Amie Krasnozon is an elite cyclist, committee member and Ambassador of CMHA’s Peel Dufferin’s 2018 Ride Don’t Hide.
Here’s what she has to say about Ride Don’t Hide:
The hardest thing to do is start.
I joined Ride Don’t Hide in 2017 as a cyclist for the 100 km route. I am a competitive person and had a personal goal in finishing in the first group of the 100 km in around 3 hours.
A group of five riders including myself formed in the first 5 km, we supported each other during the ride using one another’s strengths on different parts of the course (hills, flats) to maximize our efficiency.
We decided to cross the finish line together, we began this ride as strangers and we were now finishing as a team, together. I crossed the finish line, in the company of four new friends, with huge sense of accomplishment, and tears in my eyes. Finishing the ride in the first group signified a snapshot of my journey and struggle with mental illness, one I am finally winning.
I have gone from depression to self-acceptance with cycling being a key unexpected component in my recovery. To be fair, recovery isn’t as simple as just jumping on a bike. I did a lot of work, but I do wonder where I’d be without cycling. When riding, climbing is where the magic happens. I love the exclamation mark of achievement at the end of every climb, which overlays with life. I find a connection and stillness within myself that’s missing in everyday life. I crawl into my head and meditatively watch the world tick by, one pedal stroke at a time. My body is strong, complex and capable and the enabler of positive experiences. It takes me on long chatty rides, has given me a love of early mornings, a community of exceptional people; it propels me up mountains and along roads throughout the world. Some may see it as just a carbon frame, but for me my bike is much more than that.
I was so impressed with the positive and encouraging environment, organization and support at Ride Don’t Hide that I wanted to be more than a participant for 2018. So I joined the steering committee and became an ambassador for the 2018 event. I am honoured to share my story and hopefully inspire others. Cycling and an active lifestyle have helped me through my darkest times and I want to encourage others to find the benefits of physical activity as it relates to mental health.
I hope you will join me in Caledon on June 24th!
Amie’s Pro Cycling Tip: Fuel Plan
Cyclists need to fuel both on and off the bike. Think of yourself like a Formula 1 race car, the better the fuel that goes in, the better result you get out.
The body can absorb around 90 carbohydrates per hour, so about 360 calories. Since we can only absorb so much, timing is everything when it comes to fueling. If you wait too long into your ride, you won’t be able to catch up.
Before my rides, I have a fueling plan in place. It starts with my pre-ride meal and hydration. I calculate my energy output for the ride and pack the appropriate amount of fuel. I cut my energy bars open, cut in half in my jersey pocket to make them easy to grab and eat. I know where the water stops are located on my route and have a couple packets of salt in my saddle bag with an extra gel or two just in case!! This planning helps me finish the ride feeling good and minimize the stress on my body so I can be ready to ride the next day.