Home News Local News Cyclists raise money to battle substance abuse

Cyclists raise money to battle substance abuse


Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

At 8 a.m. Saturday, the campsite at Lea Lake in Bottomless Lakes State Park was already buzzing with activity. Cyclists were already up and on their bikes ready to ride. Some had loved ones standing by the road cheering them on as they rode anywhere between one to eight laps for the eighth annual Tour de Ocho Millas charity bike ride.

For an entry fee of $40, or $50 to sign up the morning of the Tour de Ocho Millas, cyclists work to complete at least one eight-mile lap around Lea Lake.

Water and emergency aid stations were scattered about the route and an ambulance was on standby to tend to anyone in need. Some riders commited to completing eight laps or more before noon, when the event officially ended.

The event serves as an annual fundraiser for Reflections & Recovery, a nonprofit that works to help people wrestling with drug and alcohol addiction. Lorual VanRheenen, executive director of Reflections & Recovery, said the Tour de Ocho Millas also allows the group to raise awareness about its services.

Bob Link, an avid cyclist from Roswell, was on his bike, and said he was going to ride to complete as many laps as he could. Link, who has been a volunteer for Reflections & Recovery in the past, said he tries to make it to the Tour de Ocho Millas each year.

Support Local Journalism
Subscribe to the Roswell Daily Record today.

“It’s just a great thing to do and be out here on a beautiful day and go for a bike ride,” he said.

VanRheenen said each year the event typically brings in about $10,000 with between 60 and 100 cyclists taking part. Taunya Scott, a member of the Reflections & Recovery board of directors, said people came from all across New Mexico, with others coming from Arizona, Texas, Missouri and Colorado.

VanRheenen said that the training and preparation that a person has to go through to prepare for cycling is similar to that which addicts have to go through to get sober.

“If you want to be a good bicyclist, you need to train. You have to put energy and effort into it and there is pain in doing it well,” she said.

As people recover from substance abuse, they also have to recalibrate their bodies and minds, network with new people and gain a different perspective,” she said.

“And that is just so symbolic of what happens when you train for a bicycle race,” VanRheenen added.

She said that her favorite part of the event is the beginning and the end, as people make a commitment and then finish to the sound of applause.

That support and feeling of accomplishment is also similar to what it is like to beat addiction, she said.

Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at breakingnews@rdrnews.com.

Previous articleService with a smile
Next articleCandidate vying to maintain seat on NM Supreme Court