May 4, 2023
In June, we’ll be kicking off yet another T200 bike ride to raise awareness for our commitment to employee wellness! Here to tell the story of the T200 is Trilogy’s founder by day, biker by night – Randy Bufford.
Wellness has always been a huge focus for Trilogy. Does any of this come from your own wellness journey?
I can’t take credit for it. It took some persistence or perseverance (one of our SHIP acronyms!). John Eckman, our VP of HR at the time, essentially told me “Randy, if we care as much about our employees as we say we do, wellness needs to be at the core of what we’re doing.”
After doing some research (and having several discussions), we were ready to launch our first wellness initiative. Then Spring Meeting came.
What happened at Spring Meeting?
We had everyone together at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, and our wellness speaker was just about to kick off the event. We had this great Olympics theme – me running up with the torch, team members decked out in workout gear, the whole room booming with energy – then, right before taking the stage, the speaker begins telling me about this bike ride he’d taken from coast to coast.
I wasn’t about to do all of that – but I suggested that we meet up in Indy during his next trip and I’d bike with him for a while.
Then we gave him the mic. And he told the crowd that I was going to do the entire journey with him.
I bet you loved that. Did you end up traveling the country together?
Laughs No! But the idea of this big, commemorative bike ride stuck with me. It wasn’t long before we were all rallying behind the idea of bringing it to our campuses and using it as an opportunity to highlight our wellness initiatives.
How did you land on ‘T200?’
Well, biking 100 miles didn’t seem like enough – and 300 seemed like too much. So we settled on 200 and began mapping it out over three days – three 70-mile bike rides that would have us pedaling from campus-to-campus. I was thrilled.
By genetics, I’m a heavy person. I know – that’s the all-time excuse – but it is true. I come from a big Norwegian bloodline, so it’d been a battle for me. So I jogged, ran, did 10K’s – and then one day, I got well over 300 pounds. That’s what pushed me towards biking.
The Trilogy 200, or ‘T200’, sees Trilogy employees and partners embarking on a 200-mile bike ride across multiple Trilogy communities.
Do you think biking helps you mentally as well as physically?
Absolutely. It takes the edge off without having to crack open a Bud Light – and its why exercise is such a vital part of our culture of caring. It’s an opportunity for us to check in, lift each other up, and help each other feel good. After all, finding a positive way to feel good is what we’re all racing towards. There’s nothing selfish about taking care of yourself.
How have you seen the T200 evolve over the years?
In so many ways! We’ve brought in health fairs, introduced Wellness Week events for all campuses, and are currently challenging each campus to do a .2 mile walk companywide. Additionally, we’ve introduced the capability for people to be able to track our riders via mobile app.
We also continue seeing more riders with rich and diverse backgrounds signing up to participate, which we always love seeing as a reflection of our workforce. To drive home how much we care, we have to see ourselves reflected in everything that we do.
What are some of your favorite core T200 memories?
Looking back, I picture the cheering, the turnout, and the residents. Small things take on a whole new life – we’ll run into a snake on the road, and by the end of the ride, it’s about 20 feet long and there’s this entire folklore behind it. In the day-to-day chaos, it’s the little moments of connection like that that stick with you.
I think we’ve heard that story around the office. What about wellness testimonials? Are there any success stories that left an impact on you?
There was one woman from one of our Wellbrooke campuses who gave the most beautiful, impassionate speech about her wellness journey. She’d had an accident at home – and as single mom of three and as a caregiver, it was something that changed her to the point where she started walking, which led to jogging, which led to running, which led to her first 10k. She read us words of inspiration that her boys had written her before the 10k, and when I tell you there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. We were hanging on to every word.
That’s incredible. How about from the resident side? Do you have any stories that celebrate our seniors?
A few years ago, we had a family from Smith’s Mill Health Campus tell us that Trilogy wellness brought their dad back to them. There’s no higher praise than that.
The crazy thing is – people don’t think that happens. One of our Medicaid commissioners once spent the night in one of our communities and said, “I’ve been to a lot of places – why would you say Medicaid patients stay with you…they all look so healthy?” And that’s where the nuance lies – because when you’re living in isolation without the support that comes from community, you’re more likely to have health issues. But when you come here, you get your meds on time, you have easy access to healthcare, and you have the added benefit of socializing with people that you care about. That’s always going to yield results.
Where do you see the T200 heading in the next five years?
Well, I don’t see it being a thousand-person ride or anything like that – because the numbers really aren’t what it’s all about. It’s about finding these extraordinary moments of connection that we could all use more of nowadays – and holding each other accountable towards becoming the best versions of ourselves. This is the commitment we’re making our team members – showing that we care and saying to each of them, “Hey – I’m happy that you’re here.”
Stay tuned to Trilogy’s social media pages and blog posts for more information about our upcoming T200 – including routes, rider bios, and updates from the road!
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