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Correction: In the original posting of this article as well as the print version, it incorrectly stated that the Face of America Liberty event would be Sunday. It is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 8. The Examiner regrets the error.
About 50 bicyclists and adaptive athletes are expected to make a grueling 50-mile trek this Saturday through Westchester and Putnam counties and onto the West Point Military Academy.
The Face of America Liberty cycling challenge will feature veterans, including those who have been disabled, current West Point Cadets and citizens to honor active and retired military members.
Ride Director Jim McCauley said the veterans, particularly those who wheel themselves for 50 miles in trikes, area an inspiration to countless others.
“I’m a Vietnam veteran. The courage, the heart, the stamina of these people,” marveled McCauley. “If you get killed, you get killed, but if you lose your legs, you’re still alive and you have to go on with life. These people, men and women, do it and they do it with smiles on their face. They’re an inspiration.”
The national nonprofit organization World T.E.A.M. has organized the Face of America challenges throughout the country for more than 20 years. There have been longer multiple-day challenges including a Washington, D.C. to Gettysburg run and others at meaningful sites throughout the country.
This is the fifth year that the ride to West Point has been held, but the first time since 2019. McCauley said this year the route has been altered and will be going through Chappaqua for the first time.
The challenge starts this year at Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow at 8 a.m., heads north on Route 117 through Mount Pleasant, New Castle and Mount Kisco, McCauley said. Following the first rest stop at Northern Westchester Hospital, the participants head north to Yorktown for their next rest stop at a parking lot across the street from Yorktown Imaging on Commerce Street.
Next, the athletes will head west to Route 9 in Cortlandt and Peekskill, up into Putnam County onto Route 403, then over to Route 9D, before traveling south to cross the Bear Mountain Bridge before moving on to West Point. A third and final rest stop will be at the Garrison Volunteer Fire Department, McCauley said.
The circuitous route in northern Westchester and Putnam was needed to avoid what is commonly referred to as “the goat trail,” a two-lane road that extends from the area near the Annsville Circle in Peekskill to the Bear Mountain Bridge.
“Because we have the guys on trikes, we have to try and limit the steepness of hills, we go through all the back roads and we end up coming out and we go north to the Garrison Volunteer Fire Department,” McCauley said.
The event is expected to feature Col. Gregory Gadson, a West Point graduate and more than 20-year field artillery officer who lost two legs in Iraq in 2007.
McCauley said all of the participants need to stay in great shape in order to complete the route.
“This is one thing, then, like all of us, you have to keep training,” he said. “You have to stay in shape. You can’t just go out and do a 50-mile ride.”
Organizers are still welcoming volunteers to help at the rest stops. To volunteer or to learn more about the Face of American Liberty rides, visit https://wtsevent.org/foaliberty/support-our-cause/volunteer/#form////y
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/