The “Awe” in the Awesome Beacon Bike Ride

bike-ride101716Now that segments 16 and 17 of the ride have concluded, it is a pleasure to look back and consider the monumental task that was accomplished by the great many exceptional people involved in seeing this through. The word “Awesome” describes it well in a variety of ways.

I’ll admit that I was one of those among us who, at first, simply allowed those earliest Beacon bike ride emails to go right on by unnoticed. But, as is the case with many great ideas, once passionate people jump in, their passion spreads. In particular, it was Laura Cook who provided the personal touch and invitation I needed to pay closer attention. By the end of the ride, I had a new understanding of camaraderie, health and advocacy.

The awe was renewed, as I pedaled the country roads of just one small portion, enjoying the quiet confidence of knowing where we were going, but not knowing exactly where we were.

I remember thinking “Hey, this is my company, and wow, there are people here with initiative to do things far greater than just the visible work of the day.” I knew what an effort it would take to see something like this through, and I was pleasantly surprised (and maybe a little skeptical) to get involved.

I am so glad I did. Did I mention that I really enjoy this kind of thing? I quickly jumped on board and began to plan the two days of riding I would have. I shared the details with those I knew, and managed to recruit my wife, Yulia, first to accompany me in the support van, and my coworker, Danita. Danita then recruited her husband, Raphael, which rounded out the foursome we had for the first day. We covered 90 miles that day, concluding with a fantastic post-ride dinner on the shores of Lake Gaston.

One pedal at a time

This was not the longest ride I had done in a day, but by the time I would complete day two, it would be a record. Health and camaraderie clearly well realized throughout this day!

I can revel a bit in the awe that comes from overcoming something difficult myself and from being a part of others overcoming the ride’s difficulty.

I had the next day planned and looked forward to being joined by Larry Earle for a portion of the ride, and to have Katherine Townsend, both from the Morrisville office, accompany me in the support van. I also learned that evening that Emma Stanton would be joining me as well for the day. I met Emma the next morning, and we set off for the day’s adventure…78 miles, a few insignificant navigational errors, Larry joining us to guide us into the city, and… a bit of a bike wreck with under a mile to go. (Thankfully, no lasting damage, other than to Emma’s bike, but as I understand it, she was repaired and back in the saddle the very next day).

As I consider the awesomeness of this bike ride, a number of inspiring experiences stand out. I felt a bit of awe when I first grasped the scope of the ride itself, and again, as I considered the amount of planning and effort that went into it. The awe was renewed, as I pedaled the country roads of just one small portion, enjoying the quiet confidence of knowing where we were going, but not knowing exactly where we were. I felt awe in the cheers I heard from a family picnic, as Danita and I crested a hill, and awe in the cheers I heard from our Beacon family upon arriving to the Morrisville office. And finally, I can revel a bit in the awe that comes from overcoming something difficult myself and from being a part of others overcoming the ride’s difficulty.

I am certain, that for me, this is where the advocacy portion of the vision of this ride resides. Mental illness is difficult, the stigma associated with it is difficult, and being healthy can be difficult, but all of these are able to be overcome through ambitious ideas, passionate people, camaraderie and a willingness to seek out and enjoy the ride – whatever that may be.

 

 

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