Seven Days to Go

That’s right, seven days from now I will be on the road riding my Trek 7100 bicycle from Toronto to Niagara Falls. Well, actually, from the C.N.E. grounds to Mohawk College the first day, then off to Table Rock Park in Niagara on Sunday. Nevertheless, there’s only a week to go and the excitement is starting to build.

It will be strange this year; having been through cancer this past winter has altered my perspective.  I have a small concern about my energy levels, but I know I’ll make it though it may take longer. But I’m wondering what it will be like riding as a survivor. There are people I’ve met in previous years who will remember me if they see me and it will be interesting to see how they respond when they see the yellow flag and socks sported by survivors on the ride.

On the other hand seeing the hundreds of yellow flags sticking up from the crowd of 5000 riders at the starting line is a testament to the success of cancer research over the years. More and more people are surviving this terrible disease, and it’s because of research being done with dollars raised through events like the Ride to Conquer Cancer.

There is a small development on the side effects front. I was told that the radiation would kill off a bunch of the hair follicles in my face rendering my beard history. However, last week I noticed when I was saving that most of them are actually functioning again! The only ones that seem to be affected are lower down in an area I usually shave anyway when I trim my beard back. So, much to Roberta’s relief, I’m growing the beard back. She never has liked me clean shaven.

Getting back to the Ride to Conquer Cancer, I’m at the 80% mark in my fundraising and have such a short way to go to reach my goal of $2500 in donations. If everyone who sees clicks on the banner at right and contributes just $10 I’ll reach and surpass that goal with plenty to spare. So much in fact that if you go to my personal page and find I have reached my goal, please support one of the other members of Team Kortright is has not on my behalf.

I know, I’m really pushing the donation thing, but it is only Seven Days and counting!

Thanks everyone!


On the Road Again…

Bike Computer Day 1

Bike Computer Day 1

Well Daylight Saving Time is upon us once more and that can mean only one thing. It’s time for me to get my bike out of the trainer and back onto the street. With less than three months till the 2010 Ride to Conquer Cancer I have some trainin’ to do.

Started off slow today; just a little over 24 km. Did 10km to work this morning in the rain and then home gain with a side trip to the church. My time? Nearly 2 hours total; a blistering 13.9 km/hr average. First day with real hills and hauling about 35 lbs of extra gear (tool bag and computer case) I wasn’t in any hurry.

But it’s a start; that’s what matters. Now the question is, “how much can I get in before the Ride?”

Progress is Being Made.

For those of you who may be interested, I had my first physiotherapy session today. My therapist. Laurie, says things are looking pretty good. She’s pleased with my range of motion and says I have a little more strength in my ankle than most people who go through what I’ve been through. Not a lot, but more than average by her experience. This I credit to the good Lord and all of you who have been praying for me out there.

We talked about my goal of participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer in June and I would have to describe her response as ‘cautiously optimistic.’ She definitely feels that cycling will once again be a part of my life, it’s just a matter of how soon. I have a regimen of range of motion exercises to do and I see her again on Monday. More time with my foot out of the boot – this is a good thing.

One of the more difficult exercises involves tracing out the letters of the alphabet in the air with my big toe. I was surprised at how much difficulty I have doing this. It’s like I can remember how to form simple letters. I found myself having to really concentrate to get the shapes right. I’m wondering if being right-handed translated to writing with my feet as well. So I tried the same exercise with my right foot and found it a dozen times easier. Still trying to decide if it’s a left-brain/right-brain thing, or is it all in my head. lol

Speaking of the Ride, word is out that registration for the 2009 Ride to Conquer cancer is closed. last year 2850 cyclist participated in The Ride, and I’m sure it will be even larger this year. That 2850 qualified for the largest cycling fundraiser in Canadian history. I’m really looking forward to riding with Team Kortright this year. It will be a great weekend for all of us.

So please continue to pray for me and all the members of the team; Brian Watson, Graham Watson, Noah Bartozzi and David Rippon, that all of our physical and fund raising challenges will be met. Thanks Everyone

Until next time…

New Orientation Video from RtCC

Many of you know that I rode in the Ride to Conquer Cancer last year. Well I’d like you to know that I’m riding this year as well. This year I’m proud to be the captain of Team Kortright, a group of friends from my home church that have chosen to ride with me in support of a great cause.

For details on the ride you can visit The RtCC Home Page.
To support me in the effort go to my RtCC Page.

In the meantime please check out this orientation video, featuring a familiar face.

Thanks Everyone!


