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Matt DeWitt

Army

 

Joining the U.S. Army in 1998, Matt DeWitt could never have imagined what would happen five years later.  As a Calvary Scout, Matt was part of the initial invasion into Iraq taking Saddam Hussein’s palaces.  Next he was patrolling in Khalidiyah  when a rocket propelled grenade changed his life forever. Matt lost both of his arms below the elbow in 2003.

After six months at Walter Reed Medical Center, Matt headed home to New Hampshire to figure out what to do next.

He did have one objective: to ride a mountain bike again.  A former competitive mountain biker, Matt had won his share of races in high school. But, this was going to be a different ballgame.

Fast forward to November 2011.  After an introduction to John Wordin and Ride 2 Recovery (R2R) via Northeast Passage, Matt set off for the R2R Las Vegas Veterans Day Honor Ride.  He thought the 40-mile ride on a road bike would be an easier way to get back into cycling.

“Getting on this road bike after riding mountain bikes for so long, I thought it was great!” said Matt.  “I went out like a rocket but coming back wasn’t so easy.  Scotty (Moro) pushed me part of the way back.  No one has pushed me since.

“Shifting and riding in the pack were the most challenging aspects of getting back into cycling again,” he said.  “But this year is much better.”

With electronic shifting and braking modifications to his bicycle, Matt has continued training and rode the 333-mile R2R Minuteman Challenge in September 2012. He topped that by completing Newton’s Revenge (mountain) Bicycle Hill Climb on Mount Washington in New Hampshire, the highest peak in New England.  He has since “knocked out a couple of centuries with plenty of hills added in.”

Now, Matt has set his sights on the Leadveille 100 – a 100-mile moutain bike event across the high-altitude, extreme terrain of the Colorado Rockies.  He will train on the mountains of New Hampshire and then join others on the R2R team a week prior to the race to acclimate to the altitude and test out the race course.







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March 22 - 29, 2014 - Houston - Fort Worth, TX

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Challenges are multi-day events that cover 350-450 miles. A Challenge will push the participant to their limit, both physically and mentally. Paid participation in a full Challenge ride includes hotel housing, limited rider support, luggage transportation (70lbs max), daily route guides, marked course, rest stops, snacks, meals. There may also be nighttime entertainment on selected evenings. You may also participate in any single day of a Challenge event.

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The Honor Rides Series raises awareness and is the funding arm for Ride 2 Recovery and gives the public the opportunity to ride with healing heroes and enlisted military on a non-competitive, fun ride. Close to 20 Honor Rides will take place throughout the year, with varying distances from 10 to 100 miles. All funds raised through the Honor Ride Series support Project Hero programs throughout the US.

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Ride 2 Recovery’s Project HERO (Healing Exercise Rehabilitation Opportunity) provides training and supports cycling programs at military hospitals and VA locations to help Healing Heroes overcome obstacles they face.Project HERO has proven the effectiveness of group riding in the rehabilitation of injured servicemen and women. Cycling is an important part of the recovery and rehabilitation program.

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January 26-29, 2014 - Las Vegas, NV

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March 4-8, 2014 - New Orleans

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Special Events are meant to provide a rehabilitative experience for Healing Heroes that is similar to Ride 2 Recovery’s Challenge Series but in a unique location with different and distinctive activities. Generally, these events require advanced fitness and abilities compared to the Challenge Series.

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Project HERO Holds Fifth Training Camp

Ride 2 Recovery’s Project HERO (Healing Exercise Rehabilitation Opportunity) held it’s fifth cycling Training Camp April 10-14, 2014 in Tampa, FL.
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Cyclist Stories

Juan Carlos Hernandez

“When I ride my bike, I feel relaxed. Free. It’s as if nothing else in the world mattered,” says Juan Carlos Hernandez, a retired E-4/Specialist, Chinook Gunner Crewman, U.S. Army. “It helps keep my mind clear and focused. Riding my bicycle has dramatically helped me with my walking and my quick recovery; it has not only helped me physically but also mentally.”
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