Capital One Joins Face of America Ride To Honor The Military
The cycling challenge brought together adaptive and able-bodied athletes on a ride from Arlington, VA to Gettysburg, PA
In late April, roughly 400 cyclists — including 75 adaptive riders — took part in the “Face of America: Gettysburg” cycling challenge from Virginia to Pennsylvania to honor America’s active duty and veteran military members. Hosted by the national nonprofit organization World T.E.A.M,, both non-disabled and adaptive athletes pedaled upright bicycles, recumbent bicycles, and hand cycles to cover 106 miles from Arlington to Gettysburg. Athletes who participate in the annual ride span across all military service branches, with many having visible or invisible wounds, illness, or injuries from their time in service.
Capital One associates and others take part in the 2023 Face of America: Gettysburg Cycling Challenge. Left to right: Andrew Brkic, Doug McDevitt, Bill McDevitt (Team Captain), Jason Morgan, Mike Pestorius, Chris Yarger, Nadirah Rene-Phillip, Riley Pestorius, Robert LaRock, Bilal Mustafa, and Thishan Hettiarachchi (Team co-captain).
The nonprofit World T.E.A.M. Sports has long held events for athletes with developmental disabilities and non-disabled athletes alike since the late 1980s, with the mission of fulfilling extraordinary challenges in a non-competitive setting. In 2002, the Face of America challenge was specifically designated as a “moving memorial” to the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks with participants riding 277 miles from New York City to Arlington. The current iteration of the Arlington to Gettysburg route has been in place since 2005, with community residents annually coming out to cheer on riders at various rest stops in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Among this year’s inspirational participants were Mary Pat Corrigan — an animal massage therapist based in Virginia — and her canine athlete Tara, who was born with three legs. In 2023, Corrigan and Tara raised about $16,500, more than double what they raised in 2019 when they first joined the ride.
“During our Face of America ride in 2021, an athlete played tug of war with her and she blew him away with her strength,” said Corrigan. “She literally pulled him across the parking lot. This year, other wounded warriors called out to her at the rest stops to get hugs and kisses from her. In particular, one warrior with Post-traumatic stress disorder told me that Tara has such a calming energy. Her inspiration to people is the fact that she lives her life with full determination and has the heart of a lion.”
As in previous years, the ride’s end destination was Gettysburg. “There is a specific profound and solemn feeling you get when you descend on such a significant place of American sacrifice,” explained World T.E.A.M. Sports President and CEO Jon Brideau. “There’s no better feeling than when you come over that ridge and descend on the monuments. Everyone gets real quiet and you’re just overcome by what you can take in at the speed of a bike as opposed to what you can observe from a car.”
Other notable riders included Greg LeMond, former professional road racing cyclist; Colonel Gregory Gadson, USA Retired (also starred in the movie “Battlefield”); and Brian Mitchell, former NFL Running Back and current co-host of BMitch and Finlay on WFAN.
Since 2013, Capital One has sponsored the nonprofit World T.E.A.M. Sport’s Face of America rides, with dozens of associates either handing out refreshments or participating as riders themselves. That includes Cafe Coach Nadirah Rene-Phillip, a first-time Face of America rider who was thrilled to take part in the well-organized ride.
“The adrenaline rush from riding 87 miles gave me such a sense of accomplishment especially when we crossed the entrance into Gettysburg,” said Rene-Phillip. “This was no easy feat but as a novice cycler, I’ve wanted to be a part of a bigger cause and this was such a fun way to stay fit along the way and push myself alongside people I admire so much.”
“We couldn’t do the Face of America ride without the Capital One team,” added Brideau. “The company not only supported us financially, but the associates came out to greet people at various rest stops and it just means a lot to our riders to know that they have support along the way.”