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I am not the fastest person in the world. Actually my motto is "slow on purpose". That's why it has taken me so long to write this.
First off, THANK YOU to my family, friends, and co-workers for the financial support for my RIDE TO CONQUER CANCER in June 2016, a bike ride from Toronto's CNE grounds to Niagara Falls. With their help I was able to raise over $3,300 for the Princess Margaret Cancer Research Centre, and collectively, the ride raised a whopping $17.3 million dollars.
I am now asking for your help to beat that figure for my 2017 ride.
I have joined a team of wonderful people for next year's event. They call themselves TEALPOWER and are captained by Tyler Puley who I met during last year's ride. It turns out he is friends with my son Eric. I have several friends signed up committed to ride with us and am working on more (ERIC)!
Following is my story of 2016's ride:
About a year ago, I woke up one morning and thought... I can do that. My friend Susie's daughter did the ride several years ago, and my girlfriend Sue's brother did it in the event's first year after a night of "training". After thinking things over for about 1 minute, and before changing my mind, I signed up.
Nothing would be left to chance, so I started training. My bike was a steel frame tank with big fat tires. My first step was to get a road bike. I paid a visit to my friend Jeff at CYCLING ELEMENTS in Orangeville. Jeff set me up with a great road bike at a reasonable price. The bike and his advice were a great jump to get started. Next I needed to find a place to work out. I lacked the discipline to push myself and knew to succeed I would need someplace special. My friend Kim led me to 9ROUND FITNESS here in Orangeville that has to this day been exactly what the doctor ordered. Janet Lynn, John and all the gang helped this out-of-shape accountant become a biking machine. Ha! I also rode a lot and encountered hail storms, mean dogs, heat, and a skunk. Riding is so therapeutic and great exercise.
As June 11th approached, I began to grow nervous. Could I do it? Am I nuts?
Sue drove me to the CNE for the early morning start. We arrived to a sea of bikes with riders in multi-coloured outfits, and we trekked through the masses until finding our friends Val and her son Josh. I got so pumped seeing all the other riders preparing to go and stayed pumped for the first 50km. The temperature rose quickly and by the afternoon I was fried. My speed dropped considerably after lunch.
The overnight camp was set up at McMaster University in Hamilton. Arriving at the camp I said to the guy riding beside me, "I don't know what should be first, a beer or a shower". I grabbed a beer, headed to the showers, came back and had some more beer. The volunteers at the camp did a great job feeding and entertaining the riders. They mended our aching body parts, and did I mention there was beer. We partied hard all night long. I was asleep in my tent by 9:30.
The volunteers on the road did an excellent job. During the ride the traffic control was top notch, and the sweepers were there for anyone with mechanical and energy issues.
Sunday morning we had a quick breakfast and got back on the road. The temperature had dropped making the ride more comfortable, but we still had 110 km to go. I maintained a good pace until the last 25 km when I hit the wall. I kept thinking about the names on the flag attached to the back of my bike; those that have passed on, those that are fighting, and those that have kicked cancer in the ass. No matter how tired and sore I was, it didn't compare to their battles. I wasn't going to stop. The whole purpose of this event was for each rider to play a small part in moving people from fighting for their lives to beating the monster and living cancer free.
Crossing the finish line was exhilarating. I was fortunate, thanks to my friends Val and Josh, to be able to do the last part of the ride with the Steam Whistle team. The cheering crowd lining both sides of the street gave me back my energy. The aches temporarily slipped away. Sue and our friends, Wendy and Kathy, were there to greet us and take me home. I didn't see Sue on my approach to the finish line, but did just after stopping. She walked towards me with a big smile and gave me a kiss and hug, I knew then that something good happened this weekend. Sue was there for me, through the training and fundraising. She helped to keep me focused and determined.
June 2017 will mark the events 10th anniversary and I will be there pedaling my butt with the thousands of others. I am proud of my achievement, an out-of-shape accountant who managed to ride 220 km and be able to work the next day relatively pain free.
I would love to go on, but I'm going for a bike ride.
My Participant ID: 610938-5
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