Local 'wounded warrior' to ride with Pres. Bush

April 22, 2011 4:49:40 PM PDT
More than a dozen wounded warriors are about to take part in a special ride where they'll spend time with former President George W. Bush. One man from Houston is going along for the ride. "I hit six or seven IEDs myself personally, while we were in country. I almost hate to talk about that because the guys that I serve with hit that and then some. And some didn't come home," said Bryce Cole.

Cole considers himself blessed. He's married with two children and a good job. You'd never know the 32-year-old spent a year in Iraq and suffered life-threatening injuries.

"I was one of the more fortunate people who've ever been injured in combat," Cole said.

Medically retired, he stays connected to the military and charities that helped the wounded. It's that connection and a love of mountain biking that has afforded him a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"To be able to spend time with somebody who has been such an influential part of our history is just really exciting," said Cole.

That somebody is former President Bush -- he's joining Cole and a dozen other soldiers on a 100 km ride across Texas' Big Bend.

"I've been training pretty hard since I've known about this. I think that's probably the biggest thing that I'm nervous about is just that competitive soldier mentality -- it's like I don't wanna be the last guy. I wanna win this race," Cole said.

President Bush is a big supporter of rides like this. In 2008, one such wounded warrior ride left from the White House. He greeted every single participant.

Cole says he has lots of questions for the former president and he knows that this is a chance so many others would love to have.

"There's a million other guys out there that are injured soldiers and way worse off than I am, and I'm just really thankful to be able to have this opportunity," said Cole.

The group of soldiers will be riding with the former president for three days. They begin the trek on Monday and will finish on Wednesday.

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