Wounded veterans bike through the north country en route to D.C.

by Steve Virkler, Johnson Newspapers

June 24, 2014, Lowville, New York – A group of about 25 bicyclists — including 16 injured American, Canadian and Danish veterans — passed through Jefferson and Lewis counties this week as part of a nearly 800-mile ride from Ottawa to Washington, D.C.

Courtney Chambliss and Dean Peach.
CanAm Veterans’ Challenge staff member Courtney Chambliss gives the thumbs up while she and Canadian veteran Dean Peach ride through downtown Lowville on June 23. Photograph courtesy Steve Virkler, Johnson Newspapers.

“It’s awesome,” said Jose Santiago of Colorado, a former Army combat medic who served two tours in Iraq, during a stop for rest and cellphone pictures in Lowville on Monday, the fourth day of the inaugural, 14-day CanAm Veterans’ Challenge.

“You can’t ask for better weather,” said fellow Colorado resident Scott Bates.

Mr. Bates, a Navy veteran, said in a release before the ride that he looked at the event as a way to recover from his service-related injuries. “Cycling itself can even be looked at as a metaphor,” he said. “While you may not be the fastest or most talented, if you are persistent and do not give up, you will cover vast distances sooner than you realize.”

The group, which departed from the steps of the Canadian Parliament on Friday morning, stayed overnight Sunday at the Holiday Inn in Watertown after eating at the Ponderosa Steakhouse, according to Richard Rhinehart, director of communications for World T.E.A.M. Sports, Holbrook, which is organizing the ride.

Read the full story at the Watertown Daily Times web site.

Scott Bates, Harry Carr and Jose Santiago.
From left, Colorado veteran Scott Bates , New Hampshire veteran Harry Carr and Colorado veteran Jose Santiago pause for a moment in downtown Lowville on June 23. Photograph courtesy Steve Virkler, Johnson Newspapers.


Dan Bodden, Harry Carr, Marina Libro, Scott Bates and Jose Santiago.
A group of CanAm Veterans’ Challenge riders gather in Lowville, New York, on route to Rome. From left, British Columbia veteran Dan Bodden, New Hampshire veteran Harry Carr, Virginia veteran Marina Libro, Virginia, and Colorado veterans Scott Bates and Jose Santiago. Photograph courtesy Steve Virkler, Johnson Newspapers.