Long-distance veteran bike ride provides physical, emotional healing

More than 100 military veterans and first responders are riding their bikes more than 500 miles on a journey of physical and emotional healing.

The Great Lakes Challenge is organized by Project Hero, who works to help veterans and first responders affected by injuries or PTSD.

The group finished up their second day of riding by stopping in La Crosse this afternoon after starting the day in Rochester.

Organizers say the long-distance ride allows the riders to talk with peers about things they experienced that they can’t talk about with anyone else.

“These are experiences that we can talk about and we can try to encourage each other to try to either get past them, if that’s the right word, or to live and grow from them,” said Sherri Smith of Project Hero.

The entire ride is scheduled to last 8 days. They’ll take off from La Crosse Wednesday and ride more than 80 miles to Reedsburg. The group is expected to finish outside of Chicago on Monday.