As many of you are aware, Athalonz Founder and CEO Tim Markison is riding his bicycle across the United Sates, from San Diego, CA to Jacksonville, FL, to raise funds and awareness to combat child abuse. Learn more about his >3,000 mike ride here.
The weekend before the ride was very hectic getting everything organized and packed on the RV. Laura and I got a late start out of Mesa on the 9/27; it took forever to get the RV loaded. So, we stopped in Yuma.
While in the parking lot of the Yuma hotel, I backed the RV into a security post. Well, I backed the bike rack into the security post and damaged my bike rack and one of my bikes. I was sick. On Tuesday 9/28, we took the bike into Holland bike shop in Coronado, which is where I bought the bike a few months ago. The frame was cracked; the downside of a carbon fiber frame.
Fortunately, they had the same bike in stock. They gave me 15% off and assembled the bike that afternoon. I was grateful and my sickened feels diminished.
Tuesday night 9/28 we (Logan, Virna, Ron, Jeremiah, Laura, and me) had dinner at Kettner Exchange. The chef, Brian, is a friend of Jeremiah’s. The food was excellent, and I ate too much.
I didn’t not sleep well Tuesday night: anxious, nerves, and too full of a stomach. I was up at 5 AM, went for a coffee. At 6 am, we all met in the lobby, ate some breakfast (I didn’t eat much, still full and too nervous). We loaded the RV and headed to Dog Beach in San Diego
It was a beautiful morning; about 65 degrees, no wind, and mostly overcast. Lisa Saas had two interviews set up: one with San Diego Fox and the other with KUSI (an independent station). One interview was at 8:30 AM and the other was at 9 AM.
At about 9:45 I started the ride with Jim Monahan and Kelly Hale. The route was not easy to follow, and I was having trouble with my GPS device. Thankfully, Jim and Kelly were able to get us to our meeting spot with the RV. We met up with the RV at about 11:30 AM, 18 miles into the ride. Shortly thereafter, Laura took an Uber to the airport.
In the afternoon, it was Logan driving the RV, and me riding. I found it easy to take a picture of the map on my phone and work from that. Logan and I picked meeting spots. I started the afternoon ride on my recumbent trike; the morning ride was on my road bike.
At our first meeting spot, I pulled up along the RV and noticed that our grey water- black water drain was dangling. The value connecting the two sections and that provided the coupling to drain the grey and black tanks was gone. After looking at it more closely, it was clear that someone stole it.
We bungie-corded the pipes securely and continued on. Our goal for the day was Pine Valley. At 5:30 PM, we were about 7 miles out and decided to call it a day. We drove to the hotel, checked in, went to a local restaurant and had a really good meal. We’ll start day 2 (9/30) from where we left off yesterday.
Day 2: September 30, 2021 (Pine Valley, CA to Brawley, CA)
As for the ride, it was a tough day. A good bit of climbing and strong head wind most of the day. I rode about 85 miles, and it took almost 8 hours. I had planned on the ride taking less than 6 hours. Also, my GPS taking system didn’t capture the entire ride. Part of it was due to me; I forgot to turn it back on for one stretch and the rest was due to loss of connection with the satellites.
It’s a bit disappointing to ride that much and not have an accurate record. The rest of the day, however, was not disappointing. I started near Pine Valley at 7 AM with a good climb. On this part of the ride, it hit me that I’m actually riding my bicycle across the country for child abuse prevention. It’s no longer an idea; it’s no long something in the planning stages; and I’m no longer training for the ride. I’m doing it.
As I thought about my childhood abuse, the damage it did to me, and where I’m at now, I become emotional. I am grateful for the life I have now and that I’m able to embark on such a journey. I am not a worthless, ugly, stupid piece of shit that can’t do anything right, and deserving of bad things that happened to me, as I was conditioned to believe about myself.
That’s what abuse does, it makes a person feel bad about himself/herself, which leads to a drug abuse, alcoholism, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, fear, and a whole host of other psychological and physical ailments.
Then I started thinking about therapy and what Dr V. (my current therapist) has shared about her work. She doesn’t heal people; she helps them heal themselves. I know that’s the case for me.
This led me to thinking about abusers need to stop abusing and that this is really a mental health issue, not a legal issue. I don’t believe stronger laws against child abuse will reduce the rate of child abuse, so I’ve never considered legislative changes as a solution.
My epiphany for the day is that legislative change is a big part of the solution. We need legislative changes to promote mental health, to provide sufficient mental health care for all who need it; and to support mental health care professionals. For mental health, I mean helping people feel better about themselves; not medicate them so they don’t feel.
Image if the US made a 50-year commitment to helping people feel better about themselves. How much less child abuse would there be? How much less drug abuse would there be? How much less alcoholism would there be? How much less obesity would there be? And so on.
I need to run the numbers on this, but I believe the savings from less child abuse, drug abuse, alcoholism, obesity, and so on would more than pay for the mental health programs.
I didn’t know what to expect from the ride, I just knew it was something that I needed to do. I think this was the first of many revelations.
Day 3: October 1, 2021 (Brawley CA to Blythe CA)
Getting into a better rhythm with the ride and its routine. Logan is the getting the bikes prepped as I change from bike to bike. We started riding at 5 AM. That helped a lot. It was much cooler, less traffic, and allowed us to finish around 1 PM; thus, avoiding riding in the hottest part of the day. The high in Blythe was 93.
I also made the decision to avoid riding sections of road that did not feel safe. We drove around a construction area, and we drove through a 2-lane twisting & hilly road with no shoulder, limited visibility, and a 65 MPH speed limit. It was too scary for me.
We also limited the breaks to 15-20 minutes. Enough time to eat a little bit, re-fill the water bottles and change clothes if needed. I’m finding puffins cereal with almond milk is easy on my digestive system and provides plenty of fuel.
As the sun rose and the day progressed, the head winds picked up. The last 20 miles of the ride was into pretty strong head winds. I rode by a lot of hay farms, dairy farms, and pig farms. Also rode through the sand dunes of the Imperial Valley. Many stretches of the ride, there was no traffic, no noise, just me on my bike. It was pretty cool. All-in-all, I rode about 70 miles in just under 7 hours. Not a bad day’s work.
On the mental side, when I started, I was tired, I had 86 miles to go, and began questioning my decision to do this ride. I was able to turn my thinking around. I am doing this because I chose to and because of my mission of drawing more attention to child abuse prevention. With this mind set, my energy picked up and I focused on riding and my mission.
With respect to the mental health issue I discussed yesterday, it should also include hope. No matter how bad today may be, there will be better days. As such, mental health entails feeling better about oneself and instilling hope.
On the physical side, I feel pretty good. I have a little ache in my right leg behind my knee. I only feel it when I’m seating on my bikes; I don’t feel it on the recumbent trike or when I’m standing on the bikes. No other body aches. I’m a bit tired but had a good night sleep and I’m ready to take on day 4.
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Today was a good bit of climbing. A little over 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Not as much as day 1 or day 2, but not trivial. I am really enjoying traveling through the small towns. The people have been friendly, the service has been good, and the food has been excellent.