The First of Many

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How many bananas can you eat in a day?

How many kilometeres can you ride your bike in a day?

I got a good idea of the answer to both of these questions on Saturday, June 23rd, 2018 (around 13 bananas and close to 400km). It was my first-ever Ride2Survive and the whole day is right up there in the list of best days of my life. When I signed up, I thought the day would be on my list of hardest days in my life, but honestly, it was so powerful, so deeply moving and so much pedalling, that 'hard' only crossed my mind a couple times (usually the last 10km before a rest stop). 

I'm from Edmonton, Alberta and a lot of people asked me if I knew what I was in for with the climbing and descending that the ride from Kelowna to Delta has en route. I trained inside all winter and joined the R2S team in Vancouver for one coffee ride when I was visiting my family who live there. Despite living relatively far away, I truly felt like part of the team on ride day and I felt pretty well prepared. 

Ride day also gave me a sense of how truly small the world is. I rode beside people who are fathers of kids I went to highscool with (looking at you Ray). I met people who knew my friends in Edmonton and Canmore (looking at you, Scott). I saw "The" Al McNabb who's son I went to Elemetary school with (Hi Kevin!). I connected with Nathalie who was riding for very similar reasons as me. AND I met many more amazing individuals. When you connect with this many people, it's bittersweet. You're grateful to meet them or see them again, but you also feel a little gutted that you're all here because of a devestating disease. 

When we stopped in Britton Creek, I wasn't sure I wanted to continue. I thought I needed to take a leg off. I wasn't my best self in that moment (a combination of overwhelmed and slightly hypoglycemic makes for a not a super fun to be around Briana) but something Kerry said to me earlier really stuck with me - "This ride is NOT about you" - it never was about me. It's about Cancer. It's about research and it's about community. I sucked it up got on my bike and did the thing I feared the most - going DOWN the hill. Remembering the reason 'why we ride' helped me get through the day. Despite being from 'flat' Edmonton, I was immensely prepared for the headwinds and crosswinds (because what we lack in hills we make up for in wind out here on the prairires). I also found that going UP the hills wasn't nearly as terrifying as going DOWN them. I actually cried after descending through the snowsheds - just some of many tears caused by a range of emotions that I experienced that day. 

Now that it's all over and I'm back home in Edmonton I feel immensely grateful and really quite small. Looking at the photos of our group and hearing that we've raised over $600,000 this year for the Cancer society makes me feel like a very tiny piece of a beautiful and complicated puzzle. Thank you Vicki, Kerry, and the entire R2S team for making me feel welcome and for allowing me the privelage and honour of participating in this event. Let's keep fundraising, let's keep doing this - the cause really, really matters. It's immensely important.

Thank you and I'll be back.