I thought it was high time I share my beginning of this amazing journey we are on. Although the idea for our nonprofit started as ideas in our separate imaginations over a year ago, it was my taking a chance and saying yes to an invite for a long distance bike tour that brought everything together for us.
Since January 10, 2014 I have been riding my bike…starting from Austin,TX to Jacksonville, FL. (Well, that was the original plan) 1,400 miles! When I made the decision to attempt this ride I had no idea if I could do it. I’m not a cyclist. I’ve been a runner all my life, with periodic spurts of fitting in a bike ride whenever I could, and a little commuting around Seattle in mostly my immediate neighborhood. I knew I would be in good hands riding with my friend who had invited me on the tour. David is an ex pro-racer, recent professional cycling tour guide all over Europe, and a genius when it comes to applying his engineering degree to bike mechanics.
That’s all good and dandy, but could I keep up? I’ve done some remarkable things physically in the last year; hiking 6 peaks in 6 weeks, 1/2 marathon, Tough Mudder… But this wouldn’t just be a one day event. I didn’t know if I could make it, but I did know one thing for sure, taking on the challenge and grueling long days on a bike, no matter how difficult the weather or terrain, was easier to face than waking up to more gray rainy days in Seattle. Easier than waking up to another day of unbearable anxiety and depression.
At least I would have the distraction of just making it from point A to B. David made promises that we would start off with “short” 50 mile days, and after a surprisingly easy conversation with my boss and clients, I bought my ticket. I had just three weekends to prepare for my trip. Thank goodness Jeremiah happens to have raced on mountain bikes and worked in a bike shop in the past. I learned everything I could from him in those weekends, especially bike maintenance. I snuck in a few rides to test out my legs, the longest being 47 miles. I was whooped and my knee hurt, but I was already committed.
That was only the first of many challenges over the coming weeks. Putting my bike back together at the airport, food poisoning my first night in Austin, followed by my first days being 75, 87, and 80 miles long. I’m not gonna lie, David pushed me up almost every hill! Learning to trust and follow someone else when I am used to being the personal trainer, is especially hard when you aren’t sure if your body might shut down at any time.
Well, I made it! I guess it worked out pretty darn well because after just two weeks into the trip I started to realize I was feeling much better. My anxiety was almost completely gone, and I was more than happy to hop on my bike and take on the challenge and adventure of each new day. Now, 7 weeks later, I’m back in Florida on a completely new adventure. I canceled my ticket out of Jacksonville and am riding my bike all the way back to Seattle. I also rode my bike solo 350 miles down to Fort Meyers. Jeremiah was easily talked into joining me, and I am fundraising to be able to afford the ride as well as starting my very own non-profit to help others with depression. I am on a mission!
Please check out our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/rideabovedepression as well as my own for all the fun pictures and details…and if you support what we are all about, please make a donation so we can continue to make it all happen!
With Love and Sunshine,
Elise & Jeremiah