The therapy of riding

I think most of us have all experienced the feeling when you find out that someone you know has cancer. It’s a feeling that leaves you a bit empty and helpless, and you just hope the diagnosis is optimistic. Sometimes the news is good and sometimes it’s not. Cancer is an unfortunate and unfair deal of the cards.

Recently, I found out a family friend was battling an aggressive brain tumour and earlier this month he lost the battle. Doug was the Fire Chief at the City department after my Dad. He spent his career giving to others – putting his life on the line, serving his community and being a leader to the men and women of the department. His diagnosis and death seemed really unfair. But as it goes with the brotherhood of the fire department, the same men and women who Doug once stood behind, have rallied to stand behind him. A group of local firefighters started a ‘Team Doug’ for the Ride to Conquer Cancer to honour him and his battle. When my dad got the call to join the team, he asked me to join him. I couldn’t think of better time spent on my beloved bicycle.
I once read a quote from Arthur Conan Doyle that said, “When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” Riding a bicycle is joyful, adventurous, and freeing. There is almost nothing in this world I love more on a Sunday morning in the warm morning sun than to hop on my bike and set off down the road with the wind against my cheeks. Sometimes, for very brief moments, I will even close my eyes and pretend I’m flying. It’s one of the few times I feel like a kid again – wild, young and free. Whether in solitude or with a gang of friends, riding is therapy. And the Ride to Conquer Cancer offers just that.

At the end of August I will join my dad and thousands of other cyclists, and we will ride from Cloverdale in the Lower Mainland of B.C. through to Seattle, Washington. Over two days, we will cover 200 kms.

For so many reasons, this will be one hell of an epic ride and I’m honored to ride side by side with my dad, whose friend courageously fought the fight of his life.

I look forward to sharing my love of cycling on the open road and connecting with others who share similar stories and who are just trying to do something bigger than themselves and make a difference. This will be a great adventure and I can’t wait to share the story.

If you would like to be part of my journey and help me honour Doug – you can donate on my personal Ride to Conquer Cancer page.

The end of an era

This weekend began a new era of cycling in my triathlon journey as I made the switch over from a roadie to a tri bike. Since clipping in on Saturday I’ve put in over 100 kilometres in the saddle, and I think I’m in love. It’s sleek and quick and light and it’s molded to me like a glove. But this new love has come at the expense of my old flame. This week’s post isn’t about breaking through barriers, or new challenges, or epic journeys, but about remembering Red Lightning, one of the most important partners I’ve had along the way.
He was once the light that shone brightly and mighty. He was old, but full of life, and I loved him. Now he sits, torn apart and left behind like a broken lamp that has no home. I stripped his wheels, pedals and saddle, then left him there in his fading blaze of glory. As I walked past him this morning, I felt an unusual and most abnormal feeling of grief. Together we have conquered mountains. We have crashed together, cried together and laughed together. I’ve yelled at him and spoke softly to him. We have had bonding sessions before races, and I even hugged him after races. But most importantly during those races we could drop faster, sleeker, prettier, and pricer bikes, because together Red Lightning and I were unstoppable. He was my first road bike and in some way I feel that since we started the journey together we should end it together, but alas sometimes change is good. It seems so silly to become attached to an inanimate object, yet in a year of so many challenges and first experiences, it’s hard not to feel that connection. It does become part of the experience and, for the most part, he fared me very well. Together we rode more than 1,500 kilometres, climbed more than 15,000 metres, raced in six triathlons, called one taxi home, crashed twice and conquered the biggest challenges of my triathlon journey. I know this isn’t the end of his road, perhaps maybe it’s just a break, but nonetheless I feel it’s important that at this juncture to look back on the memories. Nonetheless, no matter where the road goes, he’ll always have a place in my heart and together we will ride again, it will just be a different journey.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.