By Richard Rhinehart
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.