The Recovery Foundation approached their third 947 Cycle Challenge with huge enthusiasm and a large, diverse and passionate team of cyclists. The Recovery Foundation had 56 cyclists riding for the cause, an impressive increase from last year’s team of 38. The main goal of the team was to ride to raise funds to help people with substance abuse issues gain access to treatment. This article will take a look behind the scenes of the fundraising and training The Recovery Foundation cyclists underwent in order to achieve their goals and help in the fight to eradicate addiction.
Common ground: Riding for those who can’t yet
The Recovery Foundation cycle team members came from a variety of sources. A number of the cyclists had been through treatment centres for substance abuse issues and were exposed to the Foundation through members of these institutions. Roberto Ferreira, director of this non-profit organisation, actively recruited many of the cyclists. Others found out about this opportunity to give back through their friends and families. All these members found common ground in their desire to ride for those who can’t yet. A cause close to the cyclists’ hearts:
“The inclusivity and unity among the team was incredible. Regardless of your cycling experience, you are still considered one of the family and are supported. We ride for those who can’t yet and the proceeds go towards helping people who are in a place similar to where I’ve been…” – Matthew B
“Being an addict in recovery myself, I understand that no one can do this alone. I also needed to see others, who had been in the same position as I had, succeed and reach their goals. I needed that hope from others when I was hopeless. Riding today and living a healthy life, making good connections and realising my ability to reach my goals is sharing that message of hope to those who feel hopeless.” – Karina M
“Because of my addiction I didn’t cycle for two years. Addiction made me miss out on a lot of things I truly like and that I have real passion for. So, starting again and this time cycling for a great cause humbled me, and I’m grateful that this opportunity came upon my journey.” – Max E
Behind the scenes: 947 Cycle Challenge fundraising and training
Well before the race day, The Recovery Foundation cyclists were hard at work with fundraising and training. The team had a strong foundation of motivation off of which to build their fundraising efforts. The fundraising process had several different aspects to it. Members promoted the cause through website pages (by sharing their stories on BackaBuddy), sold raffle tickets, attracted sponsors, and took to social media to ask for donations and spread awareness. Many members approached family and friends to ask for help to raise funds and spread the word. In addition to the fundraising, a number of members took part in training sessions of varying intensities, both solo and in groups, to prepare for the big day.
“I had been training for the past few months – a few times a week for a quick ride and once a week for a decent long ride. I was lucky enough to train with a friend on the long rides.” – Andrew W
“With my busy schedule and travelling, I could only commit to solo, casual training four weeks before the event. I could also only afford 20km training a day either on the Watt Bike or the road. I did one 70km on varying intensity levels and another 95km with varying intensity levels on the Watt Bike six days before the event. In the final week, I tapered off with a light 10km-20km a day cycle.” – Mogen N
“I didn’t have much time to train, and only went for about five training rides with the group and some by myself. The magical part of this journey was that being in recovery, clean and free from substances, I became fit very quickly! I did my best time in the 947 ever. I managed to do the race in 3h36min on my mountain bike, which is a superb performance!” – Max E
Fun and comradery within The Recovery Foundation cycle team
Many of the team members commented on the comradery they felt in the leadup to the big race day. The team had a WhatsApp group, which they used to share their promotional fundraising BackaBuddy pages, motivate one another and to share cycling memes and jokes to keep the tone light. In addition, the team got together for a big carbo-loading lunch, a Foundation tradition, the day before the Discovery 947 Cycle Challenge. A raffle draw took place during the lunch with a selection of excellent prizes for the participants. Jason D, the lucky winner of the raffle, took home a weekend’s stay at a hotel, a GPS tracker, jewellery and a BODYTEC voucher. Second place went to Darren W who received a cycling helmet, a health hamper (courtesy of Mogen Naidoo), a BODYTEC voucher, and health supplements. The third prize was won by Matthew K, which included a Magic Card starter pack, a coffee mug, and a R500 Romans voucher. The exciting raffle and the lunch gave the members a chance to get together and blow off some steam.
“I appreciated being part of a team and riding for the cause. Energies were high and everyone was feeling positive and enthusiastic. I enjoyed being in that environment. We had a team lunch the day before, which was really cool.” – Matthew B
“It was great to listen to people’s stories of how much they had trained or how little. The best part of the build-up for me was in the start pens at the race where we were all together, full of nerves and excitement.” – Ross M
The Recovery Foundation team experienced some incredible highlights and memorable moments during their time preparing for and riding the Discovery 947 Cycle Challenge. From achieving personal goals to feeling a part of something greater, each member felt that they had accomplished something through working with The Recovery Foundation.
“I focused on finishing the race, which I achieved. It was a great accomplishment, especially conquering my mind when all I wanted to do was give up. Riding for a cause definitely kept me motivated, just thinking about the still-suffering addicts out there who would be assisted by The Recovery Foundation.” – Matthew B
“Society looks down on addicts, and I showed them, through the Foundation, that recovery is possible and that the addict out there just needs the chance to make a choice. I felt empowered on race day. There were other addicts around me. I didn’t feel alone, and other addicts should also not feel alone.” – Michael M
“My biggest highlight was the encouragement I received from other cyclists to keep going.” – Olivia
“I loved the vibe, the meetup lunch, and the morning of the ride. I got to see some old faces I haven’t seen since last year’s ride. A huge highlight was knowing that I was riding for a cause. I also managed to exceed my fundraising target! I honestly thought I wouldn’t be able to muster any support! I also attained my target of doing a sub 4 for the race.” – Andrew W
“I felt so motivated and the support from the group was great, especially from Roberto.” – Bongane
“I achieved my personal goal to finish the race. I now know what to expect. I trained my mind that I will ride and not walk and only stop at the water stations. I thoroughly enjoyed the vibe and riding for a cause. The people who donated to the cause motivated me to finish the race.” – Mogen N
Together, The Recovery Foundation cycle team managed to raise R66 191.27 in 2019 for the cause. This money will be used to give those people who cannot afford it the opportunity to recover. In so doing, the Foundation takes a step forward in the fight to eradicate addiction and help those who have been affected by addiction and substance abuse issues.
“I would like to thank all the riders for participating on race day, raising funds, spreading awareness and for just coming through and having a good time on the day! We are getting better at this and I can say that it was my most enjoyable experience in organising an event for charity and also, on a personal level, in riding the race. I would also like to thank Mike and Tammy for helping with the workload for this event. It went a long way in making it fun and memorable! I am looking forward to next year’s event, as we already have some ideas on how to make it even better! Be safe,” concludes Roberto.
Please help The Recovery Foundation by donating any equipment, clothing, food, and toiletries you may have to help them help others. The Foundation is also searching for people to support them at their sporting events.
By donating to The Recovery Foundation, you can help people access the treatment they need, and also help the Foundation to achieve their vision for the future: the eradication of addiction.
If you would like to donate, please follow this link.