by Julie Grant
The 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer is a weekend I will never forget.
I was more determined than ever this year to cross that finish line, after the disappointment of not finishing in 2012 due to technical problems with my bike.
Following a short training season and a change in dates due to Southern Alberta’s flooding, we were finally at the start line. It was a honour to be standing not only with my riding partner, Coreen Spencer, but also with the rest of my team “Karla’s Krew” which includes myself and four of my cousins, one being Karla Foisy who is recently in remission from breast cancer — as well as 1,600 other riders.
The start of the ride is very emotional. It includes a minute of silence while a bike is walked up through the crowd honouring all of those who have lost their battle with cancer, the “silent rider”.
I couldn’t help this year but be especially saddened by this gesture, as I had lost my father to brain cancer 20 years ago and this year at the ride my five month old daughter was with me. Through tears, I told her that the bike was for grandpa, that we are doing this for grandpa.
And so the journey began. Day one to sum up was 120 kms in hot, hot sun, many hills, one fall off my bike (which equalled one good bruise), a very sore butt and pure mental, physical and emotional exhaustion.
A good night sleep got us ready for day two which included 110 kms, the most intense hills I have ever seen, hot, hot sun, no wipe outs but one huge sense of accomplishment as I finally crossed the finish line. My family was there to see my complete this feat and I felt like a rock star.
To have been part of a cycling event that raised $7.6 million for cancer research was amazing. To ride among cancer survivors and fighters was a honour.
The stories that I got to hear from other participants will stay with me forever. These strangers have changed my life and I am inspired by the courage and dedication of everyone involved in the weekend to continue to do my part to help fund cancer research. While I draw an immeasurable amount of strength from my father, I truly believe in my heart, for my daughter’s sake, that we will find a cure in my lifetime.
Coreen and I are both so thankful for the support we received from our friends, family, the community of Sylvan Lake and the businesses who sponsored and supported our Ride of Your Life event in February and donated so many great door prizes. Every dollar raised goes directly to Alberta Cancer Foundation and is put to work immediately. Thank you Sylvan Lake for helping in the fight against cancer.