Our cycling adventure officially started today at the beach in White Rock where we celebrated the kickoff of the 2019 edition of the National Kids Cancer Ride. This event, which was first held in 2008, has raised over $10 million for paediatric oncology research.
On a beautiful September morning, our team of 15 riders and 25 volunteers gathered on the beach for the opening ceremonies. We each selected two stones from the beach to carry in our jersey pockets; one as a keepsake and one to toss into the Atlantic Ocean when we arrive in 18 days. We all signed a large poster board with our personal message of encouragement and hope to the children and families living with and beyond cancer. We heard from the mayor of Whiterock who thanked us for our efforts and wished us well on our journey. We then lined up at the water’s edge to dip our rear wheels in the Pacific Ocean; if all goes well, we will be dipping our front wheels in the Atlantic Ocean on September 21st. It was an emotional start to our day.
We rolled out from White Rock, riding two abreast, down the beachfront street and then onto the road to Abbotsford. The road was very busy with many large trucks, causing us to split into two smaller groups riding single file until we reached our lunch stop in Chilliwack. Our lunch hosts at the Cheam Mountain Golf Course had prepared a wonderful meal for us, and a couple of local politicians were on hand to address our group. We thanked our hosts and presented them with a plaque signed by each rider and volunteer, something we will do at every stop in the over 100 communities we will be visiting.
The road from the golf course to Hope was idyllic…mostly flat and not much traffic, winding up the scenic Fraser River Valley, with towering mountains on either side of us and the mighty Fraser River beside us. With only a couple of training rides together, our team was working well today as we motored along the valley at a pretty good clip. We arrived in Hope at about 4:00 p.m. where we showered at the community centre, and had a wonderful dinner prepared by two of our volunteers. After burning thousands of calories on the ride, second helpings were greatly appreciated and enjoyed by all!
After dinner, the riders boarded the four RVs in our caravan and we headed to Vernon where we will spend the night and start our ride tomorrow.
All in all, our first day couldn’t have gone much better!