When one embarks on a journey of any kind, the unknown can become your friend and ally. Imagine waking up one day in a place previously unfamiliar to you. Immediate feelings of shock and fear pulse through you… until, you draw the curtains wide to see a beautiful sunrise. Behind you a door opens to set of stairs that takes you onto a dirt road in front of the building. As you emerge, the warmth of the sun feels familiar, the birds rejoicing in the dawn sound like the ones you remember and the smell of the dirt is reminiscent of a road you have walked before. A comfortable feeling washes over you and the tension in your neck subsides. However, the straight road in front of you disappears into the horizon to your left and to your right with each route beckoning you. Faint images of civilization appear almost as mirages on both horizons. So, which way to go? The decision is decidedly difficult with your mind playing games the whole time. In the end, with so little information and apparently so much at stake, you decide to take the road to the right and whatever comes with it as though you have faith this path will result in what you’re looking for. But what ARE you looking for? Safety, security, nourishment, shelter… people? So, now your fear has turned to a purpose. What WILL affect the outcome is your attitude. Will you drag yourself along bemoaning the predicament or, will you treat this strange circumstance as a new adventure to explore and experience moment by moment? You are unaware but the unknown that lies ahead will be the catalyst for a new chapter in your life. Every step you take down the road takes you closer to it and the chance to live life in a way that only you can choose. You must recognize the real threats are not the environment you’ll encounter along the way or the things lurking in the bushes you’ll pass but rather the things that may be within you – doubt, pessimism, and lack of will. Your body and mind are capable of much more than you realize. With a Positive Outlook in your back pocket , you can and carry the weight of the challenges ahead. You have a Team within you lead by a Resolve to ‘get there’. Other members of your group include your cheerleader, Determination, fuelled by a Belief that you will succeed. Yes, you will likely be confronted by obstacles along the way. It’s how you react that will colour the tapestry of this journey. It’s your choice.
When we started thinking about the Ride for True Health, we were motivated by feelings of wanting to do more than just pedal our bicycles to the USANA International Convention in Salt Lake City Utah to satisfy our love of riding. We thought how cool it would be to combine our passion for touring on a bicycle with a greater purpose – to raise funds for a cause that we believed in. Yes, it would be easy to click on an internet link and donate but that would be a lost opportunity. Our ride would have the ability to raise awareness about the cause AND inspire others to live life to its fullest with a lifestyle they truly love. Granted, to some folks, riding a loaded touring bicycle up steep inclines in all kinds of weather might seem a little… different, but to us, it’s pure pleasure. Our 60 year-old bodies are pain free, our minds are clear and our happy hormones are dancing a jig inside. Cycle touring has been a way to get more intimate with not only our bodies, but our minds. Heather calls it “Rolling Meditation”. We can’t think of anything we’d rather do.
Starting from Kamloops BC June 23rd, the first week of the tour had a few challenges primarily the weather. Rainfall warnings in British Columbia made our riding… moist. As we progressed south, the weather changed dramatically to a heat wave in Washington. We stopped riding early in the day to mitigate any chance of heat stroke and too much exposure to the sun. At this point we were still acclimatizing to our new environment. So were our bodies. The days and weeks started to add up as did the distance.
Around three weeks into the tour we settled into a ‘rhythm’ that stuck with us for the remainder of the ride. EVERYTHING became comfortable. Our bodies were now loving the fresh air, low-impact exercise and our minds were calm and relaxed, focused on the key daily things: Did we have enough water? Did we have enough food? Did we have an idea of where we’ll sleep tonight? Imagine 2 months with no TV and no phones ringing. It’s very restorative… less stress… that’s a good thing. In the end, we have to admit we were amazed by our bodies. They responded and adapted incredibly well to the long, slow duration demands of daily riding for six to eight hours. We’ve never felt better.
Our hope was to meet as many people as possible along the way and we did. People on loaded touring bikes are usually a curiosity for folks seeing them roll by. Grocery stores and campgrounds were a common venue for us to answer questions such as: “Why are you doing this?” and, “How far do you ride in a day?” People were generally enthralled with our ride and interested to hear about the work the USANA True Health Foundation was doing. As you heard in previous blog posts, at times we were overwhelmed at with the generosity we received from total strangers. It reinforced our confidence that most people on this earth are good people… bottom line is, we’re ALL people.
We arrived safely at the Salt Palace Convention Centre in Salt Lake on Tuesday August 14th. After 1700 miles and 550,000 pedal revolutions, we rolled to a stop in front our our Team Vitality Cheerleaders. Along with USANA’s Tim Haran and Misty Dangel and local news media abc Utah 4, they were there to give us an unforgettable and super-enthusiastic welcome. We spent the remainder of the day attempting to jump into the fun and business of the convention, all the while feeling a little sad the riding had ended. We kept telling ourselves another ride is in our future. It is.
The Ride for True Health is a metaphor for how we have chosen to live our lives. Living a healthy lifestyle that includes eating well and making sure we’re getting the optimal nutrition our bodies need; exercising in a way that our bodies love; seeking out the positive things in our world; welcoming and embracing change; living with the desire and openness to meet new people; having a positive attitude to all circumstances that we encounter; and, experiencing joy in the moment.
We must give thanks to a number of people who, without their encouragement, friendship and support we would not have been able to realize our dream.
Elaine Pace, President of the USANA True Health Foundation for her love, friendship, support and unwavering belief in us and the ride.
Trudy Tran and Belynda Lee, USANA Health Sciences Canada for their connection to USANA HO and for the gear they sent us most importantly the Rev3!
Tim Haran, Head of USANA Social Media for his friendship and techno wizardry. Thanks for sticking with us all the way Tim!
Misty Dangel, USANA PR Specialist for waving her magic wand and making the media appear!
Laura Kalina, our Team Vitality Leader for her support, love, friendship and all the Houdini-like stuff she does.
Our Team Vitality ground crew Margaret Rowell and Sheryl Giudici for making sure our most prized possessions (the bikes!) made it back to Canada safe and sound. Their support right from the start was truly appreciated. We love you guys!
Cheryl Christian for being our USANA sponsor. Cheryl and her partner with Fred filmed and produced the videos that were a huge part of the momentum behind the Ride for True Health. Thanks for all your time and effort!
All our Team Vitality friends for cheering us along during the ride, but most importantly for being there as our pedals made their final revolutions. Hugs to you all.
Stacey Gibbs, Residential Care Manager, Dunrovin Park Lodge for being our direct communications link to Heather’s Dad Bruce while we were away.
All our Warmshowers.org hosts along the route for their generosity, hospitality and friendship.
It Starts With Love
This celebration of life has been a unique one in our lives. We love that. We believe by combining a passion for what you love with the opportunity to help others is one of the most powerful relationships possible to humans. Imagine if the whole world did that. Gives us goosebumps just thinking of it.
We’re absolutely thrilled to have been recognized as one of this year’s USANA Champions for Change. We congratulate all the other recipients for their hard work and dedication to their fund raising efforts. We are honoured to be part the first group of people to receive this award.
We’ll sign off from this blogpost by thanking everyone for their support of the USANA True Health Foundation during our Ride for True Health. We know your donations are greatly appreciated as they assist those in need around the globe and for those people accessing the Sanoviv Medical Assistance Program.
Hug the world,
Chris and Heather