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Ride 2 Recovery: Day Three

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This blog post is part of the "The Impact of 9/12," series, which focuses on those who were inspired to give back after the tragedies of September 11, 2001. Ride 2 Recovery has committed the week to biking from Ground Zero to the Flight 93 crash site to the Pentagon, to raise money for wounded veterans.

Tuesday got off on the right foot as former Philadelphia 76er Charles Barkley came out to ride with the healing heroes. Everyone had to stand next to him to see just how big he is.

His participation in the first 25-mile segment was a real moral boost to everyone. He is larger than life and as kind and talkative as everyone sees on television. He made it all the way to the Lockheed -Martin rest stop where he was cheered on by all of the employees lining the road. The employees had come out to cheer the warriors and were able to visit with them during the stop.

The Ft. Knox WTU is one of the more successful Project HERO programs. Commanded by David Haines, himself a healing hero, they have developed a cycling program with lots of regular participation. It has seven riders on the ride with two individuals that have really stood out during their time on the R2R Challenges.

Arnold Bayani first came to ride with R2R in April 2011 on the Texas Challenge. Arnold began cycling just this year as part of Fort Knox's Warrior Transition Battalion program. In Texas, he improved daily: learning how to ride in a group, clipping in and out of the pedals, and learning proper nutrition on the bike. Arnold returned to Ft. Knox with a new appreciation for cycling and what it could do for him both mentally and physically.

He became a regular in the training program and quickly upped his mileage. Arnold has lost 40 pounds. Arnold's attitude inspires others to persevere and to commit to making lifestyle changes that improve mental and physical health.

Another success story is Tim McGill who suffered several different physical injuries during deployments in Iraq including a spinal injury from an improvised explosive devise. He rides a recumbent bike and has progressed to the point where he is considering racing.

He is thinking of trying out for the Warrior Games and is always in the front group. He is one of the most spirited riders on the ride, always the practical joker and wisecracker.