10 years.

Age 41 to age 50.

1/5 of my life so far.

However I look at it, it seems like a very long time and an eyeblink all at once. If someone had told me before my first ride I'd still be doing this 10 years later, I'm not sure I'd have believed them. This year was hard with the headwinds, but it's ALWAYS hard. I struggled with the aches and pains, but who didn't? I spent as much of my day as I could trying to work for the team, and as anyone that heard me at the end would confirm, I wore my voice right out. I'll bet some of you weren't disappointed by that. ;^) On my way home I predicted that when I woke up on Sunday I'd sound like Barry White in a walker...I was close on that description, but a wheelchair might have been more appropriate, at least for a while. I spent Sunday with my family that came all the way from Campbell River to make sure Siobhan and I got home safely.

Thank you all for reminding me once again why it is all so important. For sharing your stories. For giving of yourselves. I've only really done a few truly important things in my whole life - and this is definitely right up near the top.

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I've been asked to post this here; this was my FB Post. I'm a bit of a techninolocal simpleton, so I tend not to venture outside FB...but I figured out my user name and password, and can now post:

My 10th R2S is in the books. This was Michael’s 5th as a rider, plus two others volunteering. It was Aaliyah’s first on crew.

This was probably my most special, especially given that up to about two weeks ago I didn’t expect to be riding. Since last year’s R2S, I’ve taken time away from any form of racing or structured training. Too much going on at home and the business to stuff anything else into the stress box. That said, moving to Whistler means a lot of days on skis or mountain bikes or a nice open water swim. Finding a reasonable level of fitness wasn’t an issue. Spending sufficient time on an actual road bike was. It hasn’t been on the road really except for a short couple of spins in Fort Langley. Nothing like the training needed for R2S.

I told Michael I’d ride if he could raise $5K for us as a team. Each rider needs to raise $2500.00. I have always been a reluctant fundraiser. I’ll tell my story and the story that is R2S, and hope for the best. For some folks it comes easy, for me, never easy. I can ride a bike, though, and help other riders and better fundraisers to get through the hard day that is R2S. I always go in with that purpose.

Apparently Michael is a natural. He spent 50 hours 50 feet in the air in a scissor lift with two other R2S dudes, and together with a solid team on the ground they raised $20K. He was non-stop talking to the crowd through a loudspeaker, engaging, funny, and basically did something I’d never feel comfortable doing myself. After that weekend, it was pretty obvious I’d be riding.

The original plan was for me to work on crew with my oldest daughter, Aaliyah, and Michael’s friend Amanda. This meant I was leaving them to their own devices. It was special having Aaliyah with us. She has been busy at her dance recitals the last 10 years, unable to participate. Plus, she was too young to do it without a parent. This year, she’s 16, hard working and independent. She got herself a Kunzli pass to volunteer this year.

Aaliyah has never sat in the rider meeting the night before, and she experienced what we all do- hearing stories of loved ones taken too soon by cancers. It’s incredibly emotional, you learn about some of the horror stories your teammates have lived through, and it brings the whole team- riders and crew- together. It hit her hard, just like it hit Michael hard 7 years ago.

I had a great day on the bike. Before I knew it, we were pedaling into the last leg and I still felt great, finishing off another 400KM day by the time we rolled into the welcome home at 11:30. I just did my normal thing; looked for people to help, and killed the long day chatting with anyone next to me. Somehow, either my fitness or experience in this event, got me through...but...I also think it was the pride I had in my children. Watching Michael lead a group of adults many years beyond his 18, help others, and generally ride like a man worthy of the radio he wore was very peaceful. Seeing Aaliyah every stop, feeding riders, helping others, spraying them down with sun screen or bug spray, and working her ass off for the cause was just something I looked forward to seeing every couple of hours. Mostly, I’m happy that she has now seen for herself why I’ve had to miss those recitals. She understood before, but now she’s lived it. She has a huge heart.

I’ve always said it takes a village. I’m very grateful to Vicki and Kerry Kunzli for allowing my kids to be involved in such meaningful ways. Michael has grown up under the watchful eyes and strong mentorship of so many great leaders at R2S. Kerry, Vicki, Emilio, Rich, Surinder...an endless list. Aaliyah is now getting a taste of the same Kool-Aid. R2S is some pretty damn good Kool-Aid.

Oh, as of today we are at $615,000.00 Not bad for a band of 120 riders and a solid volunteer crew. 100% goes to research. Not one penny taken for administration. Research saves lives, and I do this for the next generation. My kids’ generation. Thanks to all who donated.

~Mike Meade Sr.

 

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Today is Monday June 25th and I'm at work, but all I can think about is the day of June 23rd. I know that for the next few days the Ride2Survive film will play over and over again in my mind. The ride is over now, but the joy and happiness in my heart will stay with me for a long time, long enough to want to do this again next year, and the year after that.

I am probably the only one in the Ride2Survive history that had to deal with two flat tires before the ride has even started. It turned out that the brand new tire on my rear wheel has decided it didn't want to do this ride, and it took me two tubes to figure that out. It would have been a lot more stressful if it happened during the ride, so I'm happy it turned out like that.

Last Saturday I was part of the crew between Kelowna and Hope, and I was a rider from Hope to Delta.
This gave me the opportunity to see this event from different angles, and to better understand how complex it is.
The crew was absolutely fantastic. It was amazing to see a lot of people working as one, efficient yet joyful. How often do you get the chance to meet people for the first time, and feel right away as if we're all part of the same family?

I also made a new friend. I had the chance to ride two legs from Merritt to Britton Creek in one of the police cars with Constable Mike Whiteley from Delta Police. It was fascinating to see the effort and the focus required to keep everyone safe from 3:30 AM until midnight, and it was a priviledge for me to get to know the wonderful person behind the uniform. Thank you Mike!

I feel fortunate to be part of the R2S family, and I want to express my gratitude to everyone who makes this event possible, in no particular order:

  • to our donors and our families, because without your generous support and your patience, this ride would not exist
  • to the crew, because without your work to drive the support vehicles, to fix mechanical problems, to prepare the food and keep an eye on each rider and make sure they have everything they need all the time, to make sure we're all healthy and stay that way, the ride wouldn't exist
  • to the police, because without your protection the ride wouldn't exist
  • to the riders, because without your dedication and hard work not only during the ride, but mostly during the months preceding it with all the training and fundraising challenges, the ride wouldn't exist
  • to the Kunzli family, because without you the ride would not exist
My words could never make justice to Ride2Survive, as the emotion and the sense of accomplishment that we all feel during the ride, regardless of our contribution, are not easy to describe.
All I know is that I can't wait for next year's ride, when I'll get the chance to experience these feelings once again.

For Dad, for Anca, and everyone else.

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The Ride2Survive - it's not about me, it's not about you, it's not about him, it's not about her, it's not about the riders, it's not about the crew, It's about all of US, working and fighting TOGETHER as a TEAM, as a FAMILY.

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