R2S Blog- I got issues but you got ‘em too

Issues (lyrics) – Julia Michaels

'Cause I got issues
But you got 'em too
So give 'em all to me
And I'll give mine to you
Bask in the glory
Of all our problems
'Cause we got the kind of love
It takes to solve 'em

Yeah, I got issues
And one of them is how bad I need you


2017 not my best year, not my worst either.  Many of you know I have celiac disease, mostly manageable by diet.  A flare up one week before the ride drastically affected my energy and well being.  I got issues but you got ‘em too. 

Vicki, I know she wants to be on her bike, but I selfishly want her in the front pilot with Dayle.  There is something about Vicki running “command” with a front row seat and perspective of the rider’s safety. I know she’s going to get us through the tough bits.  Not to mention Tony and Kerry O in the rear who have my ass even more than Al.  Wait that didn’t come out right.


Surinder, Ivy’s guardian angel, he has been such a team player on all the training rides.  He has worked hard, with his own training as well as helping others with their fitness. On ride day, he was not well, I could feel his disappointment – I knew a similar disappointment only last year when I was in a very similar state.  Surinder I hope you didn’t feel defeat, quite the opposite – you gave us strength. 

Jason our photographer and positive spirit.  Why does it seem that he snaps a picture when my mouth is full of food?  On the bus ride up to Kelowna I find out that he likes to hike. He points out a beautiful mountain top and describes the hike to Geoff H and I.  On ride day, his passion for hiking comes in handy.  He was a billy goat – did you see him on some of those ledges?  Attempting to get the best vantage point for our memoirs.  That guy is awesome but must be a little crazy!  I do have one bone to pick – what photographer misses an opportunity to snap shots of two moose?  Some lame excuse about a wide angle lense.  At least he didn’t use wide angle and my butt in the same sentence.


Night before the ride at the Captain’s meeting, Kerry K announces he is taking off a few legs to observe the ride and more to the point the stops and how they are put together from a logistics point of view.  I say what?  Both Vicki and Kerry not riding now?  What are we going to do on Coldwater?  Kerry always leads that leg; he knows how to manage the rollers and the heat from the desert?  I am somewhat nervous.  I know Al Mc has taken lead with Kerry, last year in fact.  It’s our group’s “team red’s” turn to lead us out of Merritt both Al and Jenny from Penticton gladly take the front, they are strong leaders which gives me comfort.  We take off from Merritt but Vicki isn’t poking her head out from the sunroof of the pilot car.  Eventually out pops Kerry like a jack-in-the-box. I didn’t see him climb in.  Kudo’s to Al and Jenny they did a terrific job very similar to how Kerry would have lead.  Still felt like something was missing – maybe Kerry – ya think? 

Larson Hill – I love the hill, but I HATE the false flat and typical head wind that ends this leg.

Suki on Larson Hill, advises me that he hadn’t intended on riding very much today.  He is so encouraged by our family.  Together with Nick W, we talk, we push Suki through the climb.  Suki reminds me that I have a long day a head, rather than me push too much maybe he should jump in SAG.  I know that if I can get him to the top of Larson, there is a long down hill and how gratifying it will be for both of us.  I hear in his voice the gratitude, he said “I love you guys, you are like family – a community”.  My heart feels warmth – I understand what he is saying, I feel the same.  I hear over the radio, my loving husband, “June it’s up to you to make the call”.  I know what he is saying.  I know about the three-push rule.  I also know that there is a perfectly good SAG vehicle with some very loving and nurturing people that will have my back.  Nick gets Suki to take a gel.  Let’s hope he can get his legs back.  He almost does but with less than 5kms to go I take comfort knowing Suki achieved way more than he thought possible that gives me the energy to carry on not to mention Nick’s strength – Thanks my friend.

Britton Creek

Coquihalla Highway – exactly as I had imagined Constable Ken and the team of police from various attachments got us safely down this section.  It’s such a rush to experience the moto escort – can’t express enough gratitude for what these people do for us.

Shannon H usually people think she’s me and vice versa.  Which is a huge honour for me.  I affectionately refer to her as my sister.  R2S 2017 Shannon nudges me, see you in the motorhome at Britton Creek, it reminds me of a fond moment.  I recall R2S 2016 and how ill the pair of us were.  Mia had already given me the “talk” don’t over do it, if you appear to suffer I will help you make the call to pull you off the ride to rest.  I understood.  She had my best interests as well as the team in mind.  Back to Shannon in 2016 she had endured the brutal ride down from Britton Creek, she could barely talk.  I yanked her into the motorhome with me from Hope to Agassiz.  I say to her you are too sick to ride; we need to rejuvenate ourselves for the final ride in.  She doesn’t argue.  We lay together in the bed under the blankets like little girls at a slumber party except wet, cold and shivering.  We giggled took selfies and rested. 

