This summer Michael Rhoads and Ryan Lukacovic of UVA Lacrosse did something most rising seniors would not consider doing. At that stage in college, most students focus on acquiring internships to bolster their resumes for future job interviews. Although that route is important in the process of kick starting your career, doing something that truly jumps off the page will help you stand out in the crowd. That is exactly what Michael and Ryan did.
So, they pumped up their tires and piled gear onto their bikes and set off for a cross country tour starting in Charlottesville, VA and ending in San Francisco, CA. These guys not only set off on an unforgettable adventure, they decided to put more meaning behind the hours and hours of pedaling. They decided to dedicate their journey to raising funds and awareness for the One Love Foundation. Since the unfortunate passing of Yeardley Love and inception of the One Love Foundation, the UVA lacrosse programs have been passionate supporters of the foundation so it only made sense to Mike and Ryan that they would also give back.
Earlier this month, on July 8th to be exact, Mike and Ryan completed their cross-country tour and are now enjoying some R & R in San Francisco. We had the chance to catch up with these inspirational athletes and ask them a few questions about their adventure.
Where did the idea of biking across the country come from?
We originally saw something on social media that someone biked across the country and immediately thought that we could do this. We thought about doing it last summer but we didn’t fully plan it and we ran out of time. So starting this past January I devoted a lot of time into planning the trip and making sure that we were following through with it this summer.
Before starting the cross country trek, were either of you big into biking?
Before this trip neither of us were big into biking at all. Ryan had a road bike and did training last summer for a triathlon, but other than that we had little to no experience biking long distance or bike touring.
What was waiting for you guys at the end of the trip in San Francisco?
Ryan’s dad recently started working in San Francisco so we were extremely excited to meet him at the Ferry and spend the weekend with him.
How did you get involved with the One Love Foundation?
Before starting the ride we wanted to see if we could raise money for an organization. I read that someone else biking across the country really regretted not raising money for a charity so we reached out to Caroline Seats, a former UVA Women’s Lacrosse player, and she got us in touch with the One Love team. They immediately were extremely supportive of our trip and the entire experience made the trip that much more meaningful.
Why did you decide to commit your cross country adventure to supporting that organization?
Being part of the UVA men’s lacrosse team, Ryan and I both are very close with the Women’s Lacrosse Team. Both of our teams have been affected by relationship violence and we wanted to raise more awareness and money so that One Love can continue to give classes and presentations to help eliminate relationship violence on our campuses.
Outside of your trip, how have you and the Virginia lacrosse program been involved with the One Love Foundation?
Yes, our team has taken a One Love class to help raise our awareness and help us become active bystanders. We also help raise money with One Love through Yards for Yeardley and track our yards run throughout the year.
What was the ultimate goal you hope to achieve by the end of your cross country journey?
The ultimate goal of this trip was to be able to do something we would never forget and to help raise as much awareness and money as possible for One Love.
What was the most memorable experience on your trip?
Crossing the continental divide and biking up Monarch’s Pass is something that we will never forget. The physical and mental challenge of biking for 4 hours up hill and reaching the top is something that few people will ever experience.
A photo posted by Mike & Ryan (@onelove_crosscountry) on
Is there anything you wish you had known or prepared for before you left Charlottesville, VA?
Each day was a challenge and we faced countless obstacles but on a trip like this, looking back I wouldn’t change a single thing.
If someone wants to contribute to your journey or support the One Love Foundation, what should they do?
It’s not too late to donate! We just finished the trip on the 7th and the Go Fund Me is still open to donations. It can be found at gofundme.com/1onelove1
Also you can check out the pictures from our trip on Instagram at onelove_crosscountry
What advice would you give to anyone looking to do a similar trip or other momentous event?
To start a big trip like ours the key is to start planning at least a 3 months ahead. Get a little more organized each day and chip away at it. You most likely are not the first person to do this trip, so use blogs and videos to give yourself an idea of what to pack and what to expect.
If you want to do it for a foundation and raise money, make sure you reach out to them early and give them plenty of time to raise awareness about your trip. Keep donors updated through social media throughout your trip to help the donations to continue.
Once on the trip, follow your plan for a general outline but go with the flow day to day. We soon realized that not much went according to plan but it was alway a good thing to have one to start. Try your hardest to stay positive and have an open mind.
Anything else you would like people to know about your journey or the One Love Foundation?
At the end of their journey, Mike and Ryan not only made some unforgettable memories together, they also helped raise over $15k for the One Love Foundation. Huge congratulations to Mike and Ryan for making a tremendous impact on the foundation and inspiring us all.
“Everything in moderation, including moderation” -Oscar Wilde Thank you to everyone who supported us throughout the trip and donated to the One Love Foundation! Please continue to donate! #sanfrancisco #join1love #nowthatslove
A photo posted by Mike & Ryan (@onelove_crosscountry) on