It is now known as the Tour de Cure, but formally, it was known as the Ride to Conquer Cancer, and it’s a major fundraising event for the BC Cancer Foundation where participants fundraise throughout the year and at the end of August, they all meet up in the lower mainland and do a big two days ride to celebrate their fundraising efforts and to kick cancer’s butt. Thousands of people participate each year, and hundreds of thousands of dollars are raised from all over the province.
Well, they haven’t been able to do the big ride in 2020 or 2021 because, well, you know *waves arms in the air.*
BUT that hasn’t stopped people from fundraising throughout the pandemic, including my hometown’s Tour de Cure team.
The Wheelin’ Warriors of the North are a force to be reckoned with. Everyone in Prince George knows about them because they have massive events, run the 50/50 at Spruce Kings Games, and always have the coolest jerseys.
They were founded in 2013 by an amazing lady, Karin Piche, in honour of one of her best friends Nola who unfortunately passed away from cancer. She wanted to do something to remember and honour her, and discovered the ride. She hasn’t looked back since.
Hundreds of people have joined the team over the years, AND over 1 million dollars have been raised for the BC Cancer Foundation. It’s pretty cool.
And this year, I became one of the newest members.
It really had to do with riding my bike a lot and one of the team captains following me on Strava and seeing all the riding I had been doing. (Everything leads back to Strava in my life…)
I ran into him one day while I was working and he told me that I should join the team. The Warriors would love to have me.
I told him next year (2022) because it was early-July and I felt like I wouldn’t be ready for the big ride physically, mentally and fundraising wise that was happening in August.
Later on in the month of July, I Funchased one of the team’s group rides and once again, Ron tried to convince me to join. I said next year.
But then I couldn’t stop thinking about joining. I WANTED to join. So why was I making a big deal that I was going to be joining the team extremely late?
I dunno. I overthink things all the time. It’s very unhealthy honestly.
So the following day, I messaged Ron and told him I want to join the team.
He was very excited and then told everyone I was going to do the 160km ride which I never agreed to but he made that information public so I was stuck.
What was I getting myself into?
Good question, because I really didn’t know.
I continued to ride my bike throughout the month, missed all the big team training rides because of work, and did my longest bike ride in my life the week before the ride – a whopping 78km. That’s less than half the distance of what I was going to ride the following week.
Again, what was I getting myself into?
I was terrified.
So much was happening. I left my job of two years, I was moving to Vancouver, and I was going to be riding 160km in a day on a bike. That’s a lot of kilometres.
The day before the ride, I sat in my mom’s car for an hour freaking out because I thought I couldn’t do it. I was crazy for doing this. I didn’t think I was going to make it up Jail Hill, which was at the very beginning of the ride, let alone all the way out to Purden Lake and back.
But on August 28th, I got up at like 3:30am after a bit of a night out, and got ready to meet the 160km crew at the BC Cancer Foundation in Prince George.
Sidenote: For the 2021, the Tour de Cure did regional hubs because of COVID-19. Prince George was one of those hubs.
Again. What was I getting myself into.
I really didn’t know.
There were a handful of us doing the 160km ride. Others were doing the 100km and 50km ride, but they started a little later in the day.
In the 160 group, I was the only girl and there was a 12 year old. Yes. A 12 year old was going to be riding 160km. Craziness. I definitely couldn’t do that when I was 12.
We started and the beginning of the ride went really well. Jail Hill also didn’t kill me. I actually kind of killed it.
We met up with the rest of the riders at a local elementary school near the outskirts of town. There, we had the opening ceremonies, got a big team picture, and then we were off.
The big part of the ride was happening. What was I getting myself into…
The 160km group left first, because we had to do a little more to hit our 160km.
Things were going great. I just kept riding. Stay focused on me, and tried to remember to drink water. That kind of failed. I didn’t drink enough water that day. Oops.
And then I caught up to the first 50km rider.
And then the next.
And then the next.
And then I started catching the 100km riders.
It became a bit of a game. And motivation. It was fun.
And I just kept riding. I didn’t stop at the first two pit stops they had set up. I just powered through and vibed to my Taylor Swift Playlist.
I eventually made it to the Purden turn around after a flat tire. I stopped for a bit, chatted, ate some food and then went back.
Out of the 160km crew, I was second, until I got my flat tire. Then a bunch of the guys had passed me.
But the game continued and I caught them all. Except for Ron. He’s a beast.
Sadly, it started to rain on the way back and it got cold, but I kept going. I had Taylor with me, so I was fine.
Unfortunately towards the end, two things happened.
- My phone died, so no more Taylor
- It was raining like crazy
- I missed the turn I was supposed to take to get back to the school so I was on the highway for a longer period of time than I was supposed to. But hey, I got to ride on fresh pavement.
I was worried because I thought I was going to be the last person to show up and I had no way of letting people know. And they wouldn’t have an actual idea where I was because I wasn’t following the route.
Oh I was nervous. I also didn’t have any music to motivate me which was a bit of a bummer. And the headwind got really bad during my last 10km.
But, I made it to the school, and to my surprise, I wasn’t the last one. No one who I had passed on my way back had made it back yet.
But I did it. I had ridden 160km in a day when I thought that I couldn’t. I was on a high.
I hung out with my parents for about an hour at the finished line before we left. We cheered on al the riders who came through, gave hugs, and chatted with a lot of people. It was great.
I felt amazing. I did something I thought I couldn’t do.
So. Why was it the highlight of 2021?
Well, I made numerous new friends who are on the team. I got 2 really cool cycling jerseys, I helped raise money for the BC Cancer Foundation, and I proved to myself that I can do it, if I put my mind to it.
Truly the best way to end my summer, and I am looking forward to doing this for years to come.
I’m really looking forward to this summer – the Tour de Cure is going to be a big in-person event again, and I cannot wait.
In August 2022, the Tour de Cure, presented by @Wheaton_PM, returns as an exciting one-day, in-person event! Let's keep momentum, power research, and together, save more lives.
— Tour de Cure British Columbia (@TourdeCureBC) September 15, 2021