Tag Archives: World T.E.A.M. Sports

Ride along with Veteran Jens Sondergaard

By Richard Rhinehart

June 27, 2014, Binghamton, New York – World T.E.A.M. Sports’ CanAm Veterans’ Challenge team is riding south into Pennsylvania today, leaving behind New York state on their nearly 800 mile journey from the Parliament in Ottawa, Ontario to the Capitol of the United States in Washington, D.C.

Jens Sondergaard and his hand cycle.
Jens Sondergaard on his hand cycle June 26. Photograph by Brinson Langley.

Today’s ride to Wilkes-Barre, in Pennsylvania’s Wyoming Valley along the Susquehanna River, is the longest of the two-week CanAm, at 90 miles. There is a 20 percent chance of showers in the afternoon, with a high in the mid-80s, so undoubtedly the riders will prefer to reach their evening hotel in Wilkes-Barre prior to any precipitation.

To experience what the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge offers to the participants, ride along with Danish veteran Jens Sondergaard, who uses his Wolturnus hand cycle. He’s posted a short YouTube video showing the excitement of a fast downhill run with little traffic, other than a fellow team member.

As always, follow the team along on the ride with our live GPS tracking page.

Veterans Head South from Cooperstown

By Richard Rhinehart

Cooperstown, New York, June 26, 2014 – Veteran riders with World T.E.A.M. Sports’ inaugural CanAm Veterans’ Challenge climbed onto their bicycles, hand cycles and recumbent bicycles this morning for a 77-mile ride south and west to Binghamton, New York. One of the longest days of riding on the schedule for the CanAm team, the riders were on the road early to beat expected thunderstorms in the late afternoon.

Chris Levi and the riders depart Cooperstown.
Veteran Chris Levi and other CanAm Veterans’ Challenge riders depart Cooperstown, New York, June 26. Photograph by Brinson Langley.

Incorporated in 1834, the southern New York city at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers, Binghamton and “the Valley of Opportunity” is home to a quarter million residents. CanAm riders will travel along New York Highway 7 through Oneonta, Sidney and Bainbridge to downtown Washington to the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel for their overnight accommodations.

During Wednesday’s day of rest, the team visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, exploring the various exhibits detailing Major League Baseball’s long history.

On Friday, the team will undertake another long ride – the ride’s longest – 90 miles from Binghamton to Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

CanAm Veterans' Challenge team at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown hosted the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge team on June 25. Photograph courtesy Brad Horn, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Veterans, riders receive warm greeting

By Nicole A. Elliott, Rome Sentinel

June 24, 2014 Rome, New York – “Welcome to Rome!”

Bystanders adorned in patriotic red, white and blue, some waving American flags and flashing signs, shouted cheers of encouragement and good wishes as about 27 injured veterans and supporters cycled down West Chestnut Street Monday afternoon.

Rome was among the several small-town stops on a 14-day bicycle trip from Canada to Washington, D.C. by the team of veterans representing three countries — the United States, Canada and Denmark.

Welcoming poster in Rome.
A welcoming poster greeted riders as they arrived in Rome, New York. Photograph courtesy Rome Sentinel.

They were treated to a spaghetti dinner by Rome Veterans of Foreign Wars Post and then enjoyed a hot shower and comfortable bed overnight at the Wingate Hotel at Griffiss Business and Technology Park.

The contingent included 16 injured veterans biking with nine able-bodied riders, also accompanied by support staff in some vehicles, according to the World T.E.A.M. Sports organization, which coordinated the event. The nearly 800-mile trip was geared to build awareness and provide inspiration.

Participants include veterans who served in Vietnam, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Among their disabilities are loss of limb, paralysis, post-traumatic stress, brain injuries, and blindness in some cases.

Two able-bodied riders are serving as pilots for blind veterans using tandem bicycles, according to World T.E.A.M. Sports.

“The ride does two things: It provides people with disabilities the opportunity to participate in an athletic event of this magnitude and it allows communities to observe people with disabilities and highlights the fact that their disabilities could be merely nuisances and can easily be overcome,” said World T.E.A.M. Chief Executive Officer Van Brinson.

Read the full story at the Rome Sentinel website.

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.

Follow the Riders Daily

By Richard Rhinehart

June 20, 2014, Perth, Ontario – Interested in cheering on the riders of the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge as they ride through your community? Or are you an armchair supporter who is following the June 20 through July 4 ride from the comfort of your office or home? Either way, World T.E.A.M. Sports is providing online GPS tracking of the team as they ride the nearly 800 miles from Ottawa to Washington.

Sample SPOT tracking map.
A section of the SPOT GPS tracking map from the first day of tracking the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge.

Through the use of modern satellite technology, World T.E.A.M. Sports has created a shared tracking page for the three SPOT GPS trackers used by riders in the 2014 CanAm Veterans’ Challenge. The tracking page includes regularly updated locations for the three units, keyed to a Google map showing the location.

On the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge tracking site, you can see locations of the three GPS units represented by different colored dots on the map. These locations are automatically updated every ten minutes. The three tracking units show the approximate location of the team, with one unit at the front of the group, another at the end and the third somewhere in the middle.

SPOT Tracking LogoAn additional feature of the provided Google map is the built-in Google Street View feature, which allows the user to drag and drop the little man icon onto the road, and see the terrain the riders are currently passing. It’s almost if you are riding along with the team.

The units will be active each day during the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge, excepting the rest days. Tracking information will remain online from past daily rides for seven days.

Track the riders now!

