AAR Wounded Warriors Weekend NYC June 2008

The Achilles Freedom Team had a grand time in the Big Apple this weekend. Three days of fun and excitement began with their arrival in New York on Friday which was reported on here.

The adventure continued for two more days:

Day 2, Prep and Excitement!

Day 2 of the Wounded Warrior visit to New York City was occupied with tuning up the wheelchair racers in preparation for Sunday’s race. Firemen and Probies from the Class of 2008 assisted Achilles Track Club members and the veterans with fitting and tuning the equipment. Park Avenue was closed so the racers could test their equipment. Of course there was some horseplay and mugging for the cameras. What red blooded American girl wouldn’t want to be held up by a bunch of FDNY hunks?

When everything was ready, the bus loaded up for the next item on the agenda. A fast ride on The Beast! Riding a huge speedboat in New York harbor has got to be an experience of a lifetime! Warning! You get wet!

Photos from Day 2 are here.

Also skip below to read Eva’s report on the ride itself.

Day 3, Race Time!

Day 3 started bright and early with a quick run in the Yankee bus to Central Park for the Hope and Possibility Race. Eagles arrived early and set up our flags with the able assistance and cooperation of the NY Road Runners Club who provided bases to which we could attach our poles.

The Achilles Freedom Team warriors arrived a few minutes earlier than their scheduled 7am appearance and started their preparations. Two color guards attended the race, one from the Army and one from the Navy Junior ROTC program, and a videographer from the Army. Then we all had to wait until the race actually began at 8:30, a half hour past the announced starting time. Among the runners was New York State Governor David Patterson.

With a shout the wheelchairs bolted from the starting line and raced off down the road on their five mile route through Central Park!

The thing that surprised me the most was how quick the wheelchairs could move in the hands of an experienced rider. The first contestants were across the finish line in twenty minutes or so. We moved to that area and cheered them on as they rolled in tired and happy!

There was another large team in the race called SOS (Support Our Soldiers) who came from New Jersey. Their distinctive red T-shirts were easy to spot in the crowd.

When everyone had come home across the finish line we packed up and rode back to the Union League Club for lunch, courtesy of U-Haul. A few of the Achilles Freedom Team athletes chose to ride their wheels back and had the unique pleasure of riding through Times Square and turning more than a few heads.

Kudos to everyone who helped make this a great weekend and event for our heroes; The Achilles Track Club, The Union League Club, U-Haul, Goldman Sachs, FDNY, Rolling Thunder, Nam Knights, Blue Knights and all the others I forgot to mention!

Photos from Day 3 are here.

Eva’s report on riding The Beast!

Saturday, 6.21.2008 — My most memorable, fun ride
with the brave, wounded Soldiers
The Beast
on the Hudson River

This Speed Boaat had big sharp teeth, gleaming green eyes and is hungry for speed

The 70′ long Beast is equipped with two 2600-horsepower engines.

Our captains name was “Mad Dog,” He was a lovable prankster, dressed like a pirate. He brought out different sizes of water pistols and kept squirting everyone with icy cold — thank God (fresh) water. Everyone sitting at the front of the boat got really wet. At one stage “Mad Dog,” came with a big container full of water and surprised someone at the front of the boat by pouring it over them. I think if that would have been me I would have fainted for sure. We all had so much fun that I didn’t notice the time go by. Usually the ride is about 30 minutes. We all would have liked to stay even longer.

We kept soaring past skyscrapers at a heart-pounding 45 miles per hour!
With over 90 speakers, Captain “Mad Dog” entertained us with popular music and we all kept shouting and laughing and singing along throughout the ride.
We were pounding over waves, at high-speed and enjoying excellent views of the New York City skyline and its famous landmarks.
We stopped for a close-up of the Statue of Liberty and a quick photo opportunity before charging back up he Hudson to the dock.

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