Bike Ridin’ for the Cause

jc-bike-ride-pic-1One of the main reasons I love my job is to have the privilege of being involved in all of the fun happenings at my company, Beacon Health Options. Don’t get me wrong; there is a LOT of blood, sweat and tears that go into each event, but I’m lucky to be part of it all. The Awesome Beacon Bike Ride is a perfect example.

From the moment I first heard about the bike ride, I knew I had to do it. Mind you, I had never ridden more than maybe 10 miles in my life, but was determined to prove I could do this. My wife and I are active people, often biking around the oceanfront where we live. As the course was plotted, we selected the right one for us, from Colonial Williamsburg back to our office in Chesapeake, VA. Over the next few weeks, we tried to get out there and ride as much as we could, getting up to about 20 miles.

When we explained the ride to our friends and family, everyone overwhelmingly supported our decision to accomplish a goal, but even more importantly, to benefit two great mental health awareness and advocacy organizations, NAMI and Mental Health America.

I was somewhat nervous knowing that the ride was 53 miles, and we hadn’t accomplished even half of that yet, but we pressed on. Coincidentally, our ride would fall two days after our second anniversary, which we celebrated in the wonderful city of Chicago. We came home about 10 pounds heavier, but that wasn’t going to stop us. The more I thought about this event, my excitement and questions grew by the day. Would we get tired? How fast would the pack go? Would we stop at all, and would I be able to walk the next day? When we explained the ride to our friends and family, everyone overwhelmingly supported our decision to accomplish a goal, but even more importantly, to benefit two great mental health awareness and advocacy organizations, NAMI and Mental Health America. We have learned to talk to others about stamping out the stigma and how Beacon carries that as our mission.

Get up and go

The morning of our ride was overcast and windy. Departing early from the gates of Colonial Williamsburg, we set out on the Colonial Parkway, a beautiful stretch of historic road that weaves its way through the coastal marshland and passes by the Yorktown battlefield. As we hustled down the old and sometimes rough roads, I couldn’t help but think about the battles and men and women who walked this land hundreds of years before us. A history nerd, this was all pretty special to me.

The experience I’ve gained from this event is worth more than I can process at the moment. I feel lucky to have been part of this great endeavor, and have learned some things about myself through the process.

As we approached the Norfolk office, we were greeted by many coworkers and friends who were genuinely excited to see us and, of course, to eat the pizza lunch. This is where I felt the most gratification, seeing the smiles and talking to the people I see on a daily basis here in Norfolk. A lot of folks said to me, “I had no idea you were a cyclist!” and I replied that I wasn’t, but now I think I can add it to my resume. Once we had our fill of pizza and high-fives, we continued through the gauntlet of Military Highway to our Chesapeake office, which was only about 6-7 miles away. We even had some beach cruisers with us! Everyone hung together in a nice pack, and we arrived there in no time.

More than a ride

The experience I’ve gained from this event is worth more than I can process at the moment. I feel lucky to have been part of this great endeavor, and have learned some things about myself through the process. I don’t plan to become a competitive cyclist (I’ll leave that to my friend Laura Cook), but I do look forward to my next long ride and hope that it’s for an equally important cause. Even without a cause, the experience and camaraderie gained from something like this is hard to match.

I ask that we take the excitement and all that we learned from this year and build on that for next year. Hope to see you all out there!

 

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2 Comments. Leave new

Great, Job, John (and all the riders)! I’m so proud to be a part of the Beacon family. This ride only services to reinforce our commitment, individually and collectively, to Stamp Out Stigma associated with mental health and substance use disorder issues.

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John, you are an inspiration to us all my friend!

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