As summer is starting to wind down, we’ve had the chance to speak with a lot of our community members about the adventures they’ve been on this summer. Some of those have included traveling, trying out new modes of transportation, attending live events, spending quality time with family and friends and doing activities they love while raising money for Parkinson’s.
One of the many stories that inspired all of us at the Davis Phinney Foundation is the one Kevin Schmid shared with us about how he rode the Rockies this year... on a regular bike. Over the course of six days, he rode nearly 418 miles and climbed 25.935’. That’s a huge accomplishment for anyone. For someone living with Parkinson’s, it’s truly remarkable.
When we chatted with Kevin about the ride, here’s what he had to say.
What was your Ride The Rockies experience like?
It was the most exciting trip I’ve ever done. Everyone at the Davis Phinney Foundation and Victory Crew® did everything they could from the moment of registration to the very last mile to make sure everyone was set up for success. It really feels like a family when you do these rides together. I can’t say enough about it.
How did you prepare for it?
I live in Montana, and we had a lot of snow all the way up until April this year. However, I have a Peloton indoor bike and I love it. I’ve had it for three years, and I’ve completed over 550 rides on it. Typically, I rode the Peloton three or four times a week during the winter. When the weather cleared, I rode it about twice a week and also rode outside.
I love riding because my symptoms go away when I’m pedaling, and I’m able to focus on things other than Parkinson’s. I also like having a goal. Knowing that I was going to be riding for six days over big mountain passes helped me to stay focused on my training, even when I didn’t necessarily feel like it. Having said that, having such a big goal like that also makes me go overboard sometimes. Well, at least, that’s how other people view it. Riding just makes me feel so good that I have a tough time reducing my time or effort.
What kind of support did you have during the race?
Between being part of the Davis Phinney Foundation family, having my wife following me the entire way and hearing from friends and family every day throughout the ride, I felt like the luckiest guy in the world.
Being a part of the Foundation and the incredible people who are part of the team, makes me want to push farther and do more. Everyone is so supportive and encouraging.
My brother-in-law and friend Kelly Johnson rode with me, and my wife followed me in the car. She made sure I stayed on track with my medication schedule, and she managed my fluid intake and nutrition. I’m spoiled.
This year I also used a wahoo bolt that was linked to my iPhone. It sent notes out about my progress, so family and friends could follow along. I could then read the comments and texts that came in when I was riding. I felt so supported. Those people kept me pedaling when the going got tough.
What advice do you have for people who are interested in doing events like this?
Ride The Rockies is a huge ride and it takes a lot of time and commitment to prepare for it. If that’s the kind of adventure you’re interested in, I highly recommend you secure your spot on the 2019 Davis Phinney Foundation Ride the Rockies team as soon as possible. It’ll be an experience you’ll never forget.
(Note: You might also consider doing the ride on an eBike. You still get to see the beauty of Colorado and get a great work out, without being completely wiped out at the end of it. Or, you could join us for the Parkinson’s Peloton. It’s a one-day ride during the week for people with Parkinson’s.)
The biggest thing about a ride like this is that it’s just as mental as it is physical. You have to change your mindset and really break through the mental barriers in order to get it done. The physical part actually comes after you figure that mental part out.
The other powerful lesson I’ve learned from doing rides like this is that there are people watching you. You don’t have to try and motivate others to do it. You just have to do your thing and without even realizing it, you’ll serve as an inspiration to others. I think it all starts with being a living example of how to live well with Parkinson’s. And all of us have the chance to do that.
How did you fundraise for the event?
I did a lot on Facebook this year. I also created a mailing list of about 175 people. I sent each person a note with pictures of myself and with my riding buddy Kelly Johnson. We also included a self-addressed stamped envelope to make donating easy for people. I raised over $6000 for Parkinson’s, which was $3500 over the minimum requirement to do the ride. That feels like a big accomplishment too.
Do you plan on doing Ride The Rockies next year?
Without a doubt. I can’t wait to see all of you there again in 2019!
Save the Date (June 8-15, 2019) and Ride The Rockies with Us!
We have limited spots on our Ride The Rockies team, and now is your chance to reserve yours before they're all snatched up. Join us for a week and cycle the most beautiful climbs and roads in the Rockies with a group of people passionate about our mission of helping people with Parkinson’s live well today.
In 2018, our team of riders raised $125,000 to support critical programs, resources and community building for our Parkinson's tribe. If you’d like to be part of this incredible effort next year, contact Lauren today.