May 22 2013 Latest news:
By DAVID BLACKMORE
Saturday, June 16, 2012
An inspirational soldier who lost both his legs in Afghanistan is gearing up to take part in the world’s toughest cycling race.
Steven Arnold, a staff sergeant with the Royal Engineers, is one of eight injured servicemen who will be taking part in the coast-to-coast Race Across America (RAAM) for Help for Heroes.
The 32-year-old, originally from North Lynn, had both legs amputated above the knee after he was wounded in an explosion last year. The race will start in Oceanside, California later today.
“This is a huge challenge for me but we’ve trained hard and I am looking forward to it,” Staff Sgt Arnold said this morning.
“We’ve had an amazing amount of support from the public, friends and family back home which means a lot to know everyone is thinking of us back home.”
He added: “The RAAM will give me the chance to prove to others and myself what I can achieve.
“Help for Heroes has helped me and others get back into an active lifestyle which is vital for our recovery“.
The team is made up of four other double amputees, including staff Sgt Arnold, who will complete the race on a hand bike. There will also be four upright cyclists as well as an 18-strong support crew made up of mechanics, physios, medics, drivers and navigators.
The riders will cycle non-stop for eight days clocking up 3,051 miles, travelling through 12 states and aim to finish by the weekend
The team completed a 355-mile cycle ride last month as a part of their race preparations by cycling from Lowestoft and finished at St David’s Head in Pembrokeshire.
“The practice ride went really well and it was great to get the whole team together for the first time,” he continued.
“We will be crossing The Rockies, so it was good to get some practice in Wales. They say hills kill hand bikes but technique is very important and if you get in the wrong gear it’s over, even on the flats.”
Staff Sgt Arnold, a former King Edward VII School pupil, was hurt in a bomb blast while on operations in Afghanistan in April last year and joined the team in November.
The team hopes to raise £100,000 in sponsorship or the charity.
Text RAAM to 70900 to donate £5 or leave a donation at www.bmycharity.com/battlebackraam2012.
You can also keep up with the latest news from the team via Twitter, Facebook and at www.helpforheroes.org.uk/raam.