I’ve heard many stories about the Ride to Conquer Cancer and the sense of community and accomplishment enjoyed as those cyclists pedaled over 200 km from Vancouver to Seattle. But when I heard those stories I didn’t really think it was anything I’d ever want to take on myself. 200 km is a long way to sit on one of those seats!
However, surprisingly for me, a seed must’ve been planted and I gradually came around to the idea over a period of a few months. I had learned to appreciate the clarity of mind that riding offered, and began to wonder about riding longer distances. Gee, would I get greater clarity? Maybe!
I cycle to work nearly every day – a 10 km commute each direction. Half of it is a climb, and half a descent. I would just need to do a week’s worth of commuting in two days.
When I signed up, I was immediately impressed at how friendly the people at the organization are! They even gave me tips on riding and training.
That was also when I found out about the donation commitment.
I quickly realized that the physical effort was going to be superseded by the financial effort! I was doing well with my training, but as a more introverted guy, I didn’t really have the salesmanship to drum up the big donations that others had. I’m not sure if I was more intimidated by the ride or the fundraising.
I also was advised my trusty hybrid bike is too bulky for a lengthy ride. However, even with a “clunky” bike or fundraising shyness, whenever I was out training I became more focused on getting the ride done. I thought about people I’d known who have had cancer touch their lives, and I thought about my own grandfather who I never really knew because cancer took him when I was three. I’d decided I was going, so the fundraising was just going to have to happen. I was committed and there was no turning back. Focus and determination have served me through training, and my hybrid and I have been through hundreds and hundreds of kilometers together but still, I needed a little help with fundraising.
The week before the ride took place I was still three hundred dollars short of my goal. And that’s when Long View stepped in! Our receptionist told me that the social committee had planned to hold a bake sale in the next few days, but I knew in order to pick up my event package on the weekend I needed to figure something out quick. I got notice via email from another colleague that the social committee went out that very morning and purchased some gourmet donuts for the office; they were taking donations to help my cause! $180 was raised that afternoon, and more the next day during a 50/50 draw.
And just like that, within 48 hours, I closed the distance to my fundraising goal. One challenge conquered, now all I needed to do is convince my legs that they could keep up their end of the deal.