Here’s another Guest Post from our friend Al, the guy who recently quit smoking, took up cycling and got fit – and has now done his first big event ride, the 240 km (150 miles) Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer!
“I have just completed the 2012 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, a two-day (240 km) cycling journey from Vancouver to Seattle; What an amazing adventure! I’ve learned a lot over the last year; It’s amazing how perfect strangers, with the same goal, can come together and help each other succeed!
The 2012 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer started Saturday June 16th, 2012. After dropping off my bag and picking up my bike I started looking for the Gladiators… I’m not officially a Gladiator but I trained with them and did the ride with them. Once the group was together we made our way to the starting area. After a brief speech from the ride organizers we were on our way …
Day 1 was wet, but other than a couple of delays due to flats it was an amazing ride, especially through Birch Bay! Roughly 7 hours after we started, we arrived at the Day 1 finish line to loud cheers! After parking my bike, finding my tent, and taking a shower it was time for a little nap. There wasn’t a lot of room in the shared tent …
After a power snooze and a rude awakening by a hamstring cramp, I headed over to the Yoga tent … No, no, no, I don’t do Yoga, but it was great place to stretch!
The rest of the afternoon and evening was amazing. There were speeches, stories, entertainment, good people, good eats and beer! I even made my way to the registration tent to register for the 2013 ride! That’s all it took … Day 1 and I was ready for next year! After showing a group of young volunteers how to open a bottle of corona with a wedding ring (they didn’t have a bottle opener), I was off to bed.
Up at 5 a.m. after barely any sleep, I got cleaned up, geared up, packed and ready to ride by 6:30. After breakfast, I made my way to the start line and I was ready to go.
Day 2 had a couple of short bouts of rain, but it was dry for the most part! I had some mechanical issues with my front tire, which delayed me for about half an hour. And Day 2 also had a lot more hills … Never-ending hills almost, but what goes up must come down!
After all that climbing, I came flying back down the hill at 65 k’s and arrived at the final pit stop before the finish line. I found the Gladiators and after a 30-minute wait for the whole team to cruise in, we made our way to the finish line.
The last 15 k’s were the longest and for the last couple of k’s you could hear the faint cheers getting louder and louder. The finish line was amazing … A huge screen capturing us as we arrived, hundreds of people cheering, and the announcer calling our names as we passed the finish line; it was quite overwhelming actually.
I was looking for my family, but at the same time I had to keep an eye on the group to make sure I didn’t crash into anyone … LOL! I couldn’t find Nadia and the kids, but I did see mom, the person who really inspired me to do this …
As soon as I got off my bike my whole family was there to greet me; my wife, my mom and my kids. Mom gave me a hug so hard, I thought my eyes were going to pop out! Lol!
I am very lucky to have so many amazing friends and family; Thank you so much for helping me raise money, the great advice, training with me, words of encouragement and motivation and just being great friends.
Mom was my main inspiration for taking this on, but one way or another all of my family and friends inspired me and helped push me along the way to complete the 2012 Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer.
I gotta say though, my wife and kids were the most amazing! A very special thanks goes to them.
Late nights at the gym, training rides in the evenings and weekends, picky eating and they never complained once. Nothing but support from everyone around me!
Yup … I’m a very lucky man!
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