Ride 2 Recovery Texas Challenge day 6: team work makes the dream work

Ride 2 Recovery

POSTED: Friday, March 28, 2014 - 8:33pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 9:40pm

Friday was the sixth and final day of the Ride 2 Recovery Texas Challenge. The group of more than 200 cyclists rode their bikes 64 miles from Cleburne to Fort Worth on the warm, sunny, spring day, completing their 450 mile journey.

The trek started with a helicopter escort into the town of Keene, where scouts and schoolchildren served breakfast to the riders and R2R staff; the day ended with lunch at the AT&T Stadium (Cowboys' Stadium) with some of football's greatest legends.

The R2R cyclists were joined throughout the day by a who's who list of celebrities, including a team of NFL greats such as Tony Dorsett and Andy Frederick.  

  Photo by: Tiffini Skuce/Ride 2 Recovery 

Also on that VIP list, a man well-known to many of the R2R riders, GEN (Ret.) George Casey, former Chief of Staff of the Army.  The retired four-star general spent much of his time with a young couple, Jose Miranda and Cindy Rodriguez.  

They share a special relationship that has developed during R2R Challenges over the past years. 

Miranda, a former Sailor, lost his leg in 2004 after a terrible accident involving an airplane on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, a Navy aircraft carrier.  

Initially, Miranda's leg was crushed in various places and he required several surgeries.  But, after a series of procedures and subsequent infections, including a severe bone infection, Miranda underwent three amputations, all on the same limb.  

He recalls undergoing 46 surgeries within three years, and three of those surgeries were for amputations. Now, Miranda's leg is amputated above the knee.

But, that doesn't stop him from doing something he loves - cycling.   

Since Miranda medically retired, his primary job is to attend doctors' appointments and therapy throughout the week.  But, he also gets plenty of miles in on the road, riding his bicycle.

Miranda credits cycling for helping him with his overall wellness. "I still take some medications, but since I started cycling, I'm not taking as much," said Miranda.  

He started out riding, using a hand-cycle; but that all changed last year.  GEN Casey attended the same R2R challenge with Miranda last fall.  Miranda said that during that challenge, Casey was given a new bicycle from R2R as a token of  appreciation for his continuous support of the program.

But, Casey took the bike, turned to Miranda and donated it to him. Casey challenged the Pasadena, California native to learn to ride an upright bike, and he's done just that.  With a new prosthetic leg, Miranda completed the 450 mile Texas Challenge on Friday, with Casey cycling next to him for much of the day. 

And, Casey certainly isn't the only supporter Miranda has.  Miranda's girlfriend, Cindy Rodriguez, from Los Angeles, also trained and rode the challenge in honor and support of him.  

Photo by: Tiffini Skuce/Ride 2 Recovery

The R2R Texas Challenge was her first challenge and she plans to participate in more of them.  It's something the couple shares together and it's a place where she sees her boyfriend enjoying life, pushing his physical limits, and improving his overall health.  

It's also a time Miranda can enjoy being with his comarades.  "I feel accepted here.  I feel normal," said Miranda.   

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