I have been what some might consider an elite athlete for the last 10 years, having run for one of the country's best Division III cross country and track programs in college and now riding for an Elite Domestic Cycling Team that receives invites to international events. Both of these sports, however, are extremely humbling. These sports are not football, baseball, or basketball where you have to beat a single opponent to win a game. In these sports, you first have to beat yourself and get out of your own head and then you have to beat the 100's of other athletes in the field in order to get the satisfaction of "The Big Win."
The nature of these sports has always been intriguing to me, work as a team, function as a unit, but don't let yourself beat yourself in the process. For most, including myself until recently, experiencing this over and over again causes you to have a self centric approach to the sport. Focus on ME, how strong can I get, how far can I push MYSELF for my own benefit, which in turn benefits the team.
Recently though, I have been pedaling and suffering in a different vain. I am riding for something that is greater than me, bigger than the sport of cycling. I am riding to shine a positive light on our veteran population; A population of men and women who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom so that I and those around me can enjoy the simple things in life like sport.
In 2017, I am proud to be a part of the Project Echelon Racing Team. An elite group of riders seeking to give back to some of the most extraordinary people in a simple, yet profound way. Our mission is to share the mission and the stories of Project Echelon with our followers, community members, and fellow cyclists so that we can help veterans regroup, recover and re-engage through physical activity and self discovery.
Together, we form an echelon... we support one another... and we will make change.
To learn more about Project Echelon, please go to www.projectechelon22.org. Please share our work with your friends, families, and colleagues and consider donation to our cause.
- Eric Hill -