Member of Parliament to Send off CanAm Riders from Ottawa

By Richard Rhinehart

June 19, 2014, Ottawa, Ontario – The 16 injured veterans from Canada, the United States and Denmark in World T.E.A.M. Sports’ inaugural CanAm Veterans’ Challenge will begin their ride from the steps of Parliament in Ottawa June 20 with a send-off from Canadian Member of Parliament Erin O’Toole.

MP Erin O'Toole
Canadian Member of Parliament Erin O’Toole at a recent session of Parliament in Ottawa. Photograph courtesy MP Erin O’Toole.

A commissioned officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force and a member of the Canadian Forces reserves, O’Toole has served as a fundraiser for several national charities, including the True Patriot Love Foundation. The Foundation honors sacrifices of members of the Canadian Forces, veterans and their families.

Representing Durham, Ontario in Parliament, O’Toole was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal in 2012. A member of the Conservative Party caucus, he has served on Canada’s Veterans Affairs Committee.

Friday’s ride will journey 52 miles to the south, ending in the town of Perth, located along the Tay River.

Riders will depart their Ottawa hotel at 8 a.m., with the send-off ceremony at Parliament beginning at 9 a.m. Following remarks by O’Toole and World T.E.A.M. Sports leaders, the riders will begin their nearly 800 mile, two week journey to Washington, D.C.

Special Tandem Cycle Symbolic Representation of Freedom

By Richard Rhinehart

Ottawa, Ontario, June 19, 2014 – When Army veteran Steve Baskis and Victor Henderson set off from Canada’s Parliament June 20 at the start of World T.E.A.M. Sports’ 800 mile CanAm Veterans’ Challenge, they’ll be riding a unique road tandem provided by New York’s Swett Warriors.

Steve, an Army veteran blinded during a May, 2008 attack in Baghdad, is a self-described “adrenaline junkie” who is active in outdoor sports, including mountaineering, rock climbing, white water rafting and cycling. Owing to his loss of vision, he relies on his pilot, Victor, to pilot the tandem.

Steve Baskis and Victor Henderson Face of America finish.
Steve Baskis and Victor Henderson (second tandem from right) ride the “Freedom” tandem at the conclusion of World T.E.A.M. Sports’ April 2014 Face of America ride in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Photograph by Richard Rhinehart.

The bike was presented to Steve on June 15, 2013 in Elk Grove Village, Illinois in a presentation by Swett Warriors that included veterans and local riders. “I was warned of some surprise, but truly had no idea the gift would be a brand new set of wheels,” Steve recalled.

“There is a lot of symbolism behind it,” Victor reported of the tandem. In addition to the US Army logo and patriotic red, white and blue colors representing the United States and freedom, the bike includes the name of Staff Sergeant Victor “Chiko” Cota, who was mortally wounded in combat in the same 2008 attack that forever changed Steve’s life. The bike also includes the names of Manuel and Mireyaaime, Victor Cota’s children. Steve notes this represents the sacrifices made by military families.

“I feel all that and so much more when someone describes what the tandem bike’s paint job looks like,” Steve said.

Steve participated in World T.E.A.M. SportsSoldiers to the Summit climb of 20,075-foot Lobuche East in Nepal in October, 2010. This Military Initiative event was documented in Michael Brown’s 2012 film, “High Ground,” released by Stone Circle Films. Steve also has climbed Africa’s Kilimanjaro, Mexico’s Ixtaccíhuatl and Yosemite’s Half Dome. He also is active in skiing, kayaking, white water rafting, sky diving, hunting and archery.

The "Freedom" tandem bicycle.
The “Freedom” tandem bicycle, presented to Steve Baskis by Swett Warriors in 2013. Photograph courtesy Steve Baskis.

Marina’s Personal Cheering Squad to Encourage CanAm Riders

By Richard Rhinehart

June 18, 2014, Ottawa, Ontario – With participating veterans and able-bodied personnel on their way to Ottawa today for World T.E.A.M. Sports‘ inaugural CanAm Veterans’ Challenge, retired Army Master Sergeant Marina Libro is looking forward to the ride’s beginning at the steps of Parliament Friday morning.

Becky Brashears and Marina Libro
Becky Brashears, left, at World T.E.A.M. Sports’ 2014 Face of America ride, is Army veteran Marina Libro’s “personal cheering squad.” Photograph courtesy of Marina Libro.

Becky Brashears will be on hand in Ottawa to cheer on Marina and the other CanAm riders, and will also meet the team when they complete their ride in Washington, D.C. on July 4.

“All the other riders’ support folks and crowd support call her ‘the flag Lady,’” explained Marina. “She makes it possible for me to stay so focused on my riding and rehabilitation thru cycling.”

“I have TBI, PTSD, rods in my neck and back from fusions and repairs,” said Marina. “I have had broken bones in my feet and hands, tendons operated on in both hands and my right foot, bilateral knee surgery, an operation on my left eye, right shoulder. In 2002, I had a mystery virus attack my heart and lungs, and I had pericardial window surgery done.”

Marina Libro on her recumbent.
Marina Libro rides her ICE Vortex FS recumbent at the 2014 Face of America ride in northern Maryland. Photograph by Anna Quinn.

Riding an ICE Vortex FS recumbent, Marina said that cycling has become a major part of her life. “I have done 11 Ride2Recovery Challenges, six Warrior Rides, two Face Of America rides as well as multiple local single day community rides with my local riding club. I have also started a local chapter of Ride2Recovery’s Project HERO cycling program at my VA (McGuire VA) in Richmond.”

Calling Becky her “personal traveling cheering squad,” Marina reports that having her on hand helps her greatly. “Knowing she is behind me 100 percent enables me to give back 100 percent in volunteer time riding and raising funds and awareness for other ill, injured and wounded veterans and military personnel all over the country as well as continue to work on my own rehabilitation efforts.”