#50DayWellnessChallenge: Gary Martin’s ride

The #50DayWellnessChallenge was an invitation made by the Winds of Change, to help mark a 50 day countdown to the Wellness Gathering, and invite people to delve into what wellness means for them. What does it take to inject a big fat dose of wellness into your life? We asked Gary Martin, one of our regular photo contributors, to tell us, how his 50 days went and if, despite the cold and wet, he’d do it over again.  

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How did it go?

Very well, rode everyone of the 50 days come wind, rain or shine.

What was your challenge?

Given the year I’ve had with racing Ironman here in my own backyard I decided to take on the challenge of riding the 16km round trip from the Pemberton Community Centre to the Ullus Community Complex.

Why did you say yes?

I’m always up for a challenge and the race season had ended so this was a great opportunity to fill the void.

What were you hoping to get out of it?

Pemberton and Mount Currie are so close geographically but I’ve never really taken the time to actually go to Mount Currie, it’s always somewhere I just go through on the way to somewhere else. I thought it would be a great way to really look at the 8km journey and see what’s actually between here and there. I also felt it was a great way to make a connection between the two communities given that the Winds of Change supports the both of us as well as the surrounding areas.

How did you interpret #50Day? Did it have to be daily? How did that go? If you were successful and did every single day, how did you maintain that? What made it easier/more doable?

I took it very literal and rode my bike every single day. It was tough at times as we had some very wet weather and I’d not taken into consideration how short the days would become so both morning and evening rides became very dark and only possible with the addition of lights on my bike. Having religiously stuck to a very rigid training plan for Ironman sticking to the challenge was pretty easy as a half hour ride a day felt somewhat mundane to what I’d been use to.

Did you sustain momentum for the entire 50 days?

Yes, in fact it was a shame it came to an end to be honest.

Did you choose a singular/focussed challenge, or something more general? Was it hard pinning it down to one thing? Was it harder or easier to fulfil it?

My challenges focus was very singular and as a result it was very easy to stick to as it was so specific. It was also very easy to measure my success rate, either I rode or I didn’t!

What was your best takeaway from the experience?

There was so much on the journey that I’d never noticed before. Houses, farms, views, so many things that you just don’t see when you’re speeding along the highway at 80kmph. There were a couple of mornings when I took a slight detour onto the land where the Pemberton Music Festival was and sat down and just watched the sunrise. Everyone should pause and take note of where we live as it really is the most amazing place.

What do you feel you accomplished?

It was amazing the number of people who spoke to me and asked me about my challenge. I decided to post an image onto Facebook everyday to record my journey and I think it really made people think about what is between Pemberton and Mount Currie. It seemed to inspire people too as a friend who lives on Vancouver Island decided to take up the challenge after seeing some of my pics.

What challenges did you face? Were there low-points? How did you handle them?

I was challenged by the weather, a flat tire or two and the traffic. I think everyone should be made to ride the roads around here at least once to realize just how much space cyclists need. I was stunned to find that I actually felt safer riding in the dark than during the day as motorists weren’t quite sure how much space I needed so they gave me lots, at times even too much. I actually laughed off lots of the low weather and technical points as the ride was only 30 minutes so it was never that big of a deal and I’m so use to bad drivers round here that I tend to just ignore them.

When you needed motivation where did you turn?

I just thought about how easy this challenge was compared to Ironman so told myself to suck it up and just get on with it!

Where to next? Will you keep any of it going?

I had hoped to keep riding by after vacations and a very busy holiday period it just has happened. I do however have a plan for setting some new challenges to 2015 as these kind of things really help give me a focus in life.

Would you do it again? Do it next year/annually?

Absolutely.

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A couple more standout moments from my challenge:

  • After riding with my camera out taking a photo as soon as I put it away a bear decided to jump out of the bush and run across in front of me, obviously didn’t want his picture taken.
  • Numerous instances of having to slow down and give way to lots of horses simply hanging out on the highway.
  • Seeing a few Mount Currie locals who at first looked puzzled by a spandex wearing fellow riding round in circles in their parking lot to having them say hello and almost feel like I knew them by the time my challenge reached day 50.
  • The pleasure I got and the numerous visible smiles I had on my face as I rode up and down the valley.

Thanks for challenging me Lisa as it really was an awesome experience and one that I’d love to repeat next year for sure!

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