They’ve already ridden 1,206 miles, so what’s a few hundred more feet?
Unless, of course, it’s a few hundred feet uphill, near the rooftop of the Rockies.
And you’re blind. Or have lung problems. Or missing limbs.
“I never thought I`d be able to do this. I was ready to quit bunches of times but these people would not let me quit,” said Bill Czyzewski, who lost a leg in Vietnam.
They’re all wounded warriors, pedaling their way to the 11,990 foot summit of Loveland Pass Wednesday, on a two-month-long ride that’s taking them from coast to coast, across 14 states, and nearly 3,700 miles. The 2012 Sea to Shining Sea ride is organized by World T.E.A.M. Sports, a non-profit that organizes athletic events for disabled people.
“If I can make it through the mountains, rest of it is a cake walk for me,” Said Glenn Goulet, an Army veteran who served from 1980 to 1993. He was recently diagnosed with Valley Fever, an infection in his lungs. He has a mass on one lung, yet was brave enough to pedal through the thin Colorado air Wednesday, on one of the most difficult legs of the journey so far.
The idea is to prove disabled veterans can do anything they put their mind too.
“We don`t want to see vets depressed, so to speak, and laying around for their injuries,” Glenn said.
Larry Gunter is a retired airman who lost his vision at age 31. Now, with a little help, he’s reached the Continental Divide.
“Being blind, it gives me the freedom to get out, and feel the wind in my hair. It just gives me a little bit of freedom,” Gunter said.
Czyzewski says it’s his duty to push himself to the limit.
“I`m really a little disappointed in other Vietnam vets being that I`m the only one on this ride, and I`m the oldest on this ride at 63 years old,” he said.
After experiencing plenty of lows, for these guys, being up here on top of a mountain is definitely a high.
But their mission is far from over. They have several states, and another 2,500 miles to go. The good news? Now that they’ve reached the rooftop of the Rockies, it’s all downhill from here.
To learn more about the Sea to Shining Sea ride, click here.