National Kids Cancer Ride

My hardest day – So far

It began at 8 am with registration for the Festivus Games and putting the finishing touches on my table for fundraising, then I got on my bike and started to spin.

Not long after, the introduction to the competitors happened, and I got a chance to say a few words about the Sears National Kids Cancer ride and why we ride. Then the competition starts – more spinning until it’s my turn to go. First workout (wod, in Crossfit parlance) is 6 min to find a max barbell clean, 180 lbs, then onto the bike again. Then the floater wod, a 500m row sprint. 1:41 and back to the bike. Things get a little tougher for the third wod, two rounds of 1 min each of burpees, goblet squats, kettle bell swings and box jump overs. Back to the bike and I realize I’ve gotten 60km in. At this point, it’s time for a goal: 100km on the bike while completing the workout.

Now it gets real. The next wod is 30 shoulder to overhead with a 75 lb bar, then an AMRAP of 3, 6, 9, 12, etc. of knee raises and 185 lb deadlifts. By now on the bike, I’m down to 10km rides with some rest in between. I get my 100km done just in time to do the finals wod, 22, 16, 10 of wall balls and dumbbell snatch. I’m fourth out of four people in my category, and I could easily write this one in, but I don’t. My fellow competitors are done. My body is screaming at me to stop, but all of the competitors, judges and the crowd are screaming at me to keep going. I finish with two seconds to go before the 6 minute time cap. It was a hard day.

But as hard days go, it pales in comparison to what kids with cancer and their parents go through. I suffered through one day, but the parents of kids with cancer have to suffer through tremendous emotional pain from the moment that they hear the words “your child has cancer” until it’s ultimate conclusion, for better or worse. Parents fight through, hoping, fighting, trying to have a positive outlook, until in some cases all hope is gone. Hoping that with time left, even two seconds to go, they get to find out that their child has beaten cancer and will go on to a normal life. To get the slightest inkling of what this means, read Nolan’s story. The kids have a sense of innoccence, sometimes simply accepting that this is their life. How can I give up and stop what I am doing – either training or fundraising, when these kids and their parents can’t simply give up the fight?

And what can you do? Simply, reach into your wallet, pull out your credit card, and help me fight this! You may give to Cancer research in other ways, but bear in mind that less than 3% of those funds go to childhood cancer research. We can make a difference for childhood cancer research and help get kids beyond childhood cancer. It’s definitely important to fight all forms of cancer, but to paraphrase my friend and two time National Rider Ulana, would you rather give a seventy year old seven more years, or give a seven year old seventy more years? Help me help these children!

I would like to thank all of those Festivus Games competitors, judges and spectators who took the time to talk to me or donated this weekend, either through small donations or through my fundraising page. Your contributions are definitely appreciated, and every little bit helps. In the end, I dedicate the day to the “Warrior Princess” – one of the SNKCR kids from Moncton who sadly lost her battle with cancer on April 21, 2017.

And so for me, the training goes on. 50 km in today, much of it uphill into a stiff wind. My legs are screaming at me to stop, turn around, and take the easy way out – after all you did 100km yesterday right? But I cant, I wont. If I do, how can I face the families, and the kids with cancer who suffer through so much more?

And so the grind goes on. It is #whyweride.

Until next time.

Rich Meesters