NKCR – Sept. 6 (Day #1)
This morning I woke up in the middle of the night and had a reality check – today is the start of the National Kids Cancer Ride – Am I really doing this? Did I train enough? Am I going to be able to do this? The last question is the one that stuck with me and I heard from one of my fellow riders that knows first hand what it is to be a childhood cancer survivor…
Kids with cancer don’t have a choice whether they are ready to battle cancer and for them there is no 80% or 90% efforts… there is only 100% or 0%. Either you fight or you die… Taylor spoke at a team meeting yesterday and her words have stuck with me. When I am on the road and feel my legs burning, my butt is hurting, my heart racing and those thoughts of stepping off the bike come through my mind… I think back to 100% or 0%. I am here for the kids that are fighting cancer and today I gave 100%. Tomorrow I will give 100%. Every day I will give 100%… period.
Today was the official start of the National Kids Cancer Ride in White Rock BC and it was an early start for all of us… 5:45a for breakfast, 6:30 shuttle to White Rock and on the bikes by 8:00. Upon arrival, all of the riders, volunteers and many of our supporters joined us on the beach for the opening ceremonies, photos and some heartfelt words from Patrick Sullivan who lost his son Finn. The videographer Olya Glotka created a great video (bring lots of tissues). I will share a link with you soon.
It was an emotional start on the beach remembering loved ones lost and the riders shed a lot of tears, hugs and memories of those that have passed. In the midst of the tears, we signed the official banner and posed for a lot of photos before the official ceremony.
With bikes in hand the riders made their way to the water’s edge with their bikes. We lined up with the bikes facing the beach and in unison, we dipped the back tire of our bikes on the west coast and after riding to the east coast, we will be dipping the front tire.
After all of that, we made our way up to the parking lot, got on our bikes and started our journey. We rode as one large peloton through Langley and on to Abbotsford, where Mayor Henry Braun addressed the riders as well as BC Bob (a fellow rider) that shared his own story. Truly touching to see his whole family coming out to support him and there were a lot of introductions and hugs.
Leaving Abbotsford, we split into our riding teams and continued on to Chilliwack. Now that the groups were smaller, the teams were able to work on team dynamics, communications and rotation of the lead riders. We climbed a few hills and made our way along a lot of country roads. It was a hazy, smokey day of riding, which concealed the spectacular views of the mountains. There were train delays, a couple of wrong turns and I managed to hit a good sized rock on the route – no crash story, but the front crank and chain sustained a little damage. Luckily, Danny is with us and was able to replace the broken chain link during the lunch break in Chilliwack.
Pulling into the Sears location in Chilliwack, we were met by some amazing volunteers that prepared hamburger soup and a lot of other refreshments for the riders! The food was awesome and it re-energized us for the remaining leg to Hope BC. In hope BC we had a chance to grab a shower and have a delicious dinner prepared by the NKCR volunteers. After dinner we took a relaxing shuttle down the road to our next launch site.
Our group of riders is already starting to gel as a group and we are working well as a team – Day one is in the books and tomorrow we are back in the saddle riding from Kamloops to Sicamous – another 158km.