An impostor amongst the ranks

Today, I was mistaken for a hero.

American flags flew, people cheered and anthems boomed through the speakers. What could I do but wave? This wasn’t an intentional deception.  I was pedaling along south of San Luis Obispo, absorbed in my thoughts, when a photographer suddenly appeared on the side of the road. “There’s 200 wounded veterans catching up to you!” she yelled as I sped by.

The first group was led by one badass hand cyclist and passed me with a whir. The other riders came by at a slightly slower tempo but all of them had the same look of determination on their face. Friendly hellos were exchanged but I didn’t get a full explanation of the ride until a veteran/bike industry/support rider came along. The cyclists were all injured veterans who were in the middle of a 7 day “Ride 2 Recovery” event.

This program is designed to assist with both physical and emotional recovery from the scars of wartime. Wounded veterans are provided with custom carbon bicycles as a means of rehab and set an accompanying goal to participate in a specific ride. I witnessed touching acts of camaraderie as the men and women encouraged each other through challenging hills and descents.

These kind folks invited me to share lunch with them and even fixed my slowly leaking rear tire. Over egg salad sandwiches we shared stories of our hometowns and life on the road. I would like to extend a huge thank-you to the Ride 2 Recovery crew for keeping my morale high during a challenging day of riding. An even bigger thank-you goes out to all of our troops, at home and abroad.

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4 thoughts on “An impostor amongst the ranks

  1. Thank you so much it was so nice to meet you out there and your support for us and we all appreciate what you were doing as well cause 6000 miles is a big difference to what we did but it was was heart warming to know people out there still do care about us. we finished are journey on the 8th to a heart filled community at the Santa Monica pier…i just want to extend my gratitude to you and encourage you on the rest of your journey. God speed and God Bless.

  2. Scott Nickel says:

    We rode with Ride2Recovery on the 9/11 Challenge as civilians. We helped support the ride by fundraising over $3,000 each for our heroes. Go to their website and learn more about this amazing group. We will be back with the team next year for the Golden State Challenge. Time to start fundraising again!!

  3. “All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware. ~Martin Buber”
    It was great meeting you on the road. I hope all is going smoothly for you. It’s always inspiring to see what challenges a person takes upon themselves, and yours is truly an inspiration to us all!! As soldiers, we understand self sacrifice, and spending one’s self on a greater good. Seeing you out there, committing to something greater than yourself, makes you just as much a hero as any one of us. We don’t always have to wear a uniform, or see battle, to make our country a better place.
    I’m glad our paths crossed, and happy that we could be a part of your journey. May the ever winding road have more secret destinations waiting for you.
    Dan (that veteran/bike industry/support rider guy)

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