When life knocks you down, how do you respond?

It’s a question that our CEO Jitka Borowick faced this summer after attempting to complete her second straight Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb.

Though she went into the race feeling confident, Jitka soon began to feel something else – dizziness and fatigue. By the time she reached mile three, she couldn’t go any further, getting off her bike until ambulances arrived.

It represented a first for Jitka, an active cyclist who started training this winter with the goal of placing in the top 10 for women. She attributed her medical spell to Prednisone, a medicine that had been prescribed to her earlier in the week to treat a bout of poison ivy.

“I was definitely disappointed,” Jitka said. “But some of our biggest tests come after we’ve faced major disappointment in our lives.”

And so Jitka decided to get back on her bike last month to participate in the 27th Annual Last Gasp, a one-day ride from Sandwich to Provincetown that raises funds for several local nonprofits.

Jitka’s number for the race, 170, was the same one she had for the Mt. Washington hill climb. Some may have viewed it as an ominous sign. “I viewed it as a positive,” Jitka said. “I believed that the best was going to happen, not only for me, but for every rider.”

Tackling the Next Challenge

By finishing first among all females and third overall, Jitka proved that one bad race does not define a person. What defines a person is whether they allow that bad race – or incident – to weigh them down or whether they choose to move forward and tackle the next challenge.

Jitka chose to move forward.

The best part was that Jitka was able to use the ride to raise over $800 for WE CAN, a nonprofit that empowers women on Cape Cod by giving them the support and resources to achieve self-sufficiency, stability and access to opportunity.

WE CAN fielded the largest team for this year’s Last Gasp; team members raised more than $31,000 for its programs.

The organization is one that Jitka has long had an affinity for; shortly after launching Cleangreen, she started volunteering there as a mentor for other women in need of guidance.

Jitka has continued to give back to WE CAN, running the Andrea Holden 5K every November the past eight years, helping raise funds and awareness for its work. “Having an organization like WE CAN that supports women on Cape Cod is very important,” said Jitka.

Sometimes when we get knocked down, we get back up, not only for ourselves, but for others who need our support. “Yes, Mt. Washington didn’t go well,” said Jitka. “But a few weeks later, I had an amazing day and an amazing result, and I was helping our community at the same time. I forgot about that bad experience and focused on the next thing, and I gave it my best.”