Gruelling 400-kilometre Ride2Survive for cancer rolls this weekend
19 June 2012
Lower Mainland, BC -
For eight years, about a hundred ordinary people have set aside their hobbies and sacrificed their weekends to spend half a year training for one of the toughest one-day amateur cycling events in North America—Ride2Survive. They do it to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. So far this year the crew and riders have raised $345,000. Since its inception the ride has raised 1.9 million dollars for cancer research.
Training began in February with bike rides 80 kilometres long. Two weeks ago, the training rides hit the 200-kilometre mark. This Saturday, June 23rd, another group of ordinary people will get on their bikes at Mainstreet Community Church in Kelowna at 3:30 am and arrive 19 hours later at South Shore Cycle in North Delta. With hours of training and fundraising behind them, they will “ride to survive.”
Now in its eighth year, Ride2Survive is designed to be a metaphor for battling cancer. Unlike other ultra-endurance cycling events such as the Rocky Mountain 1200 or the new Tour de British Columbia—and unlike the shorter cancer rides and GranFondos—Ride2Survive is a true team endurance event.
In Ride2Survive the riders start and finish together and are fully supported along the 19-hour ride. Food, water, conveniences, and medical support are provided at the end of each of the 13 stages. Drafting is encouraged and helping hands and SAG wagons are always available. Just like fighting cancer, say the organizers, you can’t do 400 kilometres and 13,000 feet of climbing alone.
Organizer Kerry Kunzli said, “A lot of people are drawn to the ride because of the physical challenge. But then they spend some time beside a rider who just got off chemo or somebody who has pictures of children lost to cancer on the top tube of their bike. Somewhere between that and riding into the finish in Delta, they change.”
The 400-kilometer route is a hilly grind that would test the endurance of professional cyclists. The stages are long and lonely and the stops are short. Veterans of the ride say that it is hard to get back on the bike and keep going. To help keep their spirits up, the organizers are hoping that people will come out and cheer them on along the way and that the donations will keep flowing in during those nineteen hours on the road, particularly during the final “yellow mile.”
Some of the best places to come out and see the ride on Saturday include: Johnson Bentley Memorial Aquatic Centre in Kelowna at 3:30 am, the BC Visitor Centre in Merritt at 9:45 am, Britton Creek Rest Area at 1:00 pm, Hope Memorial Park at 3:00 pm, the Mission Information Centre at 7:00 pm, Planet Ice in Maple Ridge at 8:00 pm, and the yellow mile in North Delta that ends at South Shore Cycle on Scott Road at 10:00 pm.
The yellow mile will take place along Scott Road between 72nd Avenue and 80th Avenue at approximately 9:30 pm. Spectators are asked to wear bright yellow and make lots of noise as the exhausted group nears the finish line.
To follow the group’s progress by GPS tracking on ride day, read their stories from the road or make a donation, please go to www.ride2survive.ca.
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.