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A charity bike ride has changed my life :)

Archive for the category “Cancer”

5th Annual Cypress Challenge – Saturday 18, 2012

On a scