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ARTICLE Injured Veterans to Cycle 270 Miles Through Central Minnesota for 2011 Ride 2 Recovery Great Lakes Challenge

MINNEAPOLIS (Aug. 16, 2011) – More than 200 injured veterans and their supporters will set off on Aug. 23 on the Ride 2 Recovery Great Lakes Challenge sponsored by UnitedHealthcare.


The five-day, 270-mile ride to support rehabilitation for injured veterans will begin at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System facility and end at the American Legion National Convention Aug. 27 in Minneapolis.


Ride 2 Recovery, in partnership with the Military and Veterans Affairs Volunteer Service offices, offers service men and women mental and physical rehabilitation programs that feature cycling as the core activity. From indoor spinning training in Warrior Transition Units to multiday, long-distance rides, Ride 2 Recovery helps wounded warriors recover through the physical and mental challenge of cycling long distances.


The Ride 2 Recovery Great Lakes Challenge cyclists, including veterans using hand cycles, recumbents and traditional road bikes, will start their journey in Minneapolis with overnight stops in Red Wing, Rochester, Northfield and Minneapolis.


This is the second year that UnitedHealthcare is serving as Ride 2 Recovery's presenting sponsor, providing financial, in-kind and volunteer support to assist in the rehabilitation of America's injured veterans. Joining UnitedHealthcare are new supporters Deloitte, BAE Systems, Monster Energy and American Airlines.


"The Ride 2 Recovery Great Lakes Challenge helps support important health programs for the men and women who serve our country, and we are honored to work with them through these cycling events," said Forrest Burke, CEO, UnitedHealthcare's Public Sector, Government, Labor & Education Markets. "Ride 2 Recovery enables injured service men and women to regain their physical, emotional and spiritual strength as they recover from the visible and invisible scars from their time served overseas."


"Anyone can cycle. We adapt bikes for the injured veterans so they can once again find the physical and mental outlet, whether alone or in groups. As they rebuild strength and conditioning, they are also healing the effects of post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and depression. Cycling is a powerful therapeutic exercise that they can continue to do for the rest of their lives," said John Wordin, president and founder, Ride 2 Recovery.


Notable participants of the ride will include Ride 2 Recovery spokesman and Purple Heart recipient Ret. Sgt. Nathan Hunt, Ret. Sgt. 1st Class Mike McNaughton, Ret. Lance Cpl. Chuck Sketch, Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Nathan DeWalt, and other wounded veterans who served in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.


The USO will support daily rest stops with a mobile canteen, and the American Legion will provide a motorcycle escort and sponsor dinners and community events. The public is encouraged to gather along the daily routes to support the cyclists.


About R2R
Ride 2 Recovery, a 501(c) 3, helps injured veterans improve their health and wellness through individual and group cycling. Cycling has proven to be a catalyst in the recovery process by providing a new physical challenge while concurrently helping to cope with the mental challenges.


About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.