The mindset of someone suffering from cancer is vital. Falling into the role of a victim is easy to do if one doesn't set their sights on something bigger than themselves.
Cancer is dark. A black and white movie, no color. From the darkness and loneliness of cancer, Justin felt a burning need to set his sights on a goal that was as far removed from the brutality of the disease. Something that would change his mindset from defense to offense, and lift him to a place not related to cancer. Corsica has always been a love of Justin’s and represented the antithesis of cancer. Blue waters, camaraderie, wine, and laughter. An addict to the bike, and a subscriber to his cycling family Rapha's belief of “glory through suffering”, Corsica was the ultimate escape.
Justin's love of the bike runs deep and revealed itself during his treatments. Even if for only six minutes of the day, he would ride. That was his escape. That was him telling cancer, that it was not in charge of his day, or the determinant of what he would and would not do. "That time escaping the cancer process was a kin to seven hours in the Dolomites. It was a sanctuary where I could clear my head from the pain and fear.”
At a dark time during his radiation and chemo, Justin's good friend and Thrivor co-founder Adam Davis, showed him a photograph. The image was of a lone cyclist riding a never ending mountain, and the message was that whilst the mountain is brutally long, it does finish every time....and this time in Justin's life will finish too. As an added piece of encouragement, Adam told Justin when he finished chemo, they would return to Corsica where they had ridden together the year before.
Inspired on so many levels, Justin posted this picture and it went viral. The photograph was shot by the great cycling photographer Jered Gruberof, who soon became aware of Justin's story, and a wonderful friendship was established. In October of 2014, Rapha, Jered, Adam, Justin, and Justin's family, all went to Corsica on a bike ride that would close a chapter on a dark place in Justin’s life, and celebrate what lay ahead. At the top of every mountain, they would pause and kiss the ground to rejoice in the beautiful, but oh-so-temporary, gift of life. Throughout the ride, Jered captured awe-inspiring photos that documented a world as distant from cancer as possible. In staying true to Justin's mindset throughout his journey, Jered's images begin in black-and-white and end in color.