It is an interesting question that I had to think about a little to give you an answer that would make sense and a little more entertaining than, “It’s a gut feeling I’m doing the right thing”. I’m what you call an enthusiastic cyclist. I’m a little more than a weekend warrior but not a competitive cyclist. I try to ride about 100 miles or about 5-6 hours a week when my schedule allows it. This is mainly achieved via Zwift, an online cycling platform with a weekend ride In Real Life (IRL) with my club Menlo Bike Club here in the Bay Area, California. Riding on the peninsula means there is always a 30-40 minute climb included.
I’ve been involved with RHBE since October 2017 when I stumbled across John’s Ride Across America through the company we were both working for at the time. I managed to join him for the last 2 days as he concluded his ride to the Golden Gate Bridge.
In 2018 I managed to join John again for part of his ride between Columbus, Ohio and Washington, DC where we battled the tail end of a hurricane with severe rain and flooding along the entire route. We had to climb fallen trees and wade knee deep through flash flooding.
I will always remember the first day in Columbus. It was chucking it down (British slang for it was raining a lot. I’m a Brit if you hadn’t guessed) and seeing John’s facial expression when he realized it wasn’t going to be a pleasant day to ride a bike. I told him at that moment, “I’ve not come all this way, not to ride my bike–so let’s do it.”
I’m no stranger to physical and/or mental challenges that we as individuals willingly accept or are forced upon us, I’ve had plenty of both. What makes the 6th Annual Ride Hard Breathe Easy Classic so appealing and worth the effort to traverse across America isn’t riding my bike for 600 miles–although that is a big plus–but solely to support John.
I see John working tirelessly for a great cause that is often overlooked and I want to take some of that burden off John that comes naturally to me. If I can be John’s guardian angel whilst we are riding, like he is to so many lung cancer patients, then it is worth all the effort just to be by his side and be there to help when needed.