Advil count: 4. T3 Count: 1 (that was just for fun). Banana count: ~15. I think.
The day turned out very good. Weather, on the coolish side for this time of year. I light drizzle leaving Kelowna, some headwinds climbing the Penask, big headwinds top of Larson Hill and along the top section of the Coquihalla heading to the toll booth, no significant winds heading down to Hope, no significant winds out of Hope. Never got super hot (huge win for me). This is the first year since my second year riding that I didn't have the responsibility of a radio. Hell, I only signed up last Wednesday. It left me with a bit of freedom to just go where help was needed, and it turned out pretty good. I was the leadership's group whipping boy, which allowed me to do what I'm good at without the constant buzzing in my ear. 10 years, I guess I've built up a bit of street cred.
I wasn't the only captain that left the team this year, several other very experienced riders did as well. After a while, committing to a big event like this does weigh you down, especially if you are part of the leadership group. Since last year's ride, I'd been dead set on no commitments: no racing, no formal training, ride my mountain bike as much as possible, ski as much as possible, swim when I want.
The kid had a fantastic ride, and this is the first year my oldest daughter could participate. Following is my FB post, but before that, one thing I didn't write about...a former R2S teammate named Bruce Schoenne. He was a Penticton based rider last year...strong as an ox. Diagnosed earlier this calendar year, went into hospice THIS WEEK, and passed away yesterday. He was Rider 85 last year. His number and spirit were ever present for this year's ride. This is evidence: this disease, as much as we've made significant research progress, is still winning. Good, healthy people being taken way too early...and it can happen to anyone. In our community, it was @Keeper (Marcus). I am one of the few that have very few bad stories surrounding cancer, and thank God. I know all my donors have their nightmares.
Thanks all for your continued support. 10 years, and a lot of your hard earned dough, we really appreciate it.
"My 10th R2S is in the books. This was Michael’s 5th as a rider, plus two others volunteering. It was Aaliyah’s first on crew.
This was probably my most special, especially given that up to about two weeks ago I didn’t expect to be riding. Since last year’s R2S, I’ve taken time away from any form of racing or structured training. Too much going on at home and the business to stuff anything else into the stress box.
That said, moving to Whistler means a lot of days on skis or mountain bikes or a nice open water swim. Finding a reasonable level of fitness wasn’t an issue. Spending sufficient time on an actual road bike was. It hasn’t been on the road really except for a short couple of spins in Fort Langley. Nothing like the training needed for R2S.
I told Michael I’d ride if he could raise $5K for us as a team. Each rider needs to raise $2500.00. I have always been a reluctant fundraiser. I’ll tell my story and the story that is R2S, and hope for the best. For some folks it comes easy, for me, never easy. I can ride a bike, though, and help other riders and better fundraisers to get through the hard day that is R2S. I always go in with that purpose.
Apparently Michael is a natural. He spent 50 hours 50 feet in the air in a scissor lift with two other R2S dudes, and together with a solid team on the ground they raised $20K. He was non-stop talking to the crowd through a loudspeaker, engaging, funny, and basically did something I’d never feel comfortable doing myself.
After that weekend, it was pretty obvious I’d be riding.
The original plan was for me to work on crew with my oldest daughter, Aaliyah, and Michael’s friend Amanda. This meant I was leaving them to their own devices.
It was special having Aaliyah with us. She has been busy at her dance recitals the last 10 years, unable to participate. Plus, she was too young to do it without a parent. This year, she’s 16, hard working and independent. She got herself a Kunzli pass to volunteer this year.
Aaliyah has never sat in the rider meeting the night before, and she experienced what we all do- hearing stories of loved ones taken too soon by cancers. It’s incredibly emotional, you learn about some of the horror stories your teammates have lived through, and it brings the whole team- riders and crew- together. It hit her hard, just like it hit Michael hard 7 years ago.
I had a great day on the bike. Before I knew it, we were pedaling into the last leg and I still felt great, finishing off another 400KM day by the time we rolled into the welcome home at 11:30. I just did my normal thing; looked for people to help, and killed the long day chatting with anyone next to me. Somehow, either my fitness or experience in this event, got me through...but...I also think it was the pride I had in my children. Watching Michael lead a group of adults many years beyond his 18, help others, and generally ride like a man worthy of the radio he wore was very peaceful. Seeing Aaliyah every stop, feeding riders, helping others, spraying them down with sun screen or bug spray, and working her ass off for the cause was just something I looked forward to seeing every couple of hours. Mostly, I’m happy that she has now seen for herself why I’ve had to miss those recitals. She understood before, but now she’s lived it. She has a huge heart.
I’ve always said it takes a village. I’m very grateful to Vicki and Kerry Kunzli for allowing my kids to be involved in such meaningful ways. Michael has grown up under the watchful eyes and strong mentorship of so many great leaders at R2S. Kerry, Vicki, Emilio, Rich, Surinder...an endless list. Aaliyah is now getting a taste of the same Kool-Aid. R2S is some pretty damn good Kool-Aid.
Oh, as of today we are at $615,000.00
Not bad for a band of 120 riders and a solid volunteer crew. 100% goes to research. Not one penny taken for administration. Research saves lives, and I do this for the next generation. My kids’ generation.
Thanks to all who donated. If you are interested in learning more, www.r2s.ca ."