5000 bikes in the overnight corral – ready to go the next day
So far this year I have had the pleasure and honor to work 3 of the 4 Ride to Conquer Cancer
events already this summer – the last event will be held in August and I’m looking forward to it as well. If you haven’t heard about these events you need to learn more; they are truly amazing.
The goal for each of these rides is to raise money through cycling a 2 day 220+km route with proceeds supporting Cancer Research and Patient Care. All money raised through each ride stays in the province in which it was raised and gets applied directly to some key hospitals and research centers. Over the last five years it has made a huge difference!
The staff from Norco Bicycles attending these events are there to help with free tech support during the ride. We get lots of simple fixes and repairs, such as flat tires, oiling chains, and gear adjustments, but also get thrown some very complex issues that require trained mechanics and bins full of spare parts. Repair teams are located at roughly 6 pit stops along the way, as well as setting up a full tech support station at the camp location.
Up to 9 mechanics working on riders bikes at the stop-over
For me, Ride To Conquer Cancer is a very rewarding event. Every single rider participating is doing so for a very personal reason. They have had to get over the first hurdle of raising more than $2500, then train for the event which is a major goal in itself! As big of a goal as the ride and the fundraising is this is not why people ride. Each and every rider is driven from within – riding for fallen, battling or surviving loved ones. Helping each and every rider cross the finish line is the least we can do!
Many of the riders have photos of loved ones taped to their top tubes, or beautiful motivational notes to remind themselves that no matter how hard the ride is getting, it is nothing compared to what others have or are going through.
Just a few samples of the very personal reminders
When I asked why participants who committed to riding I received some powerfull answers. “For me, the RTCC is something that I know I can do to help a worthy cause. I'm not a medical professional, so can't really help cure cancer personally. But if I can donate personally or encourage financial support from some of my contacts, I feel like I have contributed to the greater good – one donor at a time. I love to cycle, so that part (although quite challenging at times with weather or hills) is pretty easy for me. The fundraising is harder than the ride, but spread out over the year it is doable.
Cancer has hit my family pretty hard, so it is a cause very close to my heart. I have lost both my parents to cancer in the last 8 years. I have a sister who is a breast cancer survivor, and an aunt currently undergoing treatment for pancreatic cancer. I have also lost 1 aunt and 4 uncles to cancer and have two uncles who are cancer survivors. I want my generation and my children's generation to have better outcomes. I wish I could do more, but at least the RTCC is something we can do.”
Another rider participated to honour two Aunts who sadly lost their battles with this terrible disease. She said they were constantly on her mind during the ride. She also said that her reason to ride was simply to help. To help patients and their families get better treatments, to help oncologists say “you beat it” instead of “ I’m sorry” and to help researchers turn over new stones and find better treatments. She too felt the experience alone is something you can’t find or buy and encouraged anyone who hasn’t participated in the ride to do so.
These are just two examples of the personal reasons riders become involved. Every rider has a story on why they are riding and why they have put so much time an energy into raising money and completing the ride. With this altruistic approach from thousands of riders, maybe, just maybe Cancer can be cured in our lifetimes and the loss of loved ones can be slowed or even ended. These rides have already made an amazing impact and knowing this and seeing riders with yellow flags (showing they’ve fought and beat cancer) is just amazing. I hope to see you all out on the final ride this year or out training for one of next year’s events!