George W. Bush Presidential Center
- On November 9-10, former President George W. Bush hosted the ninth annual mountain bike ride for wounded veterans.
- The yearly ride takes place on the Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas.
- After completing the ride, participants are considered members of —a group of wounded veterans that helps provide support and kinship to other veterans.
Since 2011, former President George W. Bush, an avid mountain biker, has been hosting a ride for wounded veterans. Every year around Veterans Day, he opens up his ranch for other mountain bikers for a two-day, 100K ride.
The Warrior 100K bike ride was first inspired by Sgt. Maj. Chris Self, who Bush met on a visit to the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in 2009, according to .
Self, also a mountain biker, had just received a specialized biking prosthesis on his leg, which was amputated after he was shot in the leg in battle. Bush invited him back to his ranch to mountain bike.
He was so inspired by Self’s impressive riding ability that he decided to create the W100K to host an annual ride for other wounded veterans who share a love of mountain biking, according to the outlet. The first ride in 2011 only consisted of two people, but has since grown, with over 90 veterans having participated cumulatively.
While all have been injured in war, some bare physical injuries, while others suffer from those unseen—brain trauma or PTSD, according to the .
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This year, 16 participants took part in the ride on Bush’s Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford, Texas, over November 9–10, the weekend prior to Veterans Day, according to .
“The ride shows the unbelievable character of our men and women in uniform,” the former president said in a statement given to Bicycling by the Bush Center. “It’s a ride to herald people who were dealt a severe blow and said, ‘I’m not going to let it tear me down.’”
Since its inception, the ride has moved around a few times, first taking place on Bush’s ranch, moving to Palo Duro Canyon for the second year, before shifting back on the ranch for the third year—where it has remained ever since.
Though each year brings in new faces, alumni are also welcome back. Capt. Kevin Rosenblum, who suffers from PTSD after two deployments to Iraq, participated in the 2015 ride and returned this year.
“They helped me zoom out to see the bigger picture, to help me realize this was much more than a bike ride with President Bush, and that we were joining part of something bigger,” Rosenblum told . “I wanted to pay that forward.”
Once veterans participate in the W100K or the Warrior Open (a highly competitive golf tournament), they are considered to be part of , which “showcases the courage, commitment, and resilience of these warriors and underscores the importance of sports as part of the rehabilitation process for our men and women injured on the front lines,” according to the . The group, made up of wounded warriors, provides an open forum for soldiers to discuss their struggles, and form life changing bonds with people in similar situations.
While the endurance ride takes place over just one weekend, the relationships and support between the veterans and the organization is ongoing.