Photo Gallery | Riders Trek Through Red Rock for Challenge
Dozens of cyclists navigated hilly dirt and rock trails in the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on Monday morning during the inaugural Ride 2 Recovery Blue Diamond Mountain Bike Challenge.
The three-day event began today the Blue Diamond Bike Outpost. Each day, the riders will take different routes through the Cottonwood Valley North section of the conservation area based on their riding ability, and completion times will vary. There will be about three hours of riding daily with a lunch stop provided by the USO Canteen.
The Blue Diamond Mountain Bike Challenge is free to members of the military and is made available as part of injured veterans' rehabilitation programs. The riders are provided with bikes to use, mechanical support, food, lodging, transportation and extracurricular activities. Ride 2 Recovery also helped customize bikes to allow injured veterans to participate in the ride. You can watch the riders or contribute to the cause at www.ride2recovery.com.
This event builds upon the successful Ride2Recovery cycling program, which typically holds multiday, long-distance road bike treks of up to 550 miles.
"Though we have been staging road bike challenges for four years with our veterans, this is the first year for a mountain bike event," said John Wordin, president and founder, Ride 2 Recovery. "Our riders have been asking for a mountain bike event almost from the beginning, and we now have the opportunity to do that in Las Vegas. This community is very supportive of the military and Ride 2 Recovery, plus the weather in Las Vegas is great in January."
To celebrate the veterans' service to America, MGM Resorts will provide the riders with complimentary dining and room accommodations, including breakfast and a three-night-stay at Mandalay Bay Resort, and a special dinner provided by The Pub at Monte Carlo Resort and Casino.
"We can never tell those who have risked their lives to protect our country, 'Thank you' enough," said Jim Murren, chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International. "We hope that the hospitality we extend to these cyclists demonstrates how deeply we value all of America's service members. We're honored to host and humbled to play a part in helping our veterans on their journey home to recovery."
Ride 2 Recovery and MGM Resorts have worked together for the last two years to bring veterans and their families to Las Vegas for Veterans Day festivities. In previous events, Ride 2 Recovery injured veterans participated in road bike challenges and were hosted for a variety of extracurricular activities at MGM Resorts properties.