One lake area man recently embarked on an adventure that led to him finding himself on a road bike for the first time. This bike was to take him from colonial Boston across Long Island and to finish in Philadelphia.
James Lefrancois was medically discharged from the Army in 2008 due to a back injury. Since being discharged, he tried his hand at law enforcement but his injury kept him from continuing that career, as well.
Lefrancois then felt lost. He wasn't quite sure where his place was. He described himself at that time as being in a rut. Then he heard about an organization call Ride 2 Recovery.
Ride 2 Recovery was founded in 2008 to be a program to offer cycling as an alternative therapy to veterans PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) as well as physical injuries. Now, the organization has four programs including challenges, honor rides, project HERO and special events.
"This is better than sitting in an office and on a couch feeling sorry for myself," Lefrancois said of the program. "It's a recovery I just can't explain. It just helps so much."
Sept. 7 through the 15, he participated in the Minuteman Challenge which Lefrancois described as challenging.
"I have been in pain but at the same time it has helped me emotionally," he said during the week of the challenge. "It's been very therapeutic for me. Even though I'm injured I can still do things."
Lefrancois added that being around other veterans, some with greater injuries than his own, has been encouraging.
"It's just been a great experience. I can't wait to do another one and to get home, get on a bike and train for another challenge," he added.
Lefrancois and the other 199 participants will ended their challenge on Sept. 15. He then came back to his home of five years in Camdenton just in time to start training for his next challenge.