By Richard Rhinehart
Arlington, Virginia, April 21, 2014 – More than 500 participants on bicycles, hand cycles and recumbent bicycles will travel 110 miles on a two-day ride that begins April 26 from the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Their destination is the historic battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in World T.E.A.M. Sports’ annual Face of America ride.
Honoring military veterans who were injured during their service, this year’s ride will include more than 130 injured veterans from the United States, Canada and Denmark. Riding alongside the veterans will be active duty military, retired military and civilians from 36 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C. One of the most popular bicycle rides in the Washington D.C. region, this year’s ride is the largest World T.E.A.M. Sports event since the 2003 Face of America ride.
For many of the injured veteran riders, the Face of America provides an opportunity to connect with other veterans, and to use physical activity to regain physical fitness they may have lost since their injury. In leaving their active duty service, the veterans also lose their network of support among colleagues. The Face of America, in which all riders ride the same road together, helps create a new network of friends, advisers and colleagues.
Fully supported through the 110 miles of the ride, riders stop periodically for food and drink at rest stops staffed by local volunteers. Along the roads and scenic highways of Maryland north of the capital, residents show their support by enthusiastically cheering the colorfully-clad riders as they pass by on their journey to Gettysburg.
Following an evening in Frederick, Maryland, the riders continue north early the following morning, arriving in Pennsylvania by about 1 p.m. At the AllStar Expo Complex at the Eisenhower Hotel in Gettysburg, the participants end their ride with family, friends and local residents welcoming them to the city. Pennsylvania 4th Congressional District Representative Col. Scott Perry (R) is scheduled to greet the riders and offer a few comments prior to a celebratory lunch. A member of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, Col. Perry served in Iraq in 2008 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“World T.E.A.M. Sports is again honored to work with the Cumberland Township to bring this ride to Pennsylvania,” said Van Brinson, the nonprofit’s CEO and President. “The historical significance of the Battlefield makes a perfect ending to our ride. We are also excited to welcome Col. Scott Perry to our ending celebration. In 2015, we will encourage him to ride with us.”
Held annually since 2007, the Face of America ride is one of many inclusive events from World T.E.A.M. Sports. Other events include the annual Adventure Team Challenge in western Colorado in September, and the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge, a new bicycle ride this June from Ottawa, Ontario to Washington, D.C. The CanAm includes two teams of injured veterans from Canada and the United States.
The 2014 Face of America Ride is supported through sponsorships from Capital One Bank, Booz Allen Hamilton, Benson Botsford LLC, BODYARMOR, FootStomp.com, Deven’s Recycling, Fidelity & Guaranty Life, Freshbikes, General Electric, Penske Truck Rental, Subway of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Three Wire Systems LLC, Vedder Price and Veterans Corps of America.
About World T.E.A.M. Sports
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. Since 1993, 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.