Mason and Lia Geiger have a dream to help raise money and awareness for the House of Hope, an orphanage in the Dominican Republic.
This dream took the Geigers, who are residents of Warsaw, on an incredible cross-country adventure to document the journey of Tour Divide Riders Tim Devlin, Brent Wildman, Josh Wildman and Dave Wildman. Devlin, who biked the entire Tour Divide, rode from Antelope Wells, N.M. to Banff, Alberta, Canada with the Wildmans each joining in for different sections of the ride.
The journey was filled with avalanches, dangerous cliffside drives and life-changing encounters. Though the 2,076-mile journey (which equaled more than a 150,000-foot elevational climb) has come to a close for the Geigers and Tour Divide Riders, their mission is still just getting started.
The original plan for the trip was that the Geigers, whose non-profit film company, Film For The Maker, which creates films for local groups, charities and benefits, would drive alongside Tour Divide riders Dave Wildman, director of 2nd Mile Adventures and Tim Devlin, an eighth grade teacher at Edgewood Middle School. The cyclists, both from Winona Lake, anticipated riding an average of 80 to 90 miles a day and planned to be entirely self-sufficient, carrying their tents and food along with them. The Geigers would live and work from a newly equipped van to create a blog as well as photograph and film the experience — all to raise money for the House of Hope.
Plans changed dramatically within the first 2 days of the trip, however, when Wildman, exhausted and dehydrated from the intense heat of the desert, was taken to the ER. Wildman was given an IV and pain meds and spent a day resting in Cuba, N.M. The group faced a new uncertainty about the likelihood of finishing the race. After attempting to continue, Wildman decided to return home to finish recovering.
Though things looked bleak for the now solo rider, Tim Devlin, a replacement companion for Devlin arrived to save the day. Dave’s father, Brent Wildman, 62, flew out to ride alongside Devlin. Brent was later joined by his oldest son, Josh Wildman, 37, who rode for a duration of the trip. Brent rode alongside Devlin, keeping pace as the two traveled through Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and finally to the finish line in Banff, Alberta, Canada. Devlin and Brent Wildman crossed the finish line at 1:57 p.m. Thursday, July 10.
Although the 31-day trip is finished and the Geigers, who acted as both a support team for the riders as well as a documenting team, have returned home, both Lia and Mason admit they are already ready to return to the work they love: filming and photography. The couple endured truly dangerous drives through mountain paths and normally untraveled roads, and went long periods without showers, hot meals or warm beds, but both state the experience was fulfilling in both a spiritual and personal sense.
“I was the only female on the trip and I had something to prove because a lot of people back home didn’t know if I could make it,” said Lia with a laugh. “All of us have our own story of growth on this trip and that growth was all personal to each of us. We all grew, but separately in our own ways.”
With the Tour Divide wrapped, the Geigers are currently making plans to continue their mission. They will travel to the Dominican Republic alongside riders of the Tour Divide to document the House of Hope. The Geigers noted they want the orphanage to be the focal point of their documentary.
“Our goal in this mission was ultimately to raise money for the Dominican safe house, but through it God has revealed to us a much bigger mission. We have brought a community together, ministered to riders along the way, shared testimonies, shared our mission, and grown physically, mentally, emotionally and in our faith. It has been amazing to see how a simple idea can transform and change the lives of so many,” stated Lia.
Once the Geigers return, they will delve into completing the editing work on their movie and preparing for a photo gallery documenting both the Tour Divide and the trip to the Dominican Republic. All proceeds raised from the the photographs and film will benefit the House of Hope.
To read the complete tale of the group’s trip, visit Film For The Maker’s blog, which was written by Lia Geiger. For further information on the House of Hope or how to donate and/or sponsor a child, visit http://www.2ndmilemissions.org/Get-Involved.html.