Ride to Conquer Cancer – Day One (Part 2)

Once back out on the road we ran into a little light rain. The skies looked fairly dark in the south-east, but the predicted storms didn’t materialize. The rain stopped after about 30 minutes and then it was fairly smooth riding.

The next Pit Stop was held in the driving yard of Parkside Farms. I found the variety of places where they had arranged for these Pit Stops; libraries, Bible Camps, farms, parking lots; and everywhere the same level of support; water, Gatorade, fruit, bread, and other snacks. Each one seemed to be manned by volunteers from one of the sponsors, this one was provided by Ford. there would be one more just a dozen or so kilometers from Mohawk College manned by folks from the Globe and Mail.

On the way down into Dundas coming off the escarpment there is this really big, curvy hill. There’s a look-out point at the top of nthe hill where tourists can stop and take pictures. i remember stopping here with my parents when I was just a kid. a lot of the riders were stopping here as well. I couldn’t resist, the view from there is terrific. (Though they should clear a few of the tress back to improve the sight lines.)

I really like the one picture I took there (right). A think it kind of embodies what the experience was about, a rider having the time of his life, seeing some great things along the way, knowing they are doing good with the effort, calling home to share the experience. No, i don’t know the guy’s name. i thought about asking, but decided that having a name would make it his experience – nameless he represents us all.

I finally rolled into the overnight camp at Mohawk College about 2pm. It had taken me slightly less than 5 hours to cover the 108 km from. And to my surprise I felt only a little tired, and not at all sore. Near as I could guess from the number of bikes in the bike park vs the space available I was riding in about two-thirds back from the front of the pack. I decided that was pretty good for a middle-aged, over-weight, cyclo-commuter. I would have been happy with anything better than last.

The camp, like everything else I’d seen so far, was extremely well organized. there were food tents, massages tent, stretching exercises, and booths for some of the sponsors. The first thing was to claim my gear and find my tent. When I got to tent F24 no one else had arrived yet. I assumed by tent mate was either still out on the road or had decided to take in some of the other amenities before claiming his gear.

After storing my gear in the tent, I went back to take in the stretching class. My research told me I needed to do some major stretching to prevent soreness the next day. The routine, led by a physio-therapists, lasted about ten minutes. I then grabbed some Gatorade and headed to the showers.

The showers were great. I had wondered if we would be using the colleges athletic dept. But they had three large mobile shower trailers from a service. There were individual change and shower stalls, with plenty of hot water and lots of water pressure. It felt great. After the shower it was off for a massage. the massage therapist focused on my legs and shoulders. Once the stretching, showering, and massaging was complete I felt as if I’d cycled around the block instead of 108 km.

The next step was dinner. Like everything else I was impressed, although by now I was coming to expect it. It was obvious the people putting this thing together knew just what they were doing. Chicken, meatballs, sausage, pasta, salads, veggies and free beer. There was also live entertainment. I was glad that while I was eating a better than average jazz band was playing.

After dinner I walked around and checked out the various tents. The information tent was there to handle issues relating to the ride and the charity. IBM was there promoting the World Community Grid, a project that provide computing resources for humanitarian projects including The Ride to Conquer Cancer. Globe and Mail provided newspapers. There was even a Concierge to handle rider needs that fell outside th realm of the Ride itself.

Our friend Darby Kent brought my wife Roberta down to visit for a while. It was great to see her, though I really should have taken a picture of her and Darby on the grounds somewhere. I showed them around a bit and then we went to a local Tim Horton’s for coffee and something to eat. (Visitors could tour the grounds but all the food and drink was for riders and crew only.)

After that little trip it was back to the camp. Visitors had to be off grounds by 9pm. After Roberta and Darby left I went back to the main tent to listen to some music for a while an the packed it in. I was still the only one in my tent. Since all the riders had reported in by 7pm and all the gear had been picked up from the trucks, I could only imagine that either my tent mate had dropped out of the ride for some reason, or they had never assigned one to me to begin with.

I found myself really hoping it was the latter because the only reason for dropping out would be if he (tent mates are on the same gender) was unable to finish or some family emergency came up. I didn’t wish that on anyone. I wanted everyone who started to complete the entire ride. It seemed important that not just I finish, but everyone who started. I said a prayer for whoever he was.

As the night cooled down I lay in my tent listening to the conversations going on around me. There was a comfort in it even though I wasn’t participating. I was oddly not alone. I was surrounded by people with a common goal, a common experience, and a common passion.I remember thinking it was agreat picture of what the church should be.

But that’s a topic for another blog… Good night.