Jill, Jenny, and Geneva, the bad-ass bicycling trio and founders of Odyssey for Opportunity have flown the coop, even if their adventure commenced earlier than originally intended. Alas, every big challenge walks hand in hand with smaller challenges, no? As I sit here and write this, Jenny and Jill are sitting side by side in an old RV en-route with all of their equipment to BC.
I was lucky enough to share an evening with my Jill a week or so ago; where we got a little tipsy (hurricane drunk in actuality), and spoke candidly about her upcoming trip. The natural emotions were all present; she said she feels excitement, apprehension, pride, but also… she said she is scared shitless. If I were about to embark on a 75 day journey, on bike, across our beautiful if sometimes treacherous nation, I would also be terrified.
What struck me as most interesting about our dialogue was the ways in which Jill described the manifestations of her fears. She is isn’t really afraid she won’t be able to accomplish this feat, her drive to succeed and prove the value in what they are doing for the cause is too great. Instead she is fearful of all the time she is going to be spending inside he own head. I had never really thought about the tertiary challenges aside from things like weather, road conditions, tune-ups, and physical exhaustion, and Jill called to my attention the mental and emotional exhaustion that I am sure each of the three will experience at least a few times during the trip. The three of them are together yes, but when you are cycling on the Trans-Canada, you are doing so in single file, always remaining alert of the oncoming and very present dangers… transport trucks anyone? You can’t wear headphones safely, and you can’t really speak to one another because it is too damn loud. Eight hours in your own head under these conditions would be challenging to even a well versed shaman.
But Jill, Jenny, and Geneva, we tip our hats to you and your pilgrimage, which is exactly what this trip will be about in the end. Without a doubt, these three will return home in late August changed, both in subtle and obvious ways, and I can say confidently that I will be a little envious. Not many people in their lifetime pull off such an extraordinary accomplishment, and the pride I have about it on their behalf is bubbling over and splashing at my feet.
Girls, I sincerely hope you have a chance to read this during your downtime before the trip soldiers ahead because you should know that every single person in your life it cheerleading for you. Big hugs everyday, and lots of love and support every moment.
Sylvia “Can’t-Wait-to-See-the-Size-of-Your-Legs-in-August-cause-Dem-Bitches-Will-be-HUGE!!” Stout