Wounded warriors receive sendoff from vice president for their Ride 2 Recovery

Nearly 200 wounded warriors spent this Memorial Day heading off on a 360-mile bike ride called Ride 2 Recovery and they received a high-profile sendoff.

You can tell it is not a typical bike ride when it starts at the gates of the vice president's residence. These riders are special too -- wounded warriors battling visible and invisible injuries.

"I'm working through my PTSD," said Andrea Graham. "Depression is a terrible thing. A lot of us suffer from depression. Getting out here with other veterans help us cope through therapy and riding."

For the second year in a row, Vice President Joe Biden invited 175 veterans taking part in the Ride 2 Recovery Memorial Challenge to begin the 360-mile, five-day rehabilitative journey from his house.

"I see that resolve in your eyes," Biden said. "You still have that resolve. There's nothing that is going to allow any of you to give up. There's no quit in any of you. That is what makes you so incredible. That is what makes you so different than everybody else. That is why the country relies on you so much."

Some will make the trip to Virginia Beach on traditional road bikes. Many others will use hand cycle, recumbent and tandem bicycles to accommodate prosthetic arms and legs.

"If I can do it, a lot of other Vietnam vets can do it also, said Vietnam veteran Bill Czyzewski. "We need to get them out there. Don't sit back and just wait to die. Get out there and live.

"This is my way of seeing the country that I fought for. When I went across the country, that's one of the reasons why I wanted to do it -- because I wanted to see the country that I fought for.

"But there are over 58,000 names on a black wall that's behind me and they are helping push me up the hill and I'm riding for them and for every Vietnam veteran that is still hurting to this day."

Chad Doncaster said after 17 months recovering at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, this mental and physical challenge is part of fighting to get his life back.

"They say not a race, but you always try to race yourself and get better," he said. "In turn, it helps with your recovery. It definitely pushes you to work out and get better and try to get back to your real life. I have daughter at home, so I want to get better and get done and get home."

After a pep talk from the defense secretary and vice president, and commemorating the day with a group photo, these warriors headed out, ready and willing to take on their next incredible challenge.

Over the next week, riders will be making several stops in Manassas, Fredericksburg, Richmond and Williamsburg and organizers say they would love people to come out, wave a flag and cheer them on along the way.

Online:

ride2recovery.com

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