Regardless of Partisanship, the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s Warrior 100K Serves to Inspire

All photos by Paul Morse.

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!

Check out many more photos on the event’s Facebook page, and go here for more information on the W100k.

Comments

Darwin - 05/03/11 - 10:51am

Partisanship? I’m a multi-combat tour Marine who has been wounded multiple times only to find out that George Bush lied repeatedly causing the deaths of many thousands of people. Including my fellow Marines. So don;t give me that C**p. He’s a war criminal. Anyone who participates in this ride or anything else under his name should be ashamed.

Chris - 05/03/11 - 10:59am

I am an Active Duty Soldier and dedicated mountain biker serving overseas. To see this article, with the wounded Soldiers riding with a prior Commander in Chief and Lance Armstrong brings great inspiration. Its time like this that I am proud to call myself an American Soldier!!!!

Great Article

Chris - 05/03/11 - 11:07am

@ Darwin- I am too a multi-tour Combat Veteran with tours in both Afghanistan x2 and Iraq x2. I too have lost fellow Soldiers in combat. Its WAR pal, I dont like it but it happens. Its the nature of WAR. SO BLOW IT OUT YOUR A**!!!! Your the one who should be ashamed

ZachOverholt - 05/03/11 - 11:30am

@ Darwin, first let me thank you for your service to our country, I don’t care what anyone says, that is commendable. Second, I tried to focus the article on the inspiring story of Military personnel who were wounded and continue to excel at home on bikes, sports, and life in general. Sorry if that message was diluted by who sponsored the event.

KGr - 05/03/11 - 11:48am

Very cool article Zach! Thanks.

Nick - 05/03/11 - 12:03pm

@Darwin – Sorry to hear about your loss. I am a wounded Marine Combat vet as well, and let me tell you something: I feel for you and your thoughts of betrayal, but Bush didn’t lie to us. I invite you to investigate the facts further, they really did think WMDs existed in Iraq – further more, Iraq was harboring terrorists and providing them aid. It is unfortunate that the free press took the WMDs tag-line and ran with it, but there were so many other good reasons for going into Iraq. There will always be those who don’t think we should get involved in military action for any reason. This is not a new concept, it has been happening since the dawn of our country – You had British sympathizers during the Revolution, you had anti-war sentiments in the Civil War, we got into WWI late because of our isolationist policies, and we were even going to get into WWII late if it had not been for Pearl Harbor. Also, look at the international treatment of Germany post WWI – it has direct ties to why Germany went on the march again in WWII. History is bound to repeat itself, but if we act sooner then we can control the outcome. Besides it was a kick-ass ride, I am the bearded guy in the blue jersey in the fourth picture.

P.S: @ZachOverholt – The message was not diluted, I can tell you it was very clear while we were there. The message was “Thank you”. It was the Associated Press and only them who kept bringing up current events and the war. The point of the ride was to highlight wounded vets, especially amputees, and how their love of cycling empowered their recovery.

Steven - 05/03/11 - 12:24pm

Thank you @Nick for putting it all in the proper context. This is very inspiring to me to see W and our wounded warriors riding together. W is the real deal. Actions always speak louder than words. Great photos!

darwin - 05/03/11 - 7:33pm

Newsflash; not all vets think the same thing on this and many other topics. Its very clear and very obvious that the intel over WMD’s was cooked. Plenty of vets don’t or can’t face the fact that they were lied to and their losses were for nothing. Or they just choose to remain ignorant because its easier than facig facts. Some turn to drink and drugs to avoid facing it. Ohers become hyperpatriotic to convince themselves the lies are real and be able to live with it. But its not just the lies that brought us to war that are Bush’s legacy. Its torture, internal repression, loss of international prestige, trillions of dollars and on and on. So if you can somehow deny all that despite the facts in front of your face then good luck to you.
So BR OP maybe now you know that Bush’s legacy means a lot more to many people than some minor disuptes. He has caused the greatest military, foreign policy,and budgetary disasters in this countries history. Iraq is more closely allied with Iran than us, Afghanistanshows no signs of ending, Being the sociopathic fratboy punk that he is well he’s just fine with that. Happy as a clam.
Hey Chris, your such a tough guy on an internet forum. I’m betting you work in the PX or some other REMF job.

Nick Steshko - 05/03/11 - 9:11pm

@Darwin – You are entitled to your opinion, as am I. I can face the negative aspects of our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. Honestly it sounds like you are the one who is choosing not to see the good. I agree that not all Vets see the war in the same way, nobody asks them too. However I have to point out, you are the one who is making hate-filled claims on this comment section, why is that? You are the one who responded first to this posting with nothing but hate and contempt for anything good that this ride was. The article doesn’t even delve into the politics of the wars, it barely scratches the surface with its title. So why are you so angry? Do you honestly think that former President Bush is some evil master-mind? Did you forget that there was bi-partisan support from the House and Senate for us to commit war in the two countries? I ask you to re-read your last comment, there is nothing but angry language in your posting – Does something good being done for disabled Vets insult you that much?

That’s all I’m going to say, I’m sorry if this event has hurt you in some way, and I’m sorry if I angered you. I was merely offering another side to the story, for as you said, not all Vets think alike – and well Brother, you and I do not think alike.

Semper Fi

Scarlet - 05/03/11 - 10:16pm

The books were apparrently cooked across three different administrations, based on the comments of Presidents and leaders from both parties. When in doubt, read and decide for yourself.

Pre-war: https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/iraq_wmd/Iraq_Oct_2002.htm
Post-war: https://www.cia.gov/library/reports/general-reports-1/iraq_wmd_2004/index.html

PS – the 2007 date at the bottom of the web site are the posting dates, not the publication dates

Chris - 05/04/11 - 9:36am

@Darwin – Your last post directed at me just goes to show how IGNORANT you are. There are nothing but civilians that work in the PX. My first two deployments to Asscrackastan, I worked as an Apache Helicopter mechanic. My two deployments to Iraq I actually flew the Apache in Combat. So I am pretty sure that I have more Kills in combat than you would even want to think about.

@ Nick – I like the way you think. And you just proved that not all Marines are just brainwashed morons. My brother was a Marine too and he was a pretty good dude!

Kovas - 05/04/11 - 10:04am

Regardless of where you stand on past & present policies and administrations, you gotta admit one thing – A thread like this is what makes America great. – Freedom to openly express your opinion, no matter what your stance may be. – I doubt you’d see a thread like this in places like Iran or China…

Being critical of one’s government doesn’t exclude someone from being a patriot.

- Thanks to everyone above for their service.

ZachOverholt - 05/04/11 - 11:22am

@Kovas, Well said.

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