Dean Zenoni is a 24-year USMC retired Master Sergeant who served honorably throughout the United States and across the world including four tours in Iraq, and deployments to Somalia, Haiti, Cuba, Liberia and numerous other locations. Zenoni is riding the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) to draw attention to healing through exercise, and time in nature for our combat wounded, ill and injured.
Currently, he is spending retirement with his wife, Dr. Lorri Zenoni, touring the country helping raise money for Semper Fi & America’s Fund and is biking from Canada to Mexico this summer. They started on June 11 and hope to finish the ride on August 11.
On July 18, the Zenonis came through Salida, on day 38 of the ride. Zenoni has kept a log via Facebook throughout the journey and explained “We left Hartsel before 6:30 a.m. and traveled on another gorgeous backcountry Colorado road towards Salida. Very few cars and amazing country. We rode over 50 miles and 2,800 feet of climbing today.”
With multiple injuries, surgery and trauma, Zenoni looked for a way to manage his pain and stay connected with his service brothers. He was introduced to cycling as a form of healing and therapy through his connection to a wounded warrior battalion.
He went on his first bike ride — a seven-day jaunt down the coast of California — and was hooked. While he had to soak in an ice bath every evening to ride the next day, he was motivated to keep pedaling to ride with his brothers and sisters and challenge his body.
Cycling was an activity that he knew would challenge him, yet not aggravate his injuries. Zenoni has participated in multiple events with team Semper Fi and the Semper Fi & America’s Fund to connect with his fellow brothers and sisters including participation in snow skiing, swimming, and triathlon events with Team Semper Fi.
He has found that keeping fit allows him to manage his pain levels and improve his sleep and mood. He understands that recovery is a lifetime process and cycling helps to keep his recovery moving in a positive direction. He also wanted to find a way to give back to the organization that has been so instrumental in his recovery while also improving his own health.
“We arrived in Salida with an Arts Festival going on. There is a river park downtown and people of all ages are utilizing it as a swimming hole and wave park.” said Zenoni. “We went to lunch at Amicas and had pizza and Ahi tuna salad. We then went to both local bike shops and the grocery store, while picking up dinner for later.”
“We are truly grateful for all the publicity of our epic event. We keep getting notices of donations from people we meet along the way. People are generous. All to bring awareness of the importance of nature and movement for our combat wounded, ill and injured.”