What Is Seminole Cyclefest?
Several years ago some military veterans and their friends, while on a bike ride, were discussing the application of cycling for the physical and emotional recovery from the trauma experienced by their comrades. It was also observed that your “first responders” were also affected by some of the same stresses as our veterans. Some of the original organizers had been involved with other similar efforts but none of these venues offered an approach to specifically serve the local or regional community. Thus, the seed for the first of the series of Seminole Cyclefests was sown.
Seminole Cyclefest 2013 is the fourth annual event in the series and the sixth overall. A unique set of circumstances offered Seminole Cyclefest the opportunity to develop a ride like none other in Florida. The element that allowed for the creation and sustaining of this unique ride was the support the organizers were offered from the ‘Seminole County Sheriff’s Department’. This Department is staffed to a high degree with former military veterans. Also, the Sheriff’s son was serving in the US Army in Afghanistan at the time. This support manifested itself in the form of a fully escorted ride through the streets and picturesque roads of Seminole County with stops for only fluids and snacks at the fully staffed and fortified sag stops.
Unfortunately, around the time of the second event, two tragic events happened within months of each other. First, the Sheriff’s son, ‘Donny Eslinger’, received life threatening wounds from the explosion of a roadside IED. After several years of treatment and recovery, Donny was released from the US Army to continue his recovery. The second tragic event was the loss of Deputy Matt Miller in the line of duty while attempting to apprehend a motorist the day after Christmas. The loss of Matt was especially poignant for all involved with Cyclefest, since Matt had been one of the motor patrol deputies who had voluntarily served as moving escort for the past events. These two tragedies have been the motivating force behind each year’s event since their occurrence.
As the event has grown, the event has garnered support from medical groups, equipment suppliers, law firms, and the cycling community. Therefore, it has been able to expand its beneficiary list to other Seminole County institutions. This year we will again be supporting ‘Kids House’ in its service to children from troubled homes. New to this year’s list will be the “Seminole County Heroes Memorial” being planned for the grounds at the municipal complex in Sanford.
Participants in this year’s event will be able to ride with some of the US Marine Corps Cycling team and several National champions in their individual competitions. Riders might find themselves riding next to and among bona fide American heroes.
Seminole Cyclefest’s affiliation with WIRED (Warrior: Integrating-Reconditioning-Educating-Developing) Athletes, a 501c(3) national organization offers it access to veteran cyclists over the entire country. By way of WIRED Athletes, veteran cyclists are exposed to coaching, support, specialized equipment, and encouragement to overcome losses in mobility and emotional trauma.
For a truly unique and uplifting experience, join with citizen cyclists from Central Florida in their support for the men and women who offer themselves to service so that we can all live in security and freedom. Visit the website at: http://www.SeminoleCyclefest.com for additional information about the event and to register for the ride or support its chosen beneficiaries.
Register at - http://www.seminolecyclefest.com/register
Routes are - http://www.seminolecyclefest.com/routes
Please remember this is not a show 'n go ride - you've got to register for the event in advance!