National Kids Cancer Ride

NKCR Day 19 of 18

NKCR Day 19 of 18
September 24 – the day after
Halifax (Dartmouth) NS

Before I tell you about Day 19 and my final thoughts about the National Kids Cancer Ride, I would like to take a moment to thank EVERY single person who supported me and believed in me on this incredible journey.

My goal for this ride was to raise awareness of kids cancer and to collect more than $15,000 for kids battling cancer. Initially I was a little apprehensive that I would be able to ride across the country and raise that much money, but with the support of more than 100 friends and family members, I am pleased to report that all of my goals were met and surpassed. I am happy to report that your contributions totalled: $15,885.55!

Combined with the fund raising efforts of the other riders and volunteers, the 2017 National Kids Cancer Ride successfully raised more than 1.1 million dollars for kids that are facing cancer.

My amazing supporters include:
$1,000+: Lynn T. (My first supporter), Fier T., Chuck M., Bart & Patty B.,

$500 to $999: Ashlyn H., Jo & Stu N., Martial J., Natalie H.

$250 to $499: Angelina K., Brian G., Byrnes B., Dennis K., Garett & Jackie D., Mark F., Mike S.

$100 to $249: Angie W., Annette G., Brett M., Carl M., Claudio O., Debra E., Duncan T., Entegra Credit Union., Greg M., Heather & Dean L., Jennifer B., Joan S., Joan & Dan T., Jodi I., Sue J., Jean Pierre P., Lise W., Lynn F., Malcom T., Marcel J., Monique P., Phil M., Philip R., Rod & Linda C., Ron P., Sandy L., Shelley B., Susan L., Thomas F., Tina S., Tony R., Tzarna T., Yvonne H.,

Up to $100: Aggie F., Al S., Amanda Lynn M., Andrew N., Brad W., Brenda P., Bryce G., Candice T., Carl B., Cathy & Scott S., Charlie & Grace E., Cindy W., Colin D., Dale Y., Dede S., Dianne S., Dolores F., Eileen & Chris H., Frank & Janice J., Gary M., Gerry M., Greg G., Greg B., Jeff & Tara B., Joanne S., Joanne Z., John C., Johnathan S., Sue J., Joy H., Karen T., Kaye G., Laura A., Lesley I., Lisa P., Lonnie S., Marie S., Mike W., Miles P., Nancy & Garry O., Pam M., Paul G., Perry M., Robert V., Rodney E., Sandra D., Shannon B., Sharon K., Theckla & Gordon B., Tracy & Deron H., Ulla L., Westjet passenger, Receptionists at Maximum Benefit

Other training and promotional support: Bikes & Beyond, Woodcock Cycle, Avenue 4, Brian Gould Photography and all of the amazing cyclists that I rode with this year.

I would like to extend a special thank you to Michael Smith from the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation for giving me the opportunity to be part of the 2017 NKCR team. And of course all of the volunteers that supported the riders during the ride – they honestly work harder than the riders and always had a smile on their faces.

Words cannot express how thankful I am for all of your support and encouragement!!

I could not have done this without you…

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The National Kids Cancer Ride wrapped up three weeks ago and I am exceptionally proud to be a member of approximately 250 riders that have completed the NKCR over the past 10 years. That said, I still find it hard to believe that I actually did it…

Day 19: The day after the night before in Halifax, NS… I was anticipating a restful night, but despite the large comfy bed, air conditioning, variety of pillows and a quiet roommate, it was not restful. I woke up a number of times, mostly confused as to where I was, what day it was and when I had to get up to go riding… the 18 day routine had me a little messed up.

I slept in a little – woke up at 7:00a for a quick hotel breakfast then off to work. First up, dismantling my bike and packing it in a cardboard box for the trip home on WestJet, then outside to meet up with the other riders to dismantle our mobile bunk house.

Most of the riders were still at the hotel, so there were lots of hands involved in the dismantling of the three bunk houses… After taking the bunks apart, everything was neatly pack into one trailer for storage until next year. It was truly impressive to see how quickly everything was taken apart and how sturdy everything was constructed.

