Rich Gestle
1 hr · 

Well it was an epic day as always. 105 riders plus 75 support crew, police, and EHS made the trek from Kelowna to Delta. It was a bit longer as we got in at 11:50pm due to some wicked winds from Pennask all the way past Hope. Let me tell you those winds were stiff!!! Ask Vicki as she and Gladys were the only ones who could see my facial expressions from the front pilot. There were times where I was almost in tears when the legs were screaming. SITFU I said to myself as the winds howled over the team. It’s supposed to be hard-right.I’d like to Thank Kerry and Vicki for heading up this crazy event for the 14th year. Our Support Crews, SAG, Police and BC Ambulance that kept us fed, hydrated and safe throughout the journey. My fellow ride captains for stepping up and managing a huge pack of crazy cyclists. I’d go into battle with any and all of you. You all have hearts like lions and know how to kick some serious butt!
I’d like to especially thank my lovely wife Allison Gestle who also volunteers in many ways for this crazy event not only on the day but throughout the year. I couldn’t do this with out you Mommabear!❤️I am especially proud of all our rookies. Whether they did the full distance or sections you did your best and hopefully proved to yourselves that you can not only accomplish a goal but be apart of something even bigger than you the individual - especially when the going gets tough.We were wearing and flying the flag of rider 85. His name is Bruce Schoenberg and he was a super strong rider/ Ironman who rode with us last year. Since then he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and then had a stoke and passed away yesterday. We all had #85 in our hearts as we rode on Saturday. This is a reminder of how fast life can change and that we need to make it count in life while we still can. Ride on Bruce-you are in our hearts.I had times during the day where I was feeling pretty wiped especially in the front into the damn wind but we did it and the journey was completed. Yes a little late non the less but we all made it back safely with no crashes. (Which is a rare feat) I AM SOOO PROUD OF ALL OF YOU!!!!!!!
We also raised $615,000 as a team so far with donations still coming in.THANK YOU TO ALL MY DONORS AND SUPPORTERS. This is awesome and a huge victory considering the challenges we faced on the ride and prior but the war is still on.Like I said earlier, this year we lost Bruce and earlier we lost Maria. They were both super strong people on our team who were diagnosed and then were stolen from us by cancer very quickly. For me personally I have mixed feelings this year. Cancer doesn’t care if you’re healthy and an athlete,it still kills. This ride for 2018 is a huge victory and be proud-ALL of you. Every kilometre is one more closer to the end, every dollar is one more closer to the cure!
Unfortunately the war still rages on so savor the victory and let’s do it again for 2019!

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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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In no particular order-

  1. Sitting out the Hope descent and watching the support crew set up for dinner. Dang, these volunteers work hard, and I firmly believe every rider should sit a leg out and watch what the other half of the team does.
  2. Sitting out the Hope descent, knowing I would need strong legs for the windy journey home from Hope. Riding in the motorhome with June and Al into Hope, recapping our day to that point.
  3. Sitting out the Hope descent and seeing the magnificent Amerjit Dhadwar by himself, on the side of the highway, picking up debris off the road so that the riders would have no obstacles in their way on their descent. Even writing this brings me tears. This man cares so much about us. Selfless, funny, strong. He is our Grand Pooba, our Godfather, our friend.
  4. Watching Katie Kunzli blossom in her sisters’ footsteps by managing the volunteers at the rest stops and taking control of the masses. You rocked it.
  5. Realizing 4 out of my 10 moments involved not being on my bike.
  6. Watching Vicki Kunzli work her magic with the whole team, especially the riders. This woman traveled backwards for 20 hours encouraging us, reminding us to drink, giving us inspiration, impressing us with her dance moves and instilling a YES YOU CAN mantra throughout the day.
  7. Watching my husband, Graham Street, rock this ride, taking a page from Kerry Kunzli’s book and continuously riding up and down the peloton talking and coaching riders. He had no voice by the end of it and I’m sure rode an extra 10km’s just doing that.
  8. Witnessing the growth in Michael Meade Jr. over the years. This ‘kid’ has blossomed into a young man with integrity, grit, and sense of humor. He was a strong ride captain this year and our youngest rider!!
  9. Wearing 2 pairs of shorts the last 150km home! This saved me!! Thanks for the idea Jenni.
  10. Being a part of the “Pick Six” Ride Captains who pacelined the front to fight the headwinds and get the team from Hope to Mission. Those km’s went by in a hearbeat, thanks to the dynamic duo of Gladys We and Vicki. Although I wasn’t thrilled to climb DeRoche Hill at Rich’s pace ?
  11. Not part of ride day but THE POLE SIT the weekend previously. It was a huge fundraiser, raising over $26,000 for Cancer Research. Being up there with Rich and Graham was truly fun, even with the high winds! The team came together to shake cans on the ground, feed us, and make sure we had everything we needed up there. We were truly taken care of.

  Thank you to everyone who helped make 2018 another safe and memorable year.

Siobhan 

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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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