2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer

$10.4 million dollars and 275km later…  the 2013 BC Ride to Conquer Cancer has been CONQUERED!

2013 BC Ride to Conquer Cancer... CONQURED!

I know, I forgot to hold my bike up like the dude in the logo but it’s just so much easier to press my bike up with one arm.

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 so bad and I refused to let anything get in my way despite my bad luck prior to the ride. I was determined to do it poisoned 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 a positive mood 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, rest is always the best while lying in bed always makes you feel more horrible. I’m glad I had a lot to do that day because it made me feel a lot better and it prevented me from sulking in bed. 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 longgg 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)… until 107km later at Lake Whatcom in Bellingham where we finally had lunch and 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.

2013 BC Ride to Conquer Cancer

We got to the start line pretty late so we were at the back of the pack. We were too busy eating, sunscreening and messing around. Oops!

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 actually got through the border pretty 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 and a lady rider 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 do have to admit, the ride before we got to lunch was 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 would relive every millisecond of it if I could. 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.

2013 Ride to Conqer Cancer Camp

Did I mention that my eyes got painfully swollen after my shower after I accidentally rubbed it and guess what I think was the cause? Mushed up bug parts that I rubbed back into my eye since so many bugs were flying into it while we were riding. Here is a picture of me hidden in my tent with my swollen eyes and my swollen nose because it was runny all day. Lol! Total cyclist problems! Or am I the only one? Sigh.

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 incase, 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 (so exhilarating but so risky). The rest of the way we decided to go on our own at a pretty easy pace until the finish line.

Flat 2km before the finish line

Guess what we saw about 2k from the finish line? Someone walking his bike because of a flat…. exactly what happened to me 2 years ago!! We quickly stopped to offer our help and then another cyclist also stopped and said that he could change a tube in 4 minutes. Someone did the same for the back then and I also got a free set of tools. Such amazing people!

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?

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
2013 RTCC Elevation Profile

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 occured 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.

Did you do the Ride to Conquer Cancer this year? How was your experience?


    2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Countdown

    The 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer is coming up this weekend and the excitement is finally settling in! I’m so happy they have a challenge route this year which means I get to bike 200 miles this weekend (with about 700m of elevation per day). Not bad at all. I’m stoked!!

    RTCC has a special place in my heart because it was the event that got me hooked on cycling. It all began when my best friend forced to go to an info-session one day where we sat around nervously listening to the guy tell us about the ride and then she forced us all to sign up… nervously. And guess what? It turned out to be an epic life-changing experience! Ever since I discovered the joys of cycling, my life has been so much better!!

    Katy @ Ride to Conquer Cancer 2011

    Training-wise, I’m just doing exactly what I did for my first RTCC and you can read more about it here. During my first RTCC, I didn’t get on an actual bike until a week or so before the ride! All I did was a lot of weightlifting, plyometrics and cycling on a stationary bike in the gym and it worked. But you have to remember, it’s all in your head too! In 2011, I was nervous because 240km sounded like a huge feat but this year I crave for even more distance… although I have other worries such as my knee (which I will write another entry about). Nevertheless, I know this is going to be amazing weekend and I plan to enjoy every minute of it. And of course, pig out at each of the rest stations since they always have such delicious snacks.

    I heard it’s going to be sunny this weekend too. UGH. I would rather it pour like the previous years because my vain-self does not want any tanlines!! But come to think of it, it was pouring when I did it 2 years ago and I still got a tanline. Sigh.

    Have you ever done the Ride to Conquer Cancer or a similar charity ride?


      Tips For Biking to Work

      There are so many benefits to biking to work! I was having a hard time getting up this morning but I kept on reminding myself that I NEVER regretted a morning ride so I hopped out of bed and off I went. Biking to work will result in BLISS because you build confidence since you will be fitter, healthier and happier. You will zip by traffic and get to laugh at people sitting in rush hour traffic. You will feel more energized and will be in a better mood at work (I swear by this!).

      And best of all,  you know you can eat more because you are burning extra calories every day. This morning, I burnt over 1000 calories before I even got to work. Why do you guys think I eat so much? If you love food as much as I do, that’s another reason to start biking to work.

      The bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created. Convert

      There’s a lot of reasons why people don’t bike to work other than the fact that they are lazy or they don’t know how to ride a bike— they have nowhere to shower, they’re unconfident about biking on roads, they live too far from work… but if you truly want to live a healthier lifestyle, make it happen.

      • No place to shower? Leaver earlier. Cycle slower. Keep deodorant, baby wipes and a couple changes of clothes at your desk.
      • Ditch the lycra. You don’t need to look like a wannabe professional cyclist while biking to work. There is nothing wrong with wearing your normal clothing. Although if your commute is long, you may want to wear those bike shorts!
      • Live too far from work? Not fit enough to bike the entire distance? There is nothing wrong with driving part way and bike the rest. You’ll also work up your fitness overtime.
      • Some days work is just too tiring and you can’t imaging biking home? Don’t be ashamed of taking the bus home (or like me, call the Boyfriend).
      • Afraid of cycling with traffic? Check for bike lanes in your city. My commute to work mainly consists of small streets and/or dedicated bike paths and there are only 2 blocks where I’m cycling on a busy street (although I have an alternative if I wanted to). Also, don’t be one of those idiots who cycle on some of the busiest streets in the city when there is a bike lane ONE BLOCK OVER. Research your routes!!
        Google Maps Vancouver Bike Lanes

        Go on Google Maps now and find a bike route to your work!

      • Your city isn’t bicycle friendly? If that is the case and you are completely unconfident about cycling, just don’t do it… yet. Go for a couple weekend rides to get comfortable and then gradually build up the days you bike to work.
      • Hate cycling with a ton of weight? Leave a couple changes of clothes at your desk, get your things dropped off earlier or consider panniers and bike bags. Only bring what you need.
      • Be prepared. Have your cellphone, credit card/bus fare (just in case, ya know), always assume drivers can’t see you, be aware of your surroundings, know your hand signals, know the law, be safe!
      • Don’t force it. If the weather sucks or if you are having a bad day, don’t feel bad about taking the bus or driving.
      • Think positive! If you are dreading that ride to work, think about it as a workout! Think about the extra food you can eat from the extra hundreds of calories burnt. Ask yourself, have you ever regretted a workout? Have a blast!

      I’m fortunate to have a gym and shower at work but I always leave a couple sets of clothing and shoes in my gym locker and always bring a full week’s worth of lunches and snacks in the beginning of the week so I cycle with less weight.  I haven’t bought a bus pass for the last 2 months to force myself to bike to work …but I have to admit, I’ve been driving a bit too the last month— harhar. I don’t feel bad though because when I don’t feel like biking, I just don’t. I am a full-time fitness freak but still a part-time commuter. No shame in that!

      Bike to Work

      If I’m feeling extra tired, a cup of coffee does the job. Sometimes I wish my commute was longer so I will create a “long way” and do a couple loops around the park or get some hill-training in. Then I make sure to get to work early enough so I have time to stretch and foam-roll for the perfect recovery.

      What about you? Do you bike to work?