Disabled Veteran Empowerment Network Putting on a Sprint Cycling Competition to Help Prevent Veteran Suicide

MANHATTAN BEACH, CALIFORNIA -- Disabled Veteran Empowerment Network (DVEN) Announces the locations for the 2020 #Stressbuster Sprint Bicycling Championship.

The Disabled Veteran Empowerment Network realizes that COVID-19 social restrictions have raised stress levels all across the United States and halted almost all organized sports at the same time. To combat the stress and other mental health issues that this has caused, the Disabled Veteran Empowerment Network has created a year-long cycling competition based on the grand tour bicycling competitions in Europe. The competition runs from 1 August to 31 December. Cyclists have to ride the segments individually to comply with social distancing requirements. The top male and female riders in each USA Cycling age group will be awarded a custom “Sprint Champion” jersey along with a local press release. Anyone can register to participate at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/805084daba829abfc1-thesprint1

“This program is designed to help veterans dealing with PTSD cope with both the stress of PTSD and COVID-19 isolation through a six-month cycling training program,” said Robert Hess, DVEN’s founder. “I’m a combat veteran, myself, so I understand how the social isolation we currently are dealing with can exacerbate those emotions. Exercise is a great stress reliever and our Sprint Challenge offers a great reason to get out and ride.”

The 2020 competition includes six courses: Los Angeles; Hobe Sound, Florida; Leesburg, Virginia; Sausalito, California; Tenafly, New Jersey, and Barge Walk, England, United Kingdom. Participating is easy. Competitors register and then log their rides using the Strava.com platform. They can see how well they are doing compared to other riders in their age group. Hess describes it as a great way for those suffering from PSTD to get a momentary outlet from it and for other former military members that want to pay tribute to those veterans they know that are suffering from it. The latter can join the Vets Riding for Vets Strava.com club at https://www.strava.com/clubs/693054.

For those who are not familiar with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), it’s a serious mental condition that some people develop after a shocking, terrifying, or dangerous event. These events are called traumas. After a trauma, it's common to struggle with fear, anxiety, and sadness. It is also a mental condition that affects military veterans disproportionately to that of the general population. Experts say that veterans experience PTSD at twice the rate of the civilian population because of the sometimes emotionally significant events that they experience during their time in the military. This, unfortunately, has also led to a high rate of suicides among the military members that suffer from this condition; it’s estimated that some 22 service members take their own lives every day.

According to Hess, DVEN itself is a central information hub for disabled veteran support programs with their stated mission of making a meaningful difference in the lives of America’s disabled veteran community. They seek to accomplish this by providing information and resources to increase their safety and independence and to enable them to have the best possible quality of life. DVEN’s founder says that the list of resources and events they have managed to put together since the organization was first formed in 2019 is pretty amazing. The resources that they now provide include such things as information on Agent Orange benefits, assistance for those who suffer from PTSD in obtaining companion dogs, and many social support services. They also are active in providing information for their members on how they can get housing assistance, financial aid, or get a new career started. Hess says the most important resource that they offer is information for vets on how to contact several different suicide prevention hotlines that are staffed around the clock by experts in the field. In addition to the Stressbuster Sprint Bicycling Championship, DVEN’s founder says that they have also organized rally’s for disabled vets and put on the 'King and Queen of the Mountain' bicycle climbing competition.

For more information on the Disabled Veteran Empowerment Network, those interested can contact Robert Hess directly by phone or visit DVEN’s website at www.DVEN.org.


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