$10.4 million dollars and 275km later… the 2013 BC Ride to Conquer Cancer has been CONQUERED!
Do you have anything in your life that you love so much or that you are so passionate about that you will endure everything and anything just to do it?
I do and that is cycling. The ride was for an amazing cause and I wanted to do it really bad so I refused to let anything get in my way, despite my bad luck prior to the ride. I was determined to do it with sick or not because even though I knew it was going to be a lot harder than usual, I knew my body could handle it. And that it did… very very well. The first day was the most mentally challenging ride of my life but never did I once think “I want to go home.” All I was thinking about was staying in positive and making the most out of the ride.
And what is food poisoning to cancer? Nothing!!
Nothing is impossible and the only thing holding you back is yourself. As I love to say: it’s all in your head.
One day before the 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer, I got food poisoning. I KNOW RIGHT. Just my luck. I was really sad but I stayed positive and kept on willing myself to recover and although I had a shitload of errands to run on Friday, I stayed in bed until mid-afternoon, puking, dozing in and out of sleep and drinking lots and lots of water and eletrolytes to stay hydrated since that was the most important part of recovering from food poisoning. I forced myself to get up at 4pm and carried mine and Boyfriend’s bikes down to the parkade and loaded it on the rack, realized I left my license upstairs so I had to call my concierge to watch the bikes while I went up to get it… only to realized it dropped out of my wallet and was in my purse all along… and then drive to work in rush hour traffic to pick up my co-worker’s bike and attempt to stuff it in the car (since he was really tall and our other friend’s bike was already another bike in the trunk!). Amazingly, I felt a lot better at that point because I was up and about. When you are sick, moving around is better than lying in bed sulking in your own misery. All I ate that day was a bowl of rice with clear veggie broth and some congee and noodles from a Chinese restaurant. Yes, I know, bad idea to get take out from Chinatown when you have food poisoning— excuse my stereotypes but I’m Chinese too and I really wanted congee okay!! I also refrained from taking any drugs on Friday so my body can do it’s thing. I was saving the drugs for when I really needed it… during the ride.
The next day I actually woke up NOT feeling sick (yay) until we got to the start line and I ate an evilly delicious breakfast burrito… my stomach started churning and my body was feeling super exhausted— all the way from the start line to the border… then the super long wait at the border (where I was hunched over my bike waiting in that super long line envying all those joyous people around me drinking coffee and eating snacks that volunteers were walking around with). It was until 107km later at Lake Whatcom in Bellingham where we finally had lunch, when I started to feel a little better. BUT the entire way, I just kept on popping Tylenol and Pepto Bismol and stopped at every med tent I saw to beg for more just for a peace of mind… that I knew I had a nice stash of drugs in my jersey pocket. Heh heh heh.
Our ride started when the route split into two and we turned left towards the Challenge route (right when the drugs started to kick in!). We got through the border late so we didn’t see too many people on the Challenge route (where as I’m sure the Classic was crowded with thousands of riders). It was pretty much just the 3 of us riding together for 140km until the last pit stop when our route finally merged with the Classic, where a lady rider joyously yelled “welcome to the easy route!”
It was an eerily quiet and beautiful ride and although it didn’t feel as “epic” as riding with so many other people who were all on the Classic route, it was more enjoyable in a way that we could go as fast we want and didn’t have to spend all our time trying to pass people. We passed by singles or small groups of riders or got passed by supermen in lycra who always gave us a nod or a thumbs up while effortlessly coasting by us.
I have to admit, the ride before we got to lunch was still fun— a painfully tortuous fun! Even though I almost bonked at 107km I held on because I knew lunch was coming up! Luckily, I love cycling so much so it was endurable but if you don’t, I’m not sure how you would’ve held up. My body was suffering from a lack of fuel and energy, the guys I was riding with were going respectfully fast (but not too fast) for me, the hills were fucking killer and there were times I was thinking “what the hell did I get myself into?!” But I had no regrets. I felt a lot better after lunch when I forced down the entire sandwich and more snacks. We finally got to camp 6 hours later and I headed straight for the showers! I spent that night in camp huddled in my tent willing myself to feel heal for day 2 while eavesdropping on all the hilarious conversations from the tents around me.
I woke up on day 2 feeling a lot better although my eyes were still swollen. I took some Claritin, Tylenol and a Pepto just in case, had some breakfast and we were off. The day felt like a complete cheat workout wise because we kept up and drafted in a super long and fast paceline the entire 50k towards lunch while passing many people. The rest of the way we decided to go on our own at a pretty easy pace until the finish line.
The 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer did not go as I would’ve liked but I’m glad I still did it for such an amazing cause! I would relive every millisecond and every ounce of pain from it if I could. Anything for cycling and anything for such an inspiring event. The volunteers again were awesome, I loved the cheering stations, there was free bike maintenance which I took advantage of and they even drew a heart on my tag and the atmosphere was like always, happy and upbeat.
My regrets from the 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer?
- Not doing the challenge route on day 2. I could have totally handled it because I was at 100% after sweating everything out the day before but Boyfriend really didn’t want me to do it. Or maybe he just didn’t want to. Harharhar! The Classic route was a little flat, boring and easy. It went by way too fast and I don’t remember much of it other than focusing on not colliding with other people. The only downside about the Challenge route is that you definitely don’t get the celebratory feel of the ride and a lot of the pit stops were empty since some of the serious riders skipped them altogether or just got in and got out right away! I guess we got the best of both worlds!
- Not being able to pig-the-hell-out at the pit stops on Day 1. Due to my inability to hold down food. I just drank a lot of Gatorade, had a couple bites here and there and forced down a big lunch.
- Not being able to drink the cup of yummy hot chocolate which smelled sooo good at camp on Day 1. Because I made it, brought it to my tent then felt nauseous from the food I forced down at dinner so I just curled up and passed out.
- Passing out too early. And missing out on a hilarious shouting match between two neighbouring tent telling each other to STFU. But at least I missed all the snoring wars.
I was just looking at the elevation profile of the two days and honestly while I was riding, I did not remember all those hills from the first day! That’s the problem when you are doing a long bike ride… you just ride and ride and sometimes you don’t realize the elevation change at all unless it’s super drastic. But I guess I did remember it in the way of …exhaustion. And perhaps I wasn’t feeling 100% on day 2. It was just SOOOOO much easier. Hah!
There was a fatal accident that occurred about 10 minutes behind us right before the lunch stop on day 2 when a teenage cyclist collided with a car after falling off his bike into oncoming traffic. It’s hard to think that such tragedy happened during such an inspiring event, especially when he was riding with his mom and uncle, who is brain cancer survivor. Although the event organizers always preached safety and mapped out the least busy roads, there are long and narrow stretches of roads crowded with cyclists of all levels and some traffic so there will always be risks involved, which is why you must always be alert, aware of your surrounds and use hand and voice signals. I hope his family at least finds comfort in the fact that he passed on while committed to doing something for a great cause.