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What started as an experiment has turned into a flourishing annual event that is changing the conversation about mental illness. Mac Dorris founded The Ride for Mental Health to support McLean, but also to pay tribute to his son Eric, who died at age 21 and had struggled with mental illness.
The 2019 Ride is scheduled for June 22-23 in New Paltz, New York. Cyclists can choose courses of 14, 25, 50, 75, or 100 miles through the gorgeous terrain of the Hudson Valley. Early registrants are also invited to dinner in the Mohonk Preserve, with entertainment and guest speakers.
This year’s event will feature former cycling champion Juli Furtado. A winner of 17 straight World Cup cross country races and the only rider in history to win the World Championship in downhill and cross-country, Furtado recently decided to speak openly about her traumatic family history and her struggles with depression.
“We’re honored and excited to have Juli at this year’s ride,” said Dorris. He hopes her talk will further the Ride’s goal of increasing understanding and acceptance of mental illness.
“Mac has done a tremendous job working to reduce the stigma of mental illness through this event,” said Lori Etringer, MBA, McLean’s chief development officer, who has participated since the event’s creation in 2017. “This year, we are trying to really grow the event, and I have created ‘Team McLean,’ with the hope of inspiring others to join me.”
Riders of all abilities are welcome, and the variety of courses appeal to both recreational and serious cyclists. For those who don’t ride, joining “Team McLean” as an event volunteer is a great option. “We want people to have a chance to meet other riders, make new friends, and talk openly about mental health,” said Mac.