Gary Gianetti: Happy and healthy | SteamboatToday.com

Gary Gianetti: Happy and healthy

Steamboat Springs — After a safe and successful return home to Steamboat Springs – a few weeks back spent visiting with friends, watching the Jon Krakauer movie “Into the Wild,” and re-reading Dave Shively's articles in the Pilot & Today about my trip – I feel compelled to provide some updates about the “Ride For Your Life” 5,000-mile bicycle journey I undertook that traversed every state in America and engaged, educated and empowered people about healthy living and cancer survivorship. — After a safe and successful return home to Steamboat Springs – a few weeks back spent visiting with friends, watching the Jon Krakauer movie “Into the Wild,” and re-reading Dave Shively's articles in the Pilot & Today about my trip – I feel compelled to provide some updates about the “Ride For Your Life” 5,000-mile bicycle journey I undertook that traversed every state in America and engaged, educated and empowered people about healthy living and cancer survivorship.

— After a safe and successful return home to Steamboat Springs – a few weeks back spent visiting with friends, watching the Jon Krakauer movie “Into the Wild,” and re-reading Dave Shively’s articles in the Pilot & Today about my trip – I feel compelled to provide some updates about the “Ride For Your Life” 5,000-mile bicycle journey I undertook that traversed every state in America and engaged, educated and empowered people about healthy living and cancer survivorship.

First off, life is beautiful and so is America.

I headed off onto our country’s wild roads, ditching my SUV for a minivan, donating proceeds to charity, and venturing out on an epic journey, much like “Into The Wild’s” Chris McCandless. However, the reason I, unlike McCandless, made it home was because this act was for something bigger than self-exploration. I did it to ride for your life. I intended to involve thousands in the journey and to promote physical activity through cycling, including friends and family who helped keep the project together. It is clear to me now that these types of adventures need others involved to be successful. I could not have done it without the support of an awesome community, awesome friends and an awesome family. The ongoing planning, cultivation, calculation, planning, riding, eating and more planning paid off. I used a calculated approach to ensure that we could make timelines, get from state to state, and physically and mentally complete a 5,000-mile joint-testing, bone-wearing and energy-burning journey around America – in 50 days, riding a bicycle 100 miles per day with no rest.

I never thought I would give up an SUV for a Dodge Caravan. But it turned out to be an early lesson in learning to stand alone. Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine released an article about people who are overweight who socially associate with others who are overweight. If this is the product of socialization, I will continue to stand alone, particularly since obesity has been associated with leading to certain types of cancer.

All along the ride, I knew that 5,000 miles was nothing compared to chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. The least I could do was to ride my bicycle in honor of their strength. I felt I faced a physical challenge perhaps early Everest mountaineers faced, a pioneering challenge like Arthur Ashe faced, and detail challenges every event planner faces. Admittedly, there was also a selfish challenge in overcoming the loss of my mother to cancer five years prior to the date of ride No. 38.

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Most importantly, what needs to be recognized is the underlying cause for the ride and that it was achieved. We successfully raised awareness for people to be more physically active, and we showed that we can all achieve things – amazing things – we thought might be impossible. I made a choice to show that we all make our own choices.

I will get back to work teaching snowboarding and skiing, and personal training while proudly owning my minivan. I am lucky to have such a great family, a great community, great friends, and total satisfaction with what we accomplished.

While this journey may be complete, there is room for more. Life is good, and life can be short – get out, go move, and love life, love your moms, love your family. The holidays are here. I can’t wait to cherish times with family and friends, but I also won’t forget to take time to stand alone and cherish my health.

I hope you do the same. Happy and healthy holidays to you and your family!

Gary Gianetti

Steamboat Springs