A homeless veteran from Snoqualmie Valley is challenging himself to complete a 2,700 mile bike ride to raise awareness for disabled veterans.
Tour Divide's billed as a "battle royale," challenging bicyclists to ride the Continental Divide from the Canadian Rockies to a desert in New Mexico.
In Snoqualmie Valley, David Sorrentino is training for the June race. For the homeless, disabled veteran, the long journey is about more than crossing a finish line. Sorrentino says the bike ride is about challenging himself and inspiring others.
"I bought a bicycle and I started to pedal my way back to recovery," Sorrentino recalled.
Sorrentino says he is a veteran who served in the U.S. Navy from 1980-86. He adds that he re-enlisted in the U.S. Army after the terror attacks on September 11.
He says he suffered long term injuries while serving in the Army, and today he's found many doors closed.
Sorrentino says employers have told him, "we can't hire you or we can't put you in this position, because you have this rating that says you are disabled."
With no job and little money, Sorrentino is in a place he never thought possible.
"Homelessness is tough," said Sorrentino. "Homelessness is real tough."
He says he's struggled with homelessness for nearly a year.
However, Jeff Scott, co-founder of SnoValley Velo Club, wasn't introduced to a homeless, disabled veteran. When they met, Scott had no idea about Sorrentino's story. Scott was just inspired by him.
"I am going to show other vets that even if we are disabled it doesn't mean that we are not able," said Sorrentino.
That's his mission, and Snoqualmie is his training ground. Sorrentino is getting ready for Tour Divide, a 2,745 mile ride from Banff, Alberta to Antelope Wells, N.M.
Map: Tour Divide route
He says the spine and neck injuries he received during his military service bother him, but on a long bike ride he is able to focus on pedaling and not the pain.
As he gets ready for the race, he rides all day and sleeps in shelters or camps at night.
"I'm ready to do everything and anything it takes," said Sorrentino.
Scott is helping Sorrentino train. There are also local fundraising efforts to help pay for expenses related to the race.
Tour Divide begins in June, and Sorrentino hopes to complete the more than 2,700 mile journey on July 4.
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