respect for those who gave so much in support of their country. “The best part of this ride was actually getting to ride with some of those that we are supporting. I’ve done charity rides before, but they felt faceless as it was hard to see what and who was benefiting from the fundraising,” said one participant following the 2012 ride.
Face of America is the not-for-profit organization’s most popular participant event, attracting 500 riders, of which an expected 100 or more will be disabled military veterans. The ride began in 2000 as a relay cross-country ride with two teams of disabled riders riding from each coast meeting at the St. Louis arch. In 2002 and 2003, the ride ran from Ground Zero in New York to the Pentagon and honored the victims of the 9/11 attacks on America. In April 2006, the ride was re-envisioned as an inclusive event to honor those who were injured or disabled while serving in the military. Over the next five years, a greater number of disabled Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans participated, as have additional active duty military and civilian riders.
Each civilian, retired and active duty military participant in the ride is required to raise a minimum amount of funds from family, friends, co-workers and colleagues to support the participation of the disabled veterans, who pay no registration, transportation or lodging fees, as well as cover event costs. Any remaining funds raised through the event are applied to other World T.E.A.M. Sports events. These include Colorado’s Adventure TEAM Challenge, an outdoor team competition with disabled and able-bodied competitors, and larger events, such as the Sea to Shining Sea ride, a bi-annual cross-country bicycle ride.
Registration for participating riders and teams for the Face of America is currently underway online. There is a maximum limit of 500 participants, including veterans with disabilities.
World T.E.A.M. Sports is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization chartered in North Carolina and headquartered in Holbrook, New York. For more than 20 years, World T.E.A.M. Sports has organized athletic events for disabled and able bodied citizens – mountain climbing, white water rafting, biking, and more. Four things always happen at our events: (1) Disabled participants build self-confidence and physical fitness; (2) The disabled provide a role model for other disabled citizens, encouraging them to take up physical activities; (3) The disabled become a moving inspiration to other participants and to spectators when they see that disabled individuals can meet challenges beyond anyone’s imagination; and (4) The disabled and able-bodied participants learn to work as a team to overcome those challenges. World T.E.A.M. Sports changes lives through sports.