I had a whole long post here about my rides over the years, and when I updated the title...it somehow all got lost.
I started riding in 2013, as my friend Heather had recently gone into the hospital in Calgary. That first year, I rode alone, not as part of a team, and it was gruelling. It was the ride in Alberta, and it rides through the foothills of the Rockies. LOTS of hills. There were so many times I wanted to stop, but then I would just start to chant Heather's name. She did not have the option to stop fighting, so neither would I. She got me to the top of every hill on that ride!
In 2014, I broke my ankle being stupid (yup, don't ever play hopscotch in cowboy boots) and was still doing physio when the ride happened, so I missed that one.
In 2015, I moved to Vancouver Island and was able to transfer my ride from the Alberta ride to the BC ride. Back then, we were still riding from Vancouver to Seattle. Day one was brutal. Near hurricane force winds, porta-potties blowing across parking lots, trees and branches coming down (I had to jump a branch at one point and ward off another one), powerlines down. I was lucky enough to tag onto another rider, and Jennifer and I somehow managed to get ourselves across the finish line, with no pit stops after lunch (which was about 1/3 of the way into the day). Instead of the 125 kms expected, we rode about 175 kms that day. Very few people actually rode the full course on that day, but we were two of them! That is how I ended up joining Riders for Ryders. Then welcomed me to ride with them on day two, and provided me a team windbreaker so that I could ride across the finish line as part of the team. I've ridden with them ever since!
2016 was once again rides down to Seattle, and then in 2017, things changed. Instead of crossing the border, we were to ride from Vancouver to Chilliwack and then on day two up to Hope. But wildfires had another plan. We were not able to ride up to Hope, so day two was "out and back" to Chilliwack...in the rain. 2018 was questionable for a bit because of smoke from fires, but the winds changed, and we were finally able to ride Vancouver to Chilliwack to Hope. It was a great ride with the team!
2019 saw the ride cancelled, along with most everything else. In 2020, we were encouraged to do local rides. In 2021, Riders for Ryders met in Vancouver and did our own 100km ride. Was so good to be back with a lot of the team, riding for the cause we all believe in so much. In 2022, we were able to do a single day ride. We met in Chilliwack and did a ride of about 100km. It wasn't the same, but at least it was something!
And now we are in 2023. We are back to the full two day ride from Vancouver to Chilliwack to Hope. Since starting this journey in 2013, I have lost friends and family members to cancer. The hardest by far has been the loss of one of my highschool classmates. She was only 23 days older than me, and we grew up together at boarding school in Africa. It's never easy, but when it is someone you are very close to that is the same age as you are, it hits hard.
This may be my last ride...I don't know for sure. It's my tenth year to ride, over 2000 kms ridden, over $25,000 raised for cancer research. Please consider helping me cross this finish line by exceeding my fundraising expectations. Thank you to everyone that has participated over the years - from small to large donations, those who donated to see me shave my head, I appreciate you all.