Deroche hill (or as I prefer to think of it Woodside-It’s less ominous sounding)

Ain’t no mountain high enough – I’m a lousy singer, but I break into song.  Paul humours me and invites the distraction.  I know what this hill represents to Paul so whatever it takes we’ll make it there together and we did.  No records made, just climb the F’n hill and F-Cancer as Paul would say. 

Rich refers to Deroche hill as the location for the mosquito petting zoo.  Later I discover over 32 bites on one butt cheek!  I don’t remember the petting part!  I later use polysporin (only thing I had) like its moisturizer to take down the swelling.

Charles – what can I say, I know he wanted to ride but he took his own situation and turned it completely into a nightmare for us!  Yup, can’t sleep since seeing the green mantini!!  That man must have slept for a day or too after the energy he exuded.  I specifically remember him running down Deroche so that no man or women was left standing.  He had to run back up the damn hill too!

Dewdney to Planet Ice

Jenny has been so pumped to have the ladies lead this leg.  Why not empower the women?  We have such a diversified team of individual’s – let’s celebrate them all.  This leg is truly my roots; this is where I grew up.  Me I am just relieved to see my mom there.  Unfortunately, my step father too weak to make it out.  He’s been in hospital since the end of January.  Wouldn’t you know it, my mother was chatting up Sunny, our handsome Sherriff.  See Al?  See where I get my appreciation for a man (or woman) in uniform!  I come by it honestly.  I settle in behind our women, right beside Simone who wants nothing to do with riding up at the very front.  We are going to act as the buffer while the ladies rotate through this section.  I hear Vicki on the loud speaker, “June does Simone want to come up?”. Knowing damn well she didn’t, I said “Yes”.  I talk her through it, don’t be nervous, you are strong and able.  It’s our turn of course it’s no longer the flat section, figures!  My strength did not come from my training; I know I didn’t train as much this year.  My strength came from watching the delight on Simone’s face, it was the feeling of empowerment.


It’s still light out crossing the Golden Ears – I have never crossed on R2S ride day in day light! 

It’s a free for all, meaning we don’t have to ride in our colours.  Now I get to ride with my friends Siobhan and Graham.  They were both checking in with me this year to make sure I was doing OK.  They too had been battling “issues” with health and balancing life with training.  The emotion that overcomes me here is unspeakable.  To be lead by the yellow jerseys is inspiring and humbling, to see the loved ones of the riders and crew and hear the pipe band (that always makes me well up with tears) is so comforting.  What a blessing to have everyone back home safe.

Yup I got issues and one of them is how much I need you.  Thank you to all of you, my husband, family, friends, execs, riders and crew.  You shared your “issues” with me, which gave me the resolve to carry through.  I hope in some small way I helped you.

The McNabb's won't be at the wind up party due to my annual corporate golf tournament.  Have an amazing summer. 


R2S Bucket list ( 8-year tally)


Raise my goal in donations


Empower someone else to achieve more than they thought possible


Ride SAG


Ride with many amazing people who all have their story (or issues)


Slay Coldwater road


Ride the whole distance


See a moose (or two) – In 2010 and 2017 Yay!  Right up there with donkeys

Unsee Charles in a mantini.  I thought I had issues – boy now do I ever!

Crew (except gear truck-do you see what some riders pack in their gear bag?)  ** June winner of 2016 “the most baggage award”

Ride in the police cruiser with Ken.  Likely not on his bucket list!



Wow what a day that was! I can't really put it onto words that would really describe how it really was. Firstly thank you to everyone for the support! It was a hot hot hot ride! When under a heat stress advisory during a heat wave we all decide to ride 400 km....why you ask? It's about raising money to fight cancer! WE ARE AT $628,000 AND STILL CLIMBING!!!! 
I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO proud of the whole team!!!
The team was able to hold a great pace while climbing 2 mountain summits and on the flats and all while keeping the stops short in heat well over 30 degrees for 19 hours. We actually were ahead of schedule coming in. This really speaks volumes about our crews and support teams. They were non stop support and triage for us. They truly do have the hardest job!
BC Ambulance had some work cut out with heat exhaustion but kept all of us going. Delta PD and RCMP you all helped us flow uninterrupted the whole way. Those folks worked their butts of for us. Kerry and Vicki - Thank you as always you guys do an amazing job being the commanders of this crazy troop year round! Thank you for letting me be apart of this every year. I am truly humbled.
Ride Captains you all made me proud to be beside you as always. We had our work cut out for us with the heat but you all delivered selflessly in a great way. I'd go to war along side you any day of the week!
The riders- you rode strong and tight! Watching the mix of this team grow from last winter to the end of June is always amazing! I feed off watching riders of all skill levels and backgrounds meld together in team spirit while building a bond few will know to create this huge non stoppable train that blasts through the interior of BC to arrive at the coast. WOW! Inspiring as always!

