All right, regardless of what party you affiliate yourself with, it doesn’t change the fact that George W. Bush is a mountain biker, and subsequently one of us. In these uncertain times, there has been undoubtedly no lack of military conflict, and unfortunately as a result, no shortage of wounded service men and women.
In an attempt to honor these brave men and women who have been seriously wounded in service in Iraq or Afghanistan, the George W. Bush Presidential center sponsored its first event of the Social Enterprise Initiative, and held the Warrior 100K ride. President Bush and even Lance Armstrong joined 14 wounded soldiers this past weekend in a 100K ride through Big Bend State Park, which is of course in Texas, home to both Bush and Armstrong.
Any one of these men and women would serve as inspiration to most on their worst day, and to see them all together, even holding Lance’s wheel, despite the fact that many of them have been force to use prostheses, is pretty special.
Check out some great shots of the ride from Paul Morse, including some of the coolest prostheses I’ve ever seen, after the break!
Obviously, the 100K ride wasn’t finished in a day, and in fact was stretched out to fill 3 days of riding total. One of the days even featured a ride with Lance Armstrong, who as one of the riders puts it in the video, “Popped out of wedding closet,” to surprise everybody. Here, Lance and W lead out the troops, with W aboard his Trek Fisher Collection Superfly 100 and Lance of course aboard his Trek Top Fuel.
Sadly, there is no shortage of soldiers who are now in need of prosthetic as a result of injury. Many of these warriors were actually cyclists before they were deployed, and their resolve to get back on the bike is commendable. Patricia Collins, who is shown above, is a distinguished paratrooper who has been deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, it was after she returned from Iraq that she was actually struck by a car while riding her bike which caused the loss of her left leg. Not only did her injury not keep her off the bike, it also didn’t keep her from redeploying to Afghanistan in 09-10. Awesome.
Prostheses to me are one of those things that you hate to stare at, but given the fact that I love anything mechanical, I am fascinated with their construction and design. The W100 saw some incredibly tough athletes, with some of the most advanced bio-mechanical aids I have ever seen. This one gets some serious style points, with a menacing skull molded right into the carbon fiber grip.
Yes, that is a Fox Float rear shock built into one of the most rad, and probably functional prostheses I’ve seen.
It certainly doesn’t seem to slow this soldier down, or keep him from smiling. Notice the cord attached to his left arm, which must serve as a quick release from the handlebar.
For anyone wondering how W actually is on a mountain bike, according to the soldiers interviewed in the following video, he’s apparently pretty good. This photo seems to validate that statement: eyes forward, focused, and not paying attention to his arm that looks to be bleeding!