It was a soggy start to the Ride 2 Recovery Texas Challenge Day 5 from Waco to Cleburne. More than 200 injured and healing servicemembers and veterans took the road on their bicycles in the windy, rainy conditions.
The misty moisture and eventual rainfall made for slick roads and dampened spirits during the first 33 miles of the nearly 70 mile ride.
The group stopped for lunch at Whitney High School and that brightened the day, as did the sun. After lunch, the temperatures heated up as the cyclists took off for Cleburne. Along the way, the challenge riders stopped at Rio Vista School where they attended a pep rally complete with an elementary school choir, a high school band, and plenty of cheering students and teachers.
One of those cyclists who inspired the schoolchildren, and who's become an inspiration to all of the R2R cyclists and family, is retired Navy SEAL "Kimo." Kimo, as the Hawaiian native is affectionately called, retired after 17 years in the Navy. He suffered a severe stroke a few years ago, leaving paralysis and he lost most of his ability to communicate.
Photo by Tiffini Skuce/Ride2Recovery
Kimo is a fighter. Kimo is a Warrior. Kimo is a SEAL. And, he's not letting anything stop him from moving forward.
Kimo is new to R2R and this is his first challenge; in fact he just started cycling a few months ago using a hand cycle - and only using his right arm. That's right! He has already cycled nearly 400 miles using ONE hand. He completed his first 100 mile "century ride" on Tuesday, and he's still rolling strong.
Thursday night, Kimo was recognized, not only for his service to our country, but for the inspiration he has given all of the riders on this Texas Challenge. He is one of the happiest people on this journey, always smiling and showing his spirited emotions using his arm and the limited words he can speak.
Photo: Veronica Landry/KTSM
At a dinner inside the Cleburne Convention Center, Kimo received a standing ovation from the crowd of cyclists, local dignitaries, and football greats Tony Dorsett, Hank Baskins, Felix Jones, and Charles Haley. Kimo began crying out of happiness and excitement for the recognition. He signed to the crowd, "Thank you...I love you...and Praise God." There wasn't a dry eye in the building.
On Friday, Kimo will once again lead the way - this time from Cleburne to Arlington, with a lunch stop at AT&T Stadium (Cowboys Stadium) before wrapping up the R2R Texas Challenge in Fort Worth.