Having served more than 20 years in the Air Force and surviving a battle with cancer, Mike Sanders is no stranger to overcoming challenges. So it should come as no surprise that he, along with 13 other wounded veterans, recently finished a 3,700 mile bike ride across the United States, the Alaska Star reports.

The cross-country journey, part of the World T.E.A.M. Sports’ 2012 Sea to Shining Sea ride, brought together veterans from all walks of life, including soldiers who were blind or had lost a limb from combat. Despite the challenges, they made the arduous journey from California to Virginia, where they crossed the finish line on July 28.

For Sanders, the ride had a bit more meaning. He was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2007 and visited the hospital where he received treatment. The trip also opened his eyes to how much civilians appreciate his service.

"It was those people I wanted to go out and meet," he told the newspaper. "As I went across the country, I saw so much appreciation."

The ride, which kicked off on May 28, covered 14 states and took the cyclists through some rough terrain including Sierra Nevada Mountains and deserts in Utah.