Have you ever wished there were more hours in the day? When we have a big goal on our list or many responsibilities on our plate, a mere 24 hours might not sound like a lot of time to get ahead. This month, we’re highlighting a rider who will dare you to think otherwise. He just completed an epic 24-hour ride, covering 250 miles and connecting with friends and family along the way! Not to mention, he’s one of the most supportive, positive, and welcoming members of our community of riders. Meet our June 2022 Rider of the Month: Clay Whiting.
Clay and his wife of nearly 20 years Patti currently live in San Diego, California. Clay (and brother Bryce – yes, our Chief Enthusiast Officer) grew up in Hampden, Massachusetts. He is a dad to two daughters, Samantha and Kayla. Clay has been practicing medicine for over 25 years, both as a civilian and an officer in the U.S. Navy.
Growing up, Clay played all of the sports – soccer, basketball, baseball. He discovered his love for running in high school, joining his track and cross county teams. From 5ks to full marathons, his participation in the sport continued into adulthood! Clay is an accomplished marathoner with a PR of 3:05 and multiple Boston and NYC Marathons under his belt.
Bryce introduced Clay to ElliptiGO bikes when they were first being developed.
Clay told us, “I’ll never forget hearing about and then seeing the prototypes that Brent and Bryan created and fell absolutely in love with the long-stride 8S. My wife bought me my first ElliptiGO bike for Father’s Day in 2010.”
He continued, “I absolutely fell in love with the zero impact concept and the fact that I could attain the runner’s high on the bike. I have been a believer and advocate for ElliptiGO ever since – and it has nothing to do with knowing Brent and Bryan, or my brother and sis-in-law working for the company.”
From marathon training to weight loss journeys (Clay lost 35lbs in 2019), ElliptiGO bikes have been a key part of Clay’s health and fitness for over a decade! Clay and Patti’s fleet includes two 8S elliptical bikes, plus an original SUB and an MSUB. They also have the Fluid 365 Trainer, which Clay uses for indoor training and to get in some movement during virtual meetings!
Clay is an active member of our community. He is a member of the Global ElliptiGO Riders Club and our Strava club. He has ridden in many cycling events and participated in our annual Rally and Elliptical Cycling World Championships!
As an emergency room doctor, Clay has been part of the fight against COVID for the last three years – putting his life on the line to care for those who were impacted by the virus.
“The stress levels were palpable in our daily lives at levels never experienced before…. We were at war with a virus that was odorless, invisible, and deadly,” Clay said. “On December 31st, 2021, after two years of working the frontlines and having led and cared for greater than 7000 patients myself and greater than 63,000 patients in my 18 plus years at Scripps Mercy Emergency Department… I had to admit to myself I was burned out as I lay in bed with COVID.”
“I was sick for six days with a headache, body aches, extreme fatigue, brain fog and it was during this week that I vowed to re-define Clay Whiting, MD, and start a new journey of health that fully encompassed the whole person – MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT – and as I lay in bed that week I made a commitment to myself and my family to embark on a new journey in 2022 to beat back the burnout of the real human toll of suffering by working the frontlines.”
One of the goals that emerged from this renewed commitment to self? Tackling a 24-hour ElliptiGO ride.
With help from ElliptiGO world-record holder Idai Makaya, Clay began training to complete the National 24-Hour Challenge in Middleville, Michigan in June of this year. Just two weeks before the event, bad news arrived: the race was being canceled for safety reasons related to traffic control and onsite medical support.
What now? Clay had a choice to make – would he let the time, effort, and frankly the excitement he was feeling about this epic ride go? He spoke with Idai and began looking for other events. That’s when they decided Clay should create an event of his own – completing the ride all around his home of San Diego.
“Idai said to me, ‘Clay, you MUST DO this and you need to do it on Friday, June 17th… in three days! I will not judge you if you ultimately decide not to, but you are ready and you have the support of your family. No excuses! Doing it on Friday will allow you to be fully present with your family on Father’s Day. TRUST in the process… JUST DO IT!’ And so I made the commitment…I would ride on Friday and see exactly where the journey would take me.”
