Eight wounded and injured soldiers cycled across Britain last weekend as part of their final preparations for an American coast-to-coast ride next month, the Race Across America (RAAM). Included in the team was Simon Harmer (35) from Kings Worthy whose wife Marisa used to teach at Shakespeare Junior School in Eastleigh.
The endurance ride allowed the team to practice with their support crew over a high-mileage cross-country route before they start their 3051 mile route from east to west coasts of America in June 2012.
Raising money for Help for Heroes, Team RAAM consists of four double amputees riding in handbikes and four cyclist taking part in upright bikes. Each rider in the Help for Heroes team has either been wounded on operations or injured training for operations.
The team were set off by the Mayor of Lowestoft, Cllr Tod Sullivan, at 8am on Saturday May 5 and were welcomed at the finish point, St David’s Head, by the Mayor of St David’s, Cllr Chris Taylor, at 5pm th efollowing day.
Over the two days, the team covered 417 miles with a total ascent of 10,000 ft.
The cyclists passed through Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Powys, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire.
The team is led by Jonpaul Nevin, who was previously an Exercise Rehabilitation Instructor at DMRC Headley Court and now heads up the Rehab team at Tedworth House Recovery Centre. Nevin says:
“This ride was deliberately designed to challenge the team so they can prove what they can achieve ahead of the RAAM. We were able to test the equipment and capabilities of the whole team over a sustained period of time which is vital when undertaking an intense long-distance activity such as RAAM.
“Sport and physical activities are a key part of rehabilitation for people who have been wounded or injured. The RAAM is an incredible challenge for any cyclist, let alone a one who has been severely injured. It is a great way for the blokes to develop a positive self-image and outlook on life”
Those who will make up the team include Marine Don Maclean, Sergeant Simon Harmer, Staff Sergeant Steven Arnold, Mr Mark Allen, Marine Joe Townsend, Private Steven Richardson, Captain Rupert Smedley and Private Jamie Hull.
Sgt Harmer an army medic had only been married for three months when he lost both legs after stepping on a land mine while serving in Afghanistan.
He has not let his injuries stop him from lading anything other than a full life and recently became the father of a baby girl.
Text RAAM to 70900 to donate £5 or leave your message of support and donation at www.bmycharity.com/battlebackraam2012. You can also keep up with the latest news from the team via Twitter (@BB_RAAM2012), Facebook and at www.helpforheroes.org.uk/raam
The team are hugely grateful to all their sponsors including SNR Denton, Airpartner, Endura, Sat Com Global, Schwalbe, Scott, Torq Fitness, Ultimate Sports Engineering , Under Armour, Kask, Beyond the Beaten Track, and SATMAP whose support is ensuring our wounded heroes are able to take in this challenge of a lifetime. Last year’s RAAM winners, Team Strategic Lions have also played a huge role in mentoring Team Battle Back, with their expertise gained from taking part in the race last year.