WEIRTON - Anyone who has kept themselves from doing something because they felt it was impossible may have wanted to watch the roads of the Tri-State Area in recent days.
More than a dozen bicyclists traveled through the area over the weekend, stopping in Weirton on Sunday while on a cross-country trip. What makes this trip even more impressive is that almost all of the participants are disabled military veterans.
"Everyone on this ride has some form of disability," spokesperson Kimberly Warpinski said.
ON THE ROAD — The riders made their way into West Virginia Sunday, crossing over the Veterans Memorial Bridge from Ohio. They will be traveling to Pittsburgh today, where they plan to take a day off before trekking across Pennsylvania. -- Contributed
The Sea to Shining Sea ride is a two-month, coast-to-coast trek which started in San Francisco on Memorial Day and is scheduled to conclude in Virginia Beach, Va. July 28. It is presented by State Farm Insurance and organized by World T.E.A.M. Sports, a national non-profit organization which creates inclusive events for both disabled and able-bodied participants.
This year's trip includes disabled military veterans who have fought in wars ranging from Vietnam to Afghanistan.
Among those veterans taking part this year is Larry Gunter, an Air Force veteran from Alabama. Gunter also happens to be blind.
Gunter explained he had been contacted by Maj. Van Brinson, a retired Marine who is now chief operations officer of World T.E.A.M. Sports, about the possibility of taking part in the ride.
"It's really a challenge and an adventure," said Gunter, who is making the trip with the assistance of a pilot to steer his bicycle.
He said he hopes his experiences during the trip can help to serve as an inspiration for people to face their challenges in life, or to simply get involved in some kind of project or activity.
Gunter said among the memories he has had from the trip are traveling through the Lake Tahoe region, and riding through the Loveland Pass in the Rocky Mountains where they reached speeds of 62 miles per hour.
Gunter is one of two blind participants in this year's ride. Of the 12 other veterans taking part, Warpinski said two have recently completed cancer treatments and a third will be starting chemotherapy after the trip is completed.
Warpinski said she has been amazed to see the group come together during the trip, bonding, making friends and working together to accomplish their goals.
"It's really a team effort," Warpinski said. "It really helps show the public what can be achieved."
The team will be traveling to Pittsburgh today, where they will be able to take a day off before heading through Pennsylvania and reaching Washington, D.C. July 21.
(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes, or followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)