Bungee jumping Soca YouTube
With its stunning blue color, the Soča River is one of the most beautiful rivers in the world. Flowing through Slovenia and Italy, it is home to the world’s premiere kayak competitions and adrenaline junkies who can bungee jump off its many bridges.
For Irena Jevscek Zdravo Gibanje, a newly Certified Spinning Instructor at the time, the river bank was a perfect place to celebrate the first anniversary of her official Spinning® studio in the small town of Nova Gorica, right on the border between Slovenia and Italy. She moved 12 Spinner® bikes from her studio to the rooftop of an activity center and invited three local Spinning instructors to lead rides.
News about Irena’s event quickly spread, forcing her to double the registrations and move 13 more bikes to the rooftop of the Kajak Center. The first ever SOČA Open Air Spinning Marathon was a tremendous success, so the following year, with the event grew to include 49 riders. The third year, Irena received 69 applications to join her ride, all through sharing on Facebook. She also received many applications from riders outside of Slovenia.
That same year, Irena also met women living in Samarijan, a shelter for women who escaped domestic violence. After she learned about the abuse that they suffered, Irena decided that the proceeds from the SOČA Open Air Spinning Marathon would benefit the Samarijan house. With this new found purpose, she planned to make the fourth year bigger than ever.
With now 85 bikes and riders coming in from all over Europe, SOČA Open Air became the biggest Spinning event in Slovenia. The event raised enough money to purchase essential items for the Samarijan house including a refrigerator, washing machine, freezer, microwave, cutlery, plates, cups, towels, glasses and plenty of groceries. When Irena went to deliver the appliances and goods to the women of the shelter, she noticed that there was no air conditioner. This became next year’s goal.
The above video was made by a 12-year-old girl who lived at the shelter with her mother. Thanks to the help of Samarijan, she and her mother are now back to living a normal, independent life, and they wanted to help share all the good that Irena’s annual Spinning event brings to the Samarijan home.
Irena also received an email from a donation of 55 euros from a donor in Hungary that was unable to attend the event that year. “In these two cases, my eyes couldn’t hold back the tears, ” says Irena, “I’ve decided more than ever to help again, because this feeling is priceless!”
For the fifth edition of the event, 90% of the riders will be coming from outside Slovenia. The event brings in more and more tourism to Nova Gorica and attention to the great food and local vineyards. Irena says the setting makes this event a “great weekend package.”
Irena is now a STAR 3 Spinning Instructor, which is now her full time and only job that she loves and wakes up excited for everyday. Next year, the event will be a marathon 12-hour ride with several members of the Spinning Master Instructor team leading rides. Help the women and children of Samarijan and ride next year!