2022 Ride for Youth

Tough days, new friendships and the joy of overcoming mental and physical challenges is the summary from Hesperia’s team, after completing the 700 kilometre Hawaiian Ride for Youth from Albany to Perth.

As an Official Partner and proud sponsor of the Hawaiian Ride for Youth since 2018, Hesperia has participated in the event for many years to raise funds and awareness for Youth Focus, a leading mental health provider in WA.

Our team, featuring Project Accountant Gráinne Byrne and Data Analytics Lead Tim Sondalini along with riders from organisations that work with Hesperia, raised an incredible $65,421 for Youth Focus and its services.

We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who donated. A special mention to CFC Group, Cherubino Wines, Lamonts and Zafra Legal for their support.

While the emotion and adrenaline is still running high for Grainne and Tim after their maiden Ride for Youth, they are deservedly proud of their achievements across the four and half day journey.

Both Grainne and Tim were awarded ‘The Monarch of the Mountain’, a jersey presented each night to a first-time rider for their commitment and strength in all aspects of the ride.

Among the many highlights of the trip, including getting to know people of all ages, backgrounds and experience, both riders say it was day four that stood out for them, as the group cycled 200km from Busselton to Mandurah.

Regardless of experience, Grainne said it was the toughest day for everyone, both mentally and physically.

“When we finished everyone was hugging and cheering. I stood back and watched it. It was definitely the most rewarding and emotional day. Everyone seemed to forget we still had 82km to get back to Perth. But that would be nothing compared to the day we had just endured,” she said.

“It was brutal – hot, dusty, boring scenery, rough roads. But when we finished, everyone was clapping each other on the back and hugging one another – it felt like we’d collectively done something important and notable,” Tim agreed.

Approaching the UWA finish line there were different emotions for Grainne and Tim, including an overwhelming sense of accomplishment.

“My face hurt from smiling as I crossed the line. Every ache that had presented itself over the previous days seemed to disappear. The atmosphere, the crowds, the posters, the bagpipes and the smiles on all of the cyclists faces, it was overwhelming,” said Grainne.

“I was crying. You’re exhausted, so emotions sneak through very easily. But seeing my family greeting me at the finishing line was a really powerful moment. My sibling had even flown across from New Zealand as a surprise,” said Tim.

For Grainne, it’s hard to summarise the experience after five long months of preparation, while Tim notes that after all the early morning training sessions, the ride itself happens quickly.

“One day you’re leaving Albany, the next memory is riding in to UWA. There are some really tough and gritty moments between the start and finish, but when you get to the end of each day, and then the end of the ride – all those experiences collapse together into a really positive set of emotions, and maybe some twinging muscles,” Tim said.

Grainne and Tim may need more time before committing to next year’s event, but “without a single doubt’” would encourage others to participate.

“I think everyone thinks that the biggest challenge for the week is fitness, but it isn’t. The head coach has an amazing training programme in place that gets everyone over the line. The mental challenges on the ride are things you can’t really prepare for,” said Grainne.

Due to COVID, riders were unable to visit high schools to educate students on issues of youth suicide, depression, anxiety and self-harm, but instead the group shared their own experiences.

“Each evening we heard from some of the riders who would’ve spoken in the schools. They told their story of why they were riding and shared some personal mental health experiences. I had cycled beside some of these people for 5 months and didn’t know what they had been through, so these sessions were moving,” Grainne said.

Youth Focus is one of many non for profit organisations supported by Hesperia, as part of our commitment to supporting the communities in which we operate.

If you would like to support our riders, you can still donate here.