Lincoln County is a big county, and our residents have big hearts. In looking back over the year, Curt Wildemann from Pioche is a prime example of that with his Ride Across America tour he did from June to August of this year for the Wounded Warrior Project.
Wildemann resides on Mount Wilson and was once a long-distance, marathon runner. After a hip replacement, he preferred cycling to running. He enjoys donating his time to charities, and the Wounded Warrior Project took him up on his offer to bike across America, raising donations that go directly to the WWP.
“I never served, but my two other brothers did. This was a way I could give back,” said Wildemann. He gave back by biking from Astoria, Ore. to Virginia Beach, raising more than $6000 for WWP.
He had started working on the project in January of this year, and was fully involved developing the project, from deciding what charity he would ride for, the creation of the website, to registering the event and sending out all the information, postcards and letters to raise interest.
Eight other individuals joined him for the cause from all over the country, and also included a rider from Canada, and from London. Four individuals completed the journey that took 64 days and went at least 4,000 miles. The group averaged 60 to 80 miles per day.
“We camped 58 nights,” he said, “and that’s a lot to set up and break down your tent that many times.”
The group did manage to take a day to visit Yellowstone National Park. “I’ve never been there before,” he said, and the group managed to take their support vehicle through the park.
“We crossed the Continental Divide 13 times,” said Wildemann, the final time being a highlight of their trip, as they were at an 11,539 foot elevation at Hoosier Pass in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado within the first leg of their trip.
“Not even the Appalachians [Mountains] had an elevation like that,” he said.
Wildemann used a route provided by the Adventure Cycling Association, termed the TransAmerica Trail, which lays out paths across the states that are near towns with amenities to people who are interested in having adventures in cycling. “A lot of this country is closed,” said Wildemann. The benefit of Adventure Cycling is that they provide contact phone numbers, hotel and restroom locations, campgrounds, and other such necessities, on a trail through towns and cities that aren’t vacant or closed. Riding with an active soldier, usually the campgrounds would offer them to stay overnight for free to help them with their cause.
The Wounded Warrior Project is celebrating a “decade of service,” aiding those who have fought in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars from the early 2000s. Most of their assistance is with getting soldiers new prosthetics for amputees and providing family support.
“It’s a different kind of war nowadays,” said Wildemann, explaining that most of today’s wounded vets don’t suffer from the same wounds as our soldiers from wars in the 1900s did. “We have better [medical] equipment these days,” he said, and there are new weapons of destruction, such as road bombs.
Wildemann shared that this would be his last trip going across the country. Yet, he still is planning his next adventure to raise money for a charity. He thought maybe he could find a route along just the Pacific or Atlantic coasts.