March 7, 2018
After yesterday’s heavy rains, today’s 70-mile trek from Ft. Walton Beach to Orange Beach featured cool temperatures and sunny skies.
Despite fighting strong cross winds on today’s journey along the white sand beaches and blue waters of the Gulf, the riders enjoyed the flat roads of the Gulf Coast region. A highlight of today was lunch at Blue Wahoo Stadium, the home of Pensacola’s AA minor league baseball team.
We departed the stadium riding along the tree-lined highways leading into Alabama and beautiful Orange Beach and finished the day at the Perdido Beach Resort, where the employees lined the driveway and cheered us as rode in.
Our dinner tonight was hosted by Wahlberger’s and the OWA Amusement Park in Foley. At the dinner, we we were joined by special guests including Foley City Councilman Ralph Hellmich, and Eddie Tullis, DeWitt Carter and Bobby Campbell, members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Tribal Counsel.
At each of our Challenges, there are many riders who inspire us. Kevin DuBois is one of those with us on this year’s UnitedHealthcare Gulf Coast Challenge.
A native and resident of Rhode Island, Kevin is a Marine who served five years and was deployed twice to Afghanistan. He was injured in 2011 and as part of his recovery, he was introduced to Ride 2 Recovery while at the Balboa Medical Center in San Diego, CA.
“I started riding as soon as I they would let me, as soon as I could get on a bike,” he said. “It was a big part of my recovery because it kept me active and healthy. I love the freedom of cycling.”
As a long time Project Hero participant, Kevin has seen our organization mature. “The staff is amazing and things run smoothly,” he said. “The comradery at Project Hero is amazing and I really appreciate everything Michael Manning has done for me.”
Kevin has enjoyed this year’s Gulf Coast Challenge and even after today’s windy ride is feeling good. “I’m sore and it was a battle,” he said. “But I’m ready for tomorrow.”
Kevin also encourages others to ride with us. “It doesn’t matter what level or experience of rider you are,” he said “They’ll get you on a bike and you can suffer with the rest of us!”
We are glad Kevin has chosen to ride – and suffer – with us on the 2018 UnitedHealthcare Gulf Coast Challenge and we look forward to riding many more miles with him in the years to come!
Tomorrow our route takes us 74 miles from Orange Beach to Mobile.
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