This ride is supposed to represent and day in the life of someone fighting cancer. On a cycling level it does. It's painful, fatiguing and it's never a guarantee you're going to make it. It's a ride that tests every part of you physically, mentally and emotionally. I am tested every year. It does want to beat you down and it's gives you many reasons why you should stop. Then you realize what this is, a community even more -a family. Then you're filled and fueled with the reasons to keep going. Not just your own but those of the folks all around you. You realize the destination is getting closer and as long as you are moving forward you are making ground on this fight. Pain is normal, fatigue and doubt are normal at times as well but when your tapped into the spirit of this ride and those involved.....you just want to fly on that bike! it's like a switch that goes off. 
I did this ride for my 11th time only because of my team. I have survived cancer for 12.5 years now also because of a team. THANK YOU TO MY TEAM FOR THAT! 
One day we will beat cancer to the ground because we ARE A TEAM AND A FAMILY. With that common goal, with that destination where we NEED to get to...... we all just have to keep pushing together.
I'd also like to thank my own family, Allison Gestle, Samara and Annika for making me able to do this not just on ride day but all year long as well. Love you Mommabear! 
Thank you all!
I am still basking in the afterglow!
Here's to R2S 2018!!!


Hi Fellow R2S team members. This is my post event email I sent out to my friends that donated and supported me on the ride this year. It seems like a blog post to me so I thought I would share it with you all!

Thanks to each and everyone of you for your support!



Hi Everyone,


To all of you who supported me on this year’s Ride2Survive adventure…I’m happy(?) to report I was able to complete the ride but it was a much more difficult ride this year. Some of you have seen my post on Facebook which alludes to some of the heat challenges the team had to endure on Saturday – Hope, Chilliwack and Abbotsford all broke heat records (31.1, 34.8 and 32.2 degrees respectively) - cities and towns we passed through or near as we travelled along the Lougheed Highway westward through the Fraser Valley late Saturday afternoon.



To prepare for this event, we had about a four month training period to build our mileage and comfort in formation riding as we ride as a group. Our crazy winter and spring introduced many challenges to our training program where some of the early sessions had to be skipped (due to ice and snow) while we never really had an opportunity to acclimatize to any heat (just lots of rain!)…And that heat just hit us HARD on event day. Even Environment Canada issued weather warnings on Saturday about the heat. Such a change from last year where the cold rain came just as we started the Coquihalla descent – the worst time possible. Thankfully the organizers had ordered extra water to help us endure. For myself, I worried more about the heat and focused most of my limited break time on applying sunscreen. The warm temperatures derailed my appetite when I needed to consume as many calories as I could get (estimate that I burned about 12000 calories during the ride). Not a good combination.


During an endurance event, there’s certain situations that cause you to question your judgement and seem to raise so many doubts in your mind. Twice on Saturday this happened. The first was part of the way on our Coquihalla descent when a couple fellow riders thought I didn’t look ‘right’. And actually shortly before this I had felt a bit sick to my stomach. Thankfully one of those riders gave me a salt tablet as my salt stores had likely been depleted through my sweat. The tablet along with more fluids seemed to rejuvenate me in a short time. The second time was about four to five hours later when we stopped just before Mission at our second last rest stop. Near the end of this 10 minute stop, I entered the port-a-potty and unexpectedly threw up! Twice with no warning since I’d had felt a bit better since Hope and so I was very surprised. I’ve never been sick during an athletic endeavour so I more or less shrugged it off and went back to my bike. I confided in a trusted friend who said I may be experiencing heat exhaustion and suggested going to the medical team but I said I felt fine and that I thought I could continue on. I also knew we had support vehicles with us which could pick me up if I truly wasn’t up for it. So I continued on but my confidence had vanished and during that segment I constantly questioned why I was riding. Really not a good place to be mentally but I guess those many months of training paid off and I was able to make it to the finish. So happy and relieved to hear the Delta Police Bag Pipe Band…I never thought I would get there.


This ride isn’t supposed to be easy. The idea behind this event is to endure a day in the life of a cancer patient – ups and downs, joy and fear, doubts and worries, etc. And I had them all in a 19-hour span. This year, the ups were rare and those lows really seemed to linger much longer than ever before. It’s crazy what the mind can do to you. Well at least it’s been a learning experience and I can only do things better next time…I’ve learned that I have to balance priorities – Food is as important as sunscreen!


I can’t begin to express my gratitude to all those who supported us on Saturday (and our many months of training). It is the difference that makes this event the success it is. Will I return? YOU BET! I’m very proud to be a member of the Ride2Survive Family and strongly believe that we are making a difference.


Also happy to report that a shower, sleep and food did wonders and I’m now feeling pretty good.

Thanks again for your support!

Mark Williams