President Bush, Wounded Veterans, and Lance Armstrong mountain bike Lajitas

Former U.S. President George W. Bush, seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, and U.S. Army Major Sergeant Major Chris Self (from left to right, above) held a press conference this morning in Lajitas. Along with 13 other wounded veterans, the trio just completed the last leg of a three-day, 100 kilometer mountain bike ride on the trails of Big Bend Ranch State Park and Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa.

As part of the W-100, sponsored by the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the W100 highlighted the bravery and physical strength of the warriors wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as those organizations that have made continuing commitments to supporting America’s heroes.

While in his 25th year of active duty with the U.S. Army serving in Iraq, Self sustained gunshot wounds to both legs. After one bullet severed the sciatic nerve, paralyzing his right leg, the limb was amputated.

Bush said he wanted Americans to know two things: “If you’re thinking about your problems, think about these guys,” and “Laura and I love our troops. “

Prior to the press conference Bush told the Gazette, “This ride was shorter than yesterday, and I’ll tell you how it was different: today we had Lance Armstrong riding. So I just finished a ride with men and women who lost a limb and are dedicated. Lance is a great American. Now we’re here in the Big Bend of Texas.”

Former President George Bush led the pack as they returned to the Barton Warnock Center in Lajitas (above). Mike Long (center, front, in red shirt) and Crystal Albright of Terlingua-based Desert Sports provided guide services to the group.

Bush described the ride as “awesome” and enthusiastically endorsed Lajitas as a great place to mountain bike and golf.

For more of our conversation with President Bush, pick up a copy of our May issue, available on newsstands next Monday, May 2.

(John Waters, photos)

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