What an awesome weekend for a bike ride! I feel very fortunate to have been able to participate once again in the Ride to Conquer Cancer this year. Looking at two days of sun and NO RAIN, I was looking forward to this event all week.
Day One started off rather uneventfully - donning the ride's trademark yellow jersey (the only time I figure that I'll be wearing a yellow jersey!) and joining the other 3,000+ riders taking part in this year's event.
I was happy to see some BCCers as I wandered about pre-ride. Mike and Eric were there with their friend Corby, and after running into eachother about three times before the ride started, they were stuck with me as a riding partner. With the large number of riders and the route being mainly on city streets, the ride started out a bit slowly, but as the day progressed we were able to enjoy some faster speeds, and the very well-stocked rest stations. As we pulled out of the lunch stop, we knew that the escarpment climb awaited us...and it did not disapoint. I kept hearing Dan's voice in my head "it's a false flat, just commit to a gear and spin through"....and somehow, I found myself at the top. Arriving at camp felt great, as the shower trucks and beer tickets awaited us, along with some fine grub. Lights were out by 9pm and we all settled down for some well-deserved rest.
Day Two started at 5:30, and began with a couple cups of coffee and a full bacon and egg brekkie. Not the usual routine pre-ride, but always nice to make exceptions. Sporting my new Vanderkitten kit, and with breakfast warming my tummy, I was antsy to get going. I knew that Stewart and the boys would be waiting for me at the finish line, and that was all I needed for motivation. I wished Eric and Mike a good ride, and away I went. The route for day two was primarily on country backroads, which meant one thing - SPEED! I was able to maintain a nice pace pretty much throughout the ride to the finish, except of course on the hill that they added to the route this year, which brought back memories of Rattlesnake, including the exceptional wheezing I was doing by the time I dragged my sorry (and sore) butt to the top. But with Hammergel in my veins I carried on. I crossed the finish line just before noon and was able to enjoy some of the post-ride refreshments (yes, more beer tickets! :) before heading to the car back home.
All in all it was a wonderful experience, and a humbling one, as we were riding in the company of eight blind riders, a woman returning to the ride this year who has only one leg, and a parapelegic man who had broken his back in a cycling accident in October and who had vowed to be a part of the ride regardless. Combined with all of the riders sporting the yellow cancer survivor flags, it really makes you realize just how lucky you are to have the ability to get out on your bike and raise money for such an amazing cause.
Congrats to ALL of the BCCers who were a part of this weekend - Mike, Eric, Charlene, Albert, Karyn and Olga - great to see some familiar faces in such a huge crowd! Way to go guys!