The second segment of the 2007 Soldier Ride High-Desert Challenge, a cycling event to support severely injured members of the U.S. armed forces, will kick off on Sept. 26, 11 a.m., at the U-Haul International corporate headquarters in Phoenix. The event, open to the public, acknowledges the sacrifices made by soldiers and raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization committed to expanding and promoting the field of veterans advocacy. U-Haul will match all donations.
Special guests at the opening ceremony will include Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, representatives from the Wounded Warrior Project, the United War Veterans Council and local congressional dignitaries. Attendees will also enjoy a performance by the United We Sing Troop (USO girls) of New York City.
At noon, soldier riders and U-Haul staff will cycle to Sun City, Ariz. The next day, the soldiers will ride cross the desert, through the Hoover Dam, toward Las Vegas. There they will attend a ceremony in their honor and make a grand entrance at the Interbike Cycling Industry Trade Show. On Sept. 28, they will ride from McGhies Outpost in Blue Diamond toward Red Rock Canyon.
Soldier riders are outfitted with a bike, modified according to disability, and any necessary prosthetic adaptations. Organizers work with experts at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to ensure participants receive the appropriate equipment, which cyclists may keep for personal use after the event. U-Haul donates use of its trucks and trailers to transport equipment for the race.