National Kids Cancer Ride

NKCR Day 18 – Wheels

What began with a rear wheel dip in the Pacific Ocean just over 18 days ago ended with a front wheel dip in the Atlantic Ocean yesterday. Along the way 15 crazy cyclists and over 20 dedicated volunteers (some also more than a little on the crazy side) kept the wheels turning across the country. The cyclists logged over 2,400 KMs individually (some higher, some lower depending on the routes) with the RV’s, Penske’s and support vehicles keeping the wheels turning in excess of 7,000 kms. Along the way there were highs and lows, laughter and tears and of course plenty of hugs both for support and for just because as we rolled on.

It’s difficult to put into words the end of a NKCR. The emotions roll over you and you go from happy to sad in an instant. After such a short time, you’ve made another family, one who’s bonds are strengthened by 18 days of riding, eating, and living together. It is sad to see these people go their separate ways, but I know we are joined in a common cause, and there are many people I can rely on from this incredible crew. As we made our way from coast to coast, there were wheels that I could depend on to follow, some familliar, some new, and I trusted each of them in turn with getting us cross the country safely.

Along the way the wheels spun for many children: Finn, Taissa, Briony, Jocelyn, James, Thomas, Ty, Sarah, Amara, Sean, Caleb, Justin, Alex, Camden, Grant, Jessica, Sahara, Michael, Ollie, and Simon. On the last day we rode for all the children, those whom we spoke of in dedication, and the many unnamed that have or are battling childhood cancer. I had the opportunity to give “CC the Magic Dragon”, aptly named by my dear friend Ulana for coast to coast and sea to sea, to a boy named Jude who is battling Rhabdomyosarcoma. I know that CC has gone into very good hands, and I hope he provides some comfort and joy into a life already filled with too much pain and too many challenges. I wish we could turn the wheel back time and give these kids more time with their parents, or turn time forward to get to cures sooner. But the wheels of time turn at their own pace, and sometimes we can only sit back and watch, to hope for miracles, or to weep at how this is so damn unfair.

And so as the wheels turn ever on, we have reached the end of our journey for this year. But I know as sure as my bike wheels turn, the ride will return again, with a new team of passionate riders and volunteers who want to ensure that no parent ever has to hear the words “your child has cancer”. With a little luck, I will be back to ride again.

Thank you all for your donations, and taking the time to listen to my ramblings over the last few weeks.

Rich Meesters
2017, 2019 National Rider