I’m addicted to the endorphin sandwich

Cycling has a lot to do with endorphin-induced highs. Signing up for a ride, supporting a good cause, reaching your fundraising goal, and crossing the finish line at the event each give you the feels: joy, relief, euphoria (see the science here).  However, in between all of this is the mushy, miserable actual cycling of the event where, in the most grueling stages, one is self-condemning about why one has chosen to do this punishment and to suffer when everyone else is comfortable at home sipping a latte and eating avocado toast at 11 AM for breakfast.

cycling endorphins

It is in this finish line-induced euphoria that I quickly forget the grind of training and riding/sobbing in the event. As soon as I’m done, as difficult as it was, I’m replaying the ride in my head on where I could have improved and looking to the next challenge, having momentarily forgotten that my rear is sore from sitting on my bike for 6-8 hours, that my muscles are barely holding up my frame, and that I’m covered in the salt of my own sweat. It’s a cycling cycle that seems beyond reasonability.

And, evidently, it’s a cycle that I’m happy to repeat. I’ve just signed up for my second charity event for this year (without having completed the first one yet, mind you), which is going to be the most challenging ride I’ve attempted: a 206-mile ride from Seattle to Portland aptly named the “Seattle-to-Portland” ride organized by the Cascade Bicycle Club. More commercially called the “Kaiser Permanente Seattle to Portland presented by Alaska Airlines“, the STP ride will take place from July 13-14, which gives me two days to complete this route. It’s expected up to 8,000 cyclists will participate. The STP distance is twice as long as any that I’ve ever done.

While the event supports the Cascade Bicycle Club and local communities, I’ve attached an independent fundraising effort through Climate Ride to do this ride for five non-profit organizations making a difference by promoting renewable energy, bicycle transportation and fighting climate change:

  • Bikes Not Bombs — “mobilize youth and adults to be leaders in community transformation”
  • Earthjustice — “because the earth needs a good lawyer”
  • Environmental Working Group — “research and advocacy in the areas of agricultural subsidies, toxic chemicals, drinking water pollutants and corporate accountability”
  • The Nature Conservancy — “conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends”
  • The Ocean Cleanup — “developing advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic”

I selected these beneficiaries on the basis of their work and their high ratings on the website Charity Navigator, which evaluates charities and their transparency. Your donation will go towards their work to help efforts around sustainability and climate change. After all, if the weather and environmental disasters have taught us anything in the last couple of years, it’s that we need to address human-effected climate change with urgency.

If environmental causes are important to you, I would love your support towards my fundraising goal of $1,000. Help me help the climate! You can support my ride here.

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