What does it take for a champion to succeed?
This was the question in Jesse Mullet’s mind as he cycled up a steep incline toward the mountain’s peak. The rain splashed against his face, but he barely felt the cold as he focused on the rhythmic pump of the pedals.
It was the second day of the 10-day cycling journey, Waterfalls to Waves, and the journey had already been taxing. On the first day alone, the team was hit with pouring rain and multiple popped tires. Despite the challenges, Jesse and his team persevered. The goal was to cycle from Niagara Falls to Key West, Florida, to raise awareness and funds for Door of Hope Ministries, a nonprofit dedicated to providing a safe haven for women of abuse.
The Water to Waves Charity Ride kicked off on Oct. 28. A team of five riders left Niagara Falls on their way to Key West, Florida. That team completed their goal on Nov. 6, biking 110 hours across 1,817 miles.
Among the team of riders was Joe Mullet, founder of nuCamp and father to Jesse. Though the journey was difficult at times, Joe said he had no regrets about joining the mission.
“It was the most intense 10 days I’ve ever experienced in my life, I think,” Joe said. “But it was one of the best, I think, too.”
A dedicated ride
The Waterfalls to Waves Charity Ride was dedicated to the late Mel Mullet, Jesse’s grandfather, who passed away in 2020. Joe and Mel were an inspiration to Jesse. The two men proved what a vision and hard work can accomplish.
“They started this company,” Jesse said of nuCamp. “It’s because of their tenacity and perseverance. That’s why we’re still here.”
nuCamp was a major sponsor of the ride, providing a donation to the cause and campers for the riders to sleep in throughout the trip. The 10-day trip was one that tested physical and mental endurance as the riders encountered obstacles in the form of long riding hours, inclement weather, and flat tires — 35 in total throughout the trip.
Within the first five miles of the trip, it began to pour, and the temperature dropped 15 degrees. Two miles later, the first tire popped.
“Right off the bat, we were hit with all this stuff that we hadn’t planned for,” Jesse said. “We kind of knew it would happen, but we hoped that it wouldn’t.”
It’s when those obstacles hit, Jesse said, that doubt and fear start to creep in. Mental toughness was what got him through the ride, Jesse explained. He referred to David Cook’s book, “The Mindset of a Champion.”
In the book, David Cook explores how to succeed despite extraordinary pressure. That pressure leads to doubt, fear, and anger, which he calls “interference.”
Jesse experienced interference as he pedaled up mountains, changing elevation by 12,000 feet in one day. With the rough start the team had, he began to wonder if he made the right decision to do this ride.
Doubt. This is it. You’ll probably never make it to day 10.
Fear. What if we don’t succeed?
Anger. Why did you want to do this?
“Those voices of interference are really loud sometimes,” Jesse admits. “We want to perform to the best of our ability, but if we can embrace the pressure, we can script our success and persevere.”
There were times when uncertainty also crept into Joe’s mind. At 64 years old, he questioned why he would embark on a grueling 10-day journey across the country. But he reminded himself it had always been a dream of his. He thought of the word “resilience” and what it means to keep going.
“Resilience is what gets us to the next level,” Joe said. “I want to give up sometimes, but there are people who come around you, and they rally you. How we encouraged each other was amazing.”
A turning point
Day five was the longest of the journey. It was a 16-hour day navigating 243 miles. Despite the long day, it was a turning point on the trip. Not only were the riders halfway, but they found their collective rhythm and were working together to help one another succeed.
“The teamwork there was incredible,” Jesse said. “When we can pick up for each other — it’s so powerful what can happen. That will stay with me for a long time.”
On the sixth day, the riders arrived in Savannah, Georgia, at Southland RV, another major sponsor of the ride and a nuCamp dealer.
“By the time I got done, I felt so good,” Joe recalled. “The sounds. The noises around you. The birds that are singing. Everything that you can hear in the silence of biking. It’s another world.”
Though the journey was long and cold, the team was greeted with the warmth of the sun when they arrived in Florida. The final day of the ride encompassed 134 miles from Miami to Key West.
“It was a great experience, really,” Joe recounted. “I was told before I left by my fellow riders; we want you to remember one thing: it’s not about biking 1,800 miles. It’s more than that. Just let your presence be there.”
The team mentality
For Jesse, one of the biggest takeaways from the journey was the teamwork it took to complete the challenge. It was not a feat completed by one man. It was a journey that took the strength and endurance of a team all working toward a shared goal.
“The feeling that the whole team had … just the oneness — the teamwork, the team mentality,” Jesse explained. “We were all connected. That’s what I want to leave you with.”
Jesse compared this team of riders to the nuCamp team members at the December company breakfast. At nuCamp, we have a shared mission of building exceptional RVs for extraordinary customers. We strive to put quality at the forefront of everything we do and to care genuinely for the products we create, the people we build them for, and our fellow team members. Without teamwork, resilience, and hard work, we cannot succeed, he said.
“Let’s lean on each other through the next couple of months,” Jesse said. “Without team, there’s no win.”
Though the ride may be over, Jesse’s mission to support Door of Hope Ministries is not finished. If you would like to be a part of this noble cause, please visit waterfallstowaves.com.