Today was a day to be remembered, a day where months of hard work came together. It was a celebration. A uniting of communities.
A time where new friendships were forged. A time where impromptu family reunions were held. It was a time to be proud of what has been accomplished and a time to be in awe what has yet to be done. Today was the 2015 Kelowna Community Ride for ALS held at the Fresh-Air Concepts bike store right here in downtown Kelowna.
The day started innocently enough. The Cycle of Hope team met outside in the parking lot of the Kelowna Accent Inns at about 6am – that’s right. 6am. I couldn’t help but be amused because when I first learned about the Cycle of Hope, all everyone was talking about the riding but no one mentioned that most of it would be done before breakfast! The good news is that we have a support team and they met us at the bike store with coffees in hand. I love our team!
We had a team stand-up meeting before we headed off where we announced a number between 0 and 10 indicating how we were feeling- a kind of self-check so that we will know how to look after each other Unsurprisingly, there were 10’s all around. We even paid tribute to coach Jen’s fabulous hair. If you’ve met Jen-Pen before you will know that her hair is like no other. It kind of has to be experienced.
The Kelowna ride is well attended and well supported by the community. Corrine Boback did a first-class job organizing it! The ride itself has two outstanding options – a 30k and a 70k – and the routes were stunning! My wife Daphne and I opt’d for the 30k and we were delighted to be joined by the Trim family who came from Victoria to ride for Ernie Wiens – Daphne’s father who cialis buy is a 20 year ALS surviver. It is incredible to be supported by them in this way. In the last few months, we’ve learned first hand, over and over again that the biggest gift you can give someone who is going through something significant is the gift of time – just be there with your loved one. It is the best thing you could do! My team-mate – Les had his son Graham join him as well on the 70k route. You should have seen Les over the last few days – he’s been absolutely giddy!
There was one thing at the event that was inescapable – the literal sea of red and white jerseys. I think at one time the M.C. for the event mentioned that those jerseys seemed to be multiplying like rabbits. The wearers of the jersey’s belonged to team McComb. I’m not sure about the exact number but there must have been at least 50, 25 of which were riding! How cool was that? Scott McComb drove up and down the course in the family Volkswagen “Thing” keeping a close eye on the action. Honestly, I think they were just trying to game the raffle results!
Tammy Moore from ALS Canada joined us on the 70k route despite having only purchased a road bike a few weeks prior. She told a hilarious story about her encounters with bike culture including the how she learned by trial and error about the proper way to wear bike shorts. I must say that was by far the funniest 6am conversation I have had in a long time. She claimed complete biking ignorance but judging from how fresh she appeared crossing the finish line on such a challenging route, I really think she might be having some fun with us. I also learned that she is originally from Kelowna. Perhaps “home court” fuelled her spectacular performance.
I could go on and on about how great today was and how moving it was to ride amongst riders who weren’t all riders but who were simply everyday people going about their every day lives when the meteor called ALS came crashing into their atmospheres causing major devastation. The people I talked to today were people like Linda, David, and Quinn and countless others. People who I probably wouldn’t have otherwise crossed paths with but but had the privilege of meeting today if for no other reason except we have all been violated in some way by this dreadful disease. Today we all stood together, seeking comfort, seeking healing and publicly shouting at the top of our lungs that we’re tired of the devastation caused by ALS and we’re not going to stand for it any more!
A few weeks ago, the Cycle of Hope riders had a Skype call with Dr. David Taylor, the head researcher at ALS Canada and he told us that in his heart of hearts, he believes that we are only 8 years away from making ALS a treatable disease – only 8 years! That gives me such hope! How cool would it be to be in Kelowna participating in a 70k community ride in 2023 when that bit of research success is announced? I’ll tell you how cool – pretty cool indeed!