I haven’t done a recap of this weekend’s ride from Vancouver to Seattle because I have been thinking a lot about it. Wondering how best to express the amazing adventure of riding my bike from Vancouver to Seattle in support of Cancer Research. It truly was amazing, despite the rain… lots of rain…rain, rain, rain…. did I mention rain?
So rather than do a detailed review and recap of each mile of the ride, I thought I would highlight some key lessons learned while riding my bike 250 km over the course of 2 days. There is a lot of solo riding time, which equates to a lot of thinking time. Here were some of my thoughts/lessons learned along the road:
- Cancer survivors are getting younger. I was really surprised, this year, how many survivors seemed to be my age or younger. Survivors ride their bike with a yellow flag and each time they passed me or I passed them, I would always take a look and smile. I was shocked by the age of a lot of these survivors. I guess I still have this mental image of Cancer Survivors being older, sort of that believe that at my age I am invincible, and yet I realize that I am not. It was a reality check, for me. Cancer can strike you at any age, so the best thing to do is to live in the moment. Have that sense of adventure. Take the opportunities. Be present.
- Riding with friends make the journey so much easier and WAY more fun. Last year I rode with Farley, Rhiannon, and Emily. This year it was Farley, Rhiannon and I… and just as last year, this year was filled with laughter, great girl chats on the bikes, and shared stories. Having fabulous girlfriends in your life, and especially by your side for 250 km, is such a gift. These two girls are always there to support me, lend a helping hand, offer advice, provide endless laughter, and when you need it most, walk into town to crab a bottle of wine and a tall boy beer at the end of day 1.
- No one looks good in spandex or cycling shirts that are a size too small. My ego took a hit on this one. I thought that by wearing Jeff’s Sugoi spandex shorts my muffin top would disappear and that this year the Team Finn jersey would fit a little bit looser. Not the case. That Team Finn jersey is a size too small and every time I put it on I think to myself “I *think* this feels looser”… and then I see the photos. Yah. So after talking this out with Emily and friends at the finish line, needing a little “self- image therapy”, Emily cut straight to the point and basically said “Look around you, NO ONE looks good in spandex, plus your shirt is a size too small”. Thank you sister.
- Celebrate your accomplishments. Rhiannon and I talk about this A LOT. Here is the deal. We both run half marathons, we sign up for 2 day bike rides to Seattle, we work out, we participate in loads of races… and yet, we NEVER celebrate our accomplishments. For me, the case is, well it doesn’t feel like an accomplishment, it feels normal (which in its own way is a good thing- if that much exercise feels normal then we must be doing something right). But at the same time I have made it my intention this week to celebrate my accomplishment of the ride, to celebrate the fact that I raised $2503.00 (yes that $3.00 is important), and to celebrate the journey of riding from Vancouver to Seattle.
- Each rider has their own story. We all participate in the ride for different reasons. For some it is because THEY are the survivors. For others they have lost a loved one to cancer or know someone who has lost a loved one to cancer. Whatever the reasoning, we all come together- all 3800 of us- all of us who raised a total of $11 million in support of research. To wipe this bad boy out. For me, I ride for a series of reasons. I ride for my Dad, Uncle, and Aunt who are survivors. I ride for Rhiannon’s Dad and Farley’s Mom. I ride for Finn, as a reminder that we when we are sick or sad or depressed that we can ALL dance, run, sing, play, and BE that 3 year old. And finally, I ride because if (God forbid) I ever get cancer or someone extremely close to me does, I want to know that I have done EVERYTHING in my power to fight against it. I want to know that someone out there is researching and making a difference in the effort to extinguish this awful disease.
It really was a privilege to be a part of the 2011 Ride to Conquer Cancer. It was inspiring, empowering, amazing, and an adventure I will never forget.