03/14/2014 12:14 EDT | Updated 05/14/2014 05:59 EDT

Clara Hughes begins 'Big Ride' to promote mental health

Clara Hughes is ready to ride.

The Canadian Winter and Summer Olympic athlete started "Clara's Big Ride" on Friday afternoon in Toronto, with the 110-day bike ride aiming to bring awareness to mental health issues.

"It almost feels like I'm getting ready for an Olympics," she told CBC's Nancy Wilson before leaving Maple Leaf Square at noon for Hamilton, Ont. "This is going to be an epic journey, the ride of my life, and it's all for awareness of mental health, breaking down the stigma when it comes to mental illnesses."

Hughes will travel some 12,000 kilometres and visit 95 communities across the country, with the trip ending in Ottawa on Canada Day.

Watch the video above for more.