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ARTICLE Injured Veterans to Cycle 450 Miles From New Orleans to Tallahassee for Gulf Coast Ride 2 Recovery Cycling Event

TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 20, 2012) – More than 200 cyclists including injured veterans and their supporters will set off on Sunday, March 4, on the Ride 2 Recovery Gulf Coast Challenge sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, a seven-day, 450-mile ride from New Orleans to Tallahassee.


Gulf Coast Challenge cyclists will start their journey at Hyatt Regency New Orleans and ride along the coast into northwestern Florida with overnight stops in Gulfport, Miss.; Mobile and Orange Beach, Ala.; Fort Walton and Panama City, Fla.; and finish in Tallahassee Friday, March 9. On Saturday, March 10 in Tallahassee, Ride 2 Recovery will stage its first "Honor Ride," which invites the public to join the participating veterans for a day of cycling. See the Ride 2 Recovery website for daily stops and events along the route or to sign up for the Gulf States Challenge.


The USO will support daily rest stops with a mobile canteen, and the American Legion Family 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.


Ride 2 Recovery supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs for injured veterans, featuring cycling as the core activity. From indoor spinning training at military installations to multiday, long-distance rides, Ride 2 Recovery helps injured veterans heal through the challenge of cycling long distances using hand cycles, recumbents, tandems and traditional road bikes.


"The Ride 2 Recovery Gulf Coast Challenge helps support important health programs for men and women who served our country, and we are honored to be able to serve them through this sponsorship," said David Lewis, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual of Florida. "Exercise and rehabilitation services are critically important to help injured veterans enjoy a return to the health and well-being they richly deserve. We look forward to riding beside them and embarking on this Challenge."


This is the third 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.


"One of the best qualities of cycling is that practically anyone can participate," said John Wordin, president and founder, Ride 2 Recovery. "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."


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 psychological 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.