Wounded Warriors gather for 14th annual bike ride in Miami Beach

MIAMI BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Dozens of veterans gathered for the annual Wounded Warrior bike ride in Miami Beach.

A busy Ocean Drive was even busier Thursday morning. The Wounded Warriors drew a crowd as they packed the street for their 14th annual Wounder Warrior Project Soldier Ride in South Beach.

“It really helps, especially after being injured or going through what you go through in the military; being around everybody here really makes a difference,” said Jennifer Caudillo.

This is Caudillo’s second ride, so she’s feeling more comfortable this time around on the hand-cylce. She was injured in her Air Force training five years ago but just got her amputation five months ago

“It was just a bad incident, didn’t go well,” said Caudillo. “Life is a thousand times better. I’m getting my confidence back. I’m getting back on track with everyone here with the support systems.”

That system was on full display for the start of the three-day cycling event. The first part wrapped up already: a nine-mile ride to Marlins Park.

“We’ve got over 50 wounded warriors here, couldn’t be happier,” said Kick Krause of the Wounded Warrior Project. “I mean, look at the support we’ve got. We’ve got over 100 police officers escorting us today.”

For some of the participants, the excitement was there but signing up and showing up wasn’t easy.

“I’ve been through a lot. I was nervous about being around all the people,” said Army veteran Leslie Graham. “I was nervous about — because of my injuries — whether I’m going to be able to make it, but I think I need this.”

For these wounded warriors, this was much more than a ride.

“You see the team-building, the camaraderie that comes around over the course of three or four days together,” Krause said. It’s unbelievable. You see people literally changed forever.”

The group is next headed to the Keys where they will do an additional ride in Key West. In that ride, members of the public will be able to join them.

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