He was restless the night before the ride. Although he intended to start at 6 a.m., he was wide awake at 2:30 a.m. He climbed out of bed and suited up. He was on the road at 3:15 a.m. Clay recalled, “I rolled my Meb 8S out to the street in front of the house. I took a photo of the beautiful night sky and the moon, said a brief prayer, and off I went on my journey.”
Clay road back and forth all over north San Diego County – logging miles from Oceanside to the north and Torrey Pines to the south! His route included the San Diego coastline, the Oceanside Harbor, and the San Luis Rey Mission. He listened to podcast episodes and his favorite music. Along the way, he was joined by friends, family, and riding buddies like Bill Pinnell, Keri Clemmens, Jim Cremer, Jane LeGore, and, of course, Bryce! His mom and his wife acted as his SAG team along the way as well. He finished the ride at his home, reaching 250 total miles in the final seconds!
“My mom was still following me in the SAG vehicle the last 10 miles and witnessed me giving my all to reach the 250. So thankful to have her out cheering and taking photos and video so I may never forget that final half-hour and the moment I had succeeded and finished the 24 hour challenge at my house!”
So, what’s next, Clay?
“Time will only tell,” he said. “Right now, I’m honestly trying to do a better job of living in the present moment each day, seeing all the blessings in my daily life, expressing gratitude and living the best version of myself. I am managing all of life’s relationships to the best of my abilities…. and really developing a renewed FAITH over FEAR!”
Clay shared some beautiful sentiments after finishing the ride:
“As I reflect on this 24-hour challenge, I am full of HOPE and gratitude! The ElliptiGO elliptical bike (in combination with the added bonus of the FLUID 365 trainer) and the Stand Up Bike series are the BEST cardiovascular and mental health fitness products on the market!
I am blessed to report that completing this challenge for myself has given me a renewed confidence that if I surround myself with the right circle of influence and put the time, energy, and commitment towards a goal I can continue to DREAM BIG!
The days following the completion of my 24 hr challenge have been truly amazing …how it has given me a new sense of renewed clarity, focus, and goals to strive to live the BEST version of self in Mind, Body and Spirit.
Every human being I know has been impacted by the global pandemic and the fallout is real on so many levels. I want my fellow healthcare workers to know that you all are truly heroes for stepping up in times of uncertainty and adversity to do your job and care for our fellow humans with love, respect, compassion, humility, and comfort.
I want to empower and encourage other frontline providers who may have or are experiencing burnout to challenge themselves to seek recovery through healthy outlets (a whole person approach) of fitness, nutrition, coaching/counseling, and spiritual self-discovery.
In conclusion, I want to publicly THANK my wife Patti and my two daughters Samantha and Kayla for all the understanding, love, and support they have given me, to do the incredibly challenging yet most meaningful work, I believe a career in Emergency Medicine provides (I know the sacrifice my crazy schedule places on each of you). Together we will continue to DREAM BIG and I believe the BEST is yet to COME! To my mom and bro, I so appreciate you always believing in me and supporting me throughout the many challenges in my life. I could not have done the 24hr without you both. To my Super Senior ElliptiGO Dad, know that I love and miss you and am grateful for all your encouragement. To my extended family, I am blessed to have you all in my life, and I hope that our relationships continue to thrive and grow.
To the ElliptiGO Team and my fellow ElliptiGO riders who have found the power of the very special ElliptiGO Community …let’s continue to spread the word of these incredible fitness creations and encourage others to discover the love and passion for impact-free fitness that will forever enhance your mind, body and spirit!”
Clay, we’re simply blown away. We’re so proud of all that you’ve accomplished as a part of this journey. You are an extraordinary example of care – caring for your family, friends, patients, our community, and yourself! Thank you for sharing your story with us, and reminding us to make the most of every day – because there is so much we can accomplish and so many people we can inspire in just 24 hours.
Contact ElliptiGO with nominations to Rider of the Month or share your own story. It may just be the next feature!