We worked until around 10a, then went back in the hotel for a quick shower and to pack up my remaining gear for the next leg of my maritime visit – a road trip to PEI with my mom, Malcolm, Duncan and Angie.

Next up was the hard part… heading downstairs to say goodbye to all of the members of my wheel family – I was choked up before I made it off the elevator… The bonds we formed over the past three weeks were like nothing I had experienced before. We came together as strangers united in a common goal and we left as family.

For me the hardest goodbyes were my RV mates: Geoff, Jennifer, Joan, Lynn, Peter, Chuck, Mario, and Olya… we had a bunch of laughs on the road and I am especially going to miss the morning hugs from Geoff as we prepared for the day of riding.

It was also tough to say goodbye to all of my peloton teammates: Jill, Taylor, Rich, Dean, Chuck, Shelley, Sara, Neil, Joan, Lisa, Damon, Peter and Mario. It was truly a pleasure to get to know each of you as we rode across this amazing country and I would be happy to ride with all of you again in the future.

After the goodbyes, I loaded my gear and climbed aboard the minivan with my mom, Malcolm, Duncan and Angie and headed to Masstown Market for some fish and chips on the way to the ferry and Prince Edward Island. While enjoying a delicious lunch, I heard the familiar words “We have 5 minutes”, uttered from the mouth of Chuck Magnus (the fund raising machine) who arrived for lunch with his family… we had a good laugh, took way more than 5 minutes to enjoy a leisurely lunch and parted ways for our own family vacations.

We headed to PEI on the ferry from Truro, drove to Kensington to see my dad and step mother Patty who were preparing for a vacation of their own. It was great to see them and to have the opportunity to show my mom, Malcolm, Duncan and Angie around the island that I called home for a few years. It was also great to catch up with a few friends from university and enjoy a few laughs – it was like we were never apart.

For the first few days after the ride, I was experiencing “lunch legs” – the feeling when you have ridden a lot, then taken a break for a short while… My legs felt heavy and slow – a good indicator that I should not have packed my bike up and should have gone for a couple of rides to flush out my legs… but the bike was in need of some extensive cleaning and some minor repairs. So rather than unpacking and reassembling my bike, I just took things easy and waited for my legs to come around…

A few days later, I headed back to Winnipeg on another uneventful and relaxing Westjet flight. At home, I overhauled my bike, thoroughly washed and cleaned everything, then took it back to Bikes and Beyond for a couple of small repairs. The bike looks as good as new and I am sure there is some late-season riding my future.

During the overhaul, I reluctantly removed all of the wristbands from my seat post that represented all of the people that have fought and are fighting cancer. These folks are the reasons that I took on this challenge and I thought about them frequently during the long days on the road – they all had a special meaning for me and I was brought to tears again as I read each of their names again: Becca, Briony, Finn, Michael, Simon, Taissa, Stephen, Rieja, Denise, Sarah, Fier, Shane, Kimberley, Serge, Frank and Matthew. To remember my journey and everyone that inspired me, I am going to make a display with my medal, my team jersey and each of the wrist bands – see attached photo for an idea of what I am working on.

Now I am settling back into the regular day to day tasks, putting a lot of my summer gear away for winter, which seems to be approaching all to quickly. I have also spent some time with friends and family to share stories from the NKCR and answering these popular questions:

1. How were the sleeping arrangements? In short, they were simple and really quite comfortable. Each of us had a make-shift bunk in the back of a semi truck trailer and we had a 4” single foam mattress. I had a top bunk, which was a little awkward to climb into and out of, but I never had trouble sleeping… well except for that one night in Ontario with the massive thunderstorm that shook the entire trailer – that night I was very thankful that I had earplugs with me.

2. What was the hardest part to ride? Most challenging riding was in Atlantic Canada… so many hills!! Much harder than the mountains in BC and Alberta… who knew? Thankfully the maritime hospitality made up for all of the hard work. We met so many great people during the ride!

3. What was the most emotional day? That is a tough one… there are five that stand out for me 1) The start of the ride and the morning dedication on the beach at White Rock – watch the Day 1 video below and you will understand. 2)The day we learned of the passing of Greta and the morning dedication on September 22 for her and Simon – it was heartbreaking news and it hit all of the riders quite hard. 3) Our visit to the Terry Fox memorial was a very emotional day for me – it was our halfway point, there were a lot of inspirational stories shared, we could all relate to what Terry was trying to accomplish, we were told that Terry’s family was following OUR journey and I fondly remember hearing about Terry’s journey when I was younger. It is truly amazing what you can accomplish when you set your mind to a specific goal. 4) The last day of the ride as we made our way to Pleasant Park to dip our front wheel in the Atlantic Ocean – it was such a sense of accomplishment and sharing that experience with some of my family and my entire wheel family was an amazing experience. 5) Day 19 when we had to say goodbye to all of the riders and volunteers that I spent the last three weeks with – I have never been good with goodbyes and this was no exception.

4. Who was the most inspiring? This is a tough one to answer as there are so many people to choose from – Team managers (Mark, April and Sharon), Team Captains (Shelly, Kelly and Mike) and all of the amazing volunteers and riders that have dedicated so much time to this worthy cause… but the most inspiring to me was Jill . Jill is a cancer survivor that took on the challenge of riding across Canada at 68 years of age… She is an amazing individual that I really connected with – she cemented her place in my heart when we were at Peggy’s cove and a local RCMP officer jokingly told her that she “should check her back tire… It’s round” – to which Jill looked at her back tire, then turned to him and flipped him the bird. Jill is awesome!!

5. Most inspiring day – Day 16 at Riverview High School in NB, where 1,100 kids assembled in a gymnasium to learn about our ride and talk about giving back. That day we met Becca Schofield (#BeccaToldMeTo), dedicated our ride to Sean and Chloe was in attendance as well… At the end of the assembly, I was inspired by all of the young adults that came down to meet us – they asked a lot of great questions and shared their own experiences with cancer. Many of them also donated their lunch money, babysitting money and even asked how they could be involved with the cross Canada ride. We had a huge impact on them and they had an equal impact on me.

6. Which province had the worst roads? Wish it wasn’t true… but the section between Saskatchewan and Ontario was the worst – Yup, my home province was the worst for riding conditions – specifically the expansion joints that we rode over about every 20 feet or so… it was like someone kicking us in the butt over and over and over again. Some riders were wearing double riding shorts on this section and others just sucked it up and took the beating. I had ridden on them for most of my training, so I was somewhat used to them, but it was not a pleasant experience…

7. Would you do it again? Yes. I would train a little differently. I would pack a little differently. I would fund raise a little differently. But I would do it again… There are so many great things about this ride – it is truly an inspiring event that brings hope to families that are battling cancer and raises much needed funds for kids faced with cancer. If I could ensure that I would have 4 weeks off every September, I would consider taking this on annually… like a number of other riders on the team.

8. What are you going to do to top this? I really don’t know how I am going to top this amazing experience, but I welcome your suggestions.

Those have been the most common questions, but I am happy to answer any and all of the questions you have about the ride and my experience – just please bring the Kleenex with you… there may be some tears.

Things I am taking away from this experience:
1. “Whether you think you can or think you can’t — you are right” Henry Ford. When I signed up for this event in November 2016, I convinced myself that I could do this ride. During training I maintained a pretty positive attitude and committed to putting in the training (nearly 6,500km on my indoor trainer and on the roads of Manitoba). I did have some doubts from time to time (usually after a long outdoor training ride or after battling some major hills at the Tour for Kids events – specifically in Nova Scotia… there was one hill in particular that I will have to go back and conquer). I still remember my first ride in BC where we rode from Surrey to White Rock and back… two days before the start of the cross Canada ride and I was not feeling strong. I had doubts that day as did a few of the other riders, but we were in this together and we encouraged one another along the way. As a team we did what we committed to do – ride across the country, raise awareness and a lot of money for kids that are facing cancer. Done. Done & Done.

2. Set audacious goals, overcome self-doubt and push yourself to achieve. If there is something in your life that you are passionate about, go for it. A lot of people thought I was crazy to take on this cross-Canada ride, but after meeting families that are battling and have battled cancer at the Tour for Kids events, I knew that this was something I had to do. As I told my NKCR teammates in BC, I don’t look good in spandex, I don’t have the typical physique of a cyclist, and I suck at climbing hills, but I am committed to #Riding4Kids and I am going to complete this ride and hit my fund raising goals.

3. Everyone can do more. You don’t have to sign up for a ride across Canada to help make a difference in someone’s life. On Day 16 we met Becca Schofield and I described her initiative #BeccaToldMeTo in my blog post, which is an amazing initiative that encourages people to do some good in your own communities. In 2016, I launched www.SimpleActs.ca and began to use the hashtag #SimpleActs when I found stories of people paying it forward. Meeting Becca inspired me to revisit that initiative. If I have inspired you to do something nice for someone else, please go to my Facebook page and tell me about it. It doesn’t have to be something big. Just know that one person’s Simple Act of kindness can change the course of someone’s life. No act, no matter how small is ever wasted. What #SimpleActs will you do?

4. Every day is a gift – Live each day as if it is your last and enjoy your time with everyone around you.

5. Share the love and hug the people around you more…

For those of you that have not seen all of my blog posting, photos or videos that I have shared along the way, please check out the links below.

Daily Blog
Pre-Ride: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/9403-2
BCCH visit: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/bc-childrens-hospital-visit
Day 1: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-1
Day 2: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-2
Day 3: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-2017-day-3-of-18
Day 4: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-4-sept-9
Day 5: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/day-5-swift-current-to-moose-jaw-2
Day 6: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-6-sept-11
Day 7: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-7
Day 8: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day8
Day 9: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-9
Day 10: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-10-sept-15
Day 11: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-11-sept-16
Day 12: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-12-of-18
Day 13: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-13-of-18
Day 14: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-14-of-18
Day 15: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-15-of-18
Day 16: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-16-of-18
Day 17: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-17-of-18
Day 18: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-18-of-18
Day 19: http://nationalkidscancerride.com/nkcr-day-19-of-18

Photos:
Day 1: https://photos.app.goo.gl/qXTxlbULuoqG1pz72
Day 2: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Qm5wYOIJC45UCMDW2
Day 3: https://photos.app.goo.gl/360Ak8mcNCK4z40w1
Day 4: https://photos.app.goo.gl/daYP1Vh0OSwmgfQF3
Day 5: https://photos.app.goo.gl/b0DFAy2iu4s9Tw3y1
Day 6: https://photos.app.goo.gl/v5Nbv7GFJ6EgysvZ2
Day 7: https://photos.app.goo.gl/rFDq6ZimvBdRcEHu1
Day 8: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Fes2HS2EDpeDpxc32
Day 9: https://photos.app.goo.gl/Mrd7DDgUPYo4DpSc2
Day 10: https://photos.app.goo.gl/3XV3YAE1chSJcEeN
Day 11: https://photos.app.goo.gl/FdF1XyWDtrH0Xmgr2
Day 12: https://photos.app.goo.gl/cTG1s0mYIiwBF7uu2
Day 14: https://photos.app.goo.gl/bzmFRnmGi2C8RNqi2
Day 15: https://photos.app.goo.gl/31hMBIKUfxBgr6OS2
Day 16: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZcW89TwRAcXfk33l1
Day 17: https://photos.app.goo.gl/p6IsYqGyticwSW1H2
Day 18: https://photos.app.goo.gl/p7HTO9ZcoGtTUFD52

Videos:
Day 1: https://youtu.be/n46xcoPgB6k
Day 2: https://youtu.be/CjtBzYJlmJ4
Day 3: https://youtu.be/Sl_n8ftAKKI
Day 4: https://youtu.be/BA90X36vxkE
Day 5: https://youtu.be/NMsDbdMY9iQ
Day 6: https://youtu.be/cM1REBgcUWg
Riding for Cassy: https://youtu.be/iAi4iI6Gp0k
National Kids Cancer Ride – Director’s Cut: https://youtu.be/3FQYxp_4IUM
National Kids Cancer Ride – Volunteers: https://vimeo.com/235256477

Once again, Thank you so very much for your support of the National Kids Cancer Ride! It is truly making a difference in the lives of kids that are facing off against cancer.

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