Today was the longest route day of the 2017 UnitedHealthcare California Challenge presented by Boeing featuring a 103-mile trek that began with an early start from Salinas and brought us into the wine country of Soledad.
Passing picturesque wineries and fertile vineyards, the riders all sporting new Boeing jersey’s, rode past Mission Union Elementary School, where we were cheered by students, teachers and parents before heading to our lunch in Greenfield. Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing, awaited us to ride the hilliest section of the day.
The route to our Lake Nacimiento perfectly embodied why we named these rides Challenges, because the miles that followed took us over some long climbs. After the first set of hills, we were rewarded with flat roads that lead us past Fort Hunter Liggett Army Base to our final rest stop of the day in Lockwood, which served as a useful break for our riders before we ascended more hills to reach our final destination at the Lake.
Today was Sponsor Jersey day, which this year gives us the opportunity to celebrate our wonderful sponsors Boeing and United Airlines.
Employees of both companies have joined us on several Challenges in the past and we are honored to have United Airlines and Boeing riders with us this year as part of the Project Hero family.
William Edwards is an avid cyclist who rides with the Boeing Cycling Team and has been enjoying his second California Challenge this year.
“I feel great!” he said. “This is a bucket list ride. It’s great to be back with all the brothers and sisters in arms. I love the experience and am looking forward to riding with Oceano Elementary School tomorrow and the American Legion dinner tonight. It’s the little things that make these experiences worthwhile.”
William, who served in the Army from 1996-2011 and was a Company Commander in Iraq, works with Boeing’s Global International Citizenship and Corporate Philanthropy division.
“These rides give our Veterans something to focus on and provide a way through the difficulties they face,” he said. “You see the things the riders do and what they’re able to do is really impressive.”
William’s message to those who need the support Project Hero provides is that “you can get through it, and the brothers and sisters with whom you have served are there for you here just like they were when they served. Give it a shot and you’ll be amazed at what you can do.”
Tomorrow’s route takes us from beautiful San Simeon into renowned Pismo Beach.
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