July 9, 2014, Washington, D.C. – Injured veterans and able-bodied riders with World T.E.A.M. Sports’ inaugural CanAm Veterans’ Challenge completed their nearly 800 mile journey Friday morning, reaching the Capitol of the United States.
Following a triumphant arrival at the Capitol, the riders accepted an invition by the Canadian federal government to a reception at the Canadian Embassy. Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer welcomed the riders to Washington, and provided access to the building’s impressive top floor views of the Capitol. Serving as the ambassador to the United States since 2009, Ambassador Doer said they would like to play a role in the June 2016 CanAm Veterans’ Challenge ride now in early planning by the non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports.
Riders then pedaled to the staging area for the annual Independence Day Parade on Constitution Avenue, sponsored by the National Park Service. As Hurricane Arthur continued to churn to the northeast, skies cleared and temperatures warmed, providing a fitting end to the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge.
July 4, 2014, Arlington, Virginia – Under gray, leaden skies, CanAm Veterans’ Challenge riders are awakening this morning for their final day of the inaugural ride, a ten mile journey across the Potomac River to the Capitol of the United States of America.
With Hurricane Arthur churning southeast of the Washington capital region along the Virginia coast, the riders today face scattered showers and breezy conditions. Fortunately, the exceptional heat of the last few days has moved on, courtesy of a passing cold front late on July 3 that brought high winds, frequent lightning and heavy rain.
For many riders, the penultimate day of riding from Frederick, Maryland to Arlington provided an opportunity to reflect upon their journey from Ottawa, the nearly 800 miles passed, the people they met during the ride and the new friends they made along the way. Arriving in Arlington by mid-afternoon, prior to the arrival of the cold front and its heavy thundershowers, the team was able to relax before attending a buffet dinner presented by sponsor Benson Botsford. At the dinner, several riders spoke of their experiences along the journey and staff members were recognized for their many valued contributions during the successful ride across four states and one province.
The schedule for the CanAm’s final day is surprisingly busy. Team members were to depart the Marriott Crystal Gateway in Arlington for the Capitol at 7:45 a.m., arriving for a final ceremony by 8:30. Next on the schedule is breakfast at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, followed by participation in the National Independence Day Parade on the National Mall. Then, the riders are free to explore the capital on the nation’s birthday. Fireworks this evening over the city will cap off the day.
World T.E.A.M. Sports CEO and President Van Brinson announced at the Thursday dinner that although the inaugural CanAm Veterans’ Challenge is ending, the next edition is already in the planning. It is tentatively scheduled for June 2016, following a course from Washington D.C. north into Canada, ending on Canada Day, July 1.
July 2, 2014, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania – For the injured veterans riding bicycles, recumbent bicycles and hand cycles in the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge, the ride this morning through the historic Gettysburg National Military Park was an emotional experience.
Riding south through the solemn monuments and quiet green fields of the hallowed Civil War battlefield following their Gettysburg departure, the participating veterans could relate to the experience of colleagues in battle. One-hundred fifty-one years ago to this day, Union and Confederate troops were fighting the Civil War’s deadliest battle, with an estimated 46,000 to 51,000 casualties during the three days beginning July 1.
Back on familiar ground south of the battlefield, the riders followed much of the same byways and lanes World T.E.A.M. Sports’ annual Face of America ride travels on its annual journey north to Gettysburg from the Pentagon. Hilly northern Maryland near the historic Loys Station Park with its reconstructed covered bridge provided riders with some elevation gains and losses. Yet, with the smaller team of the CanAm, the experience of these roads was different, more intimate.
The CanAm team will spend the evening in Frederick, Maryland, and ride to Arlington, Virginia on July 3. With Tropical Storm Arthur growing along the eastern Florida coast before moving northeast along the Atlantic coast, forecasters call for increasing showers in the coming days, with potential heavy rain on the afternoon and evening of July 3 in the Washington region. The riders of the CanAm look to arrive in Arlington early Thursday afternoon, and hope that Arthur stays to the east, allowing for a rain-free conclusion on July 4 in the capital.