Ride2Recovery: Gulf Coast Challenge Day 4

Day 4 Orange Beach to Ft. Walton Beach

What a difference a year makes. Last year, the wind was blowing so hard that the riders could average only 13 mph for the ride into Ft. Walton Beach. This year, although it was chilly, the tailwind produced average speeds of about 19 mph.

Ride 2 Recovery is delving into a number of competitive events this year, one of those being the Leadville Trail 100. Leadville is the hardest 1 day mountain bike race in the world. This year, R2R will field a team of 21 riders. The Challenge Events will serve as an opportunity for those competing in Leadville to get some quality training in and really prepare to conquer the 12 hour time limit. One of those riders is Matt Dewitt. Matt lost both of his arms in Iraq. “I don’t know what I’ll do,” he said. “I don’t know what’s there for me to do now.”

He found cycling and R2R in 2012 and completed the Minuteman Challenge. Ride 2 Recovery built a specially adapted road bike with shifting and breaking systems for someone with no hands. He also became interested in mountain biking and rode the Mt. Washington Hill climb last year. R2R brought up the idea of Leadville to Matt and he was hooked.

Today, Matt rode his first century. He is training hard to make the 12 hour cut off at Leadville. The 100 miles features more than 14,100 feet of climbing. Matt is incredibly motivated and now knows his future will include cycling.

Tomorrow we ride to Panama City. The shortest day of the Challenge with only 59 miles.

Ride 2 Recovery is a program produced by the Fitness Challenge Foundation, a 501(c)3 to benefit mental and physical rehabilitation programs that feature cycling as the core activity. The funds raised by R2R support outdoor cycling programs and Spinning Recovery Labs at Military and VA locations around the U.S., as well as local rides for healing heroes, all aimed at helping injured veterans overcome obstacles they face as part of their rehabilitation. Funds also support the equipment donated to each healing hero participating in the events, including bikes that require modification due to injuries. Ride 2 Recovery supporters include UnitedHealthcare, Chevrolet, Raleigh Bicycles, United Airlines and the USO. For more information, visit ride2recovery.com.

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