They race over the hill; more than 200 wounded warriors strong–finishing a week-long journey that is more than just a bike ride.
“We are here for therapy, in a good way,” said former soldier Robert Ferrera.
“The best part is the camaraderie, the good times we had together,” said former marine Michael Frazier.
Frazier and Ferrera never served alongside each other in war, but now, they ride together.
They were partners for the 350-mile “Ride 2 Recovery” that started in DC, and ended in Virginia Beach.
“It’s veterans helping veterans, veterans not forgetting about veterans,” said Frazier.
“We love helping each other out, it makes us feel whole again,” said Beatriz de los Santos, a local Fort Eustis soldier, going through medical retirement in the Wounded Warrior unit.
She joined the cycling program to help her get over hip surgery.
“I saw how good it was for my hip, but not only my hip, mentally as well,” said de los Santos. “Being around everyone here makes you feel normal, regardless of your injury or mental condition.”
While Beatriz and Robert are still able to ride regular bicycles, Michael and many others who have lost limbs ride hand cycles or tandems.
“This puts me in a position where I can go fast, feel the wind through my hair so to speak, and just feel great about myself,” said Frazier.
“We are out there motivating each other to get up the hill. There are some big hills we went up, and he was huffing and puffing just as much as I was, but we aren’t going to give up,” said Ferrera. “Being here, I feel like I’m still in. We have that brother hood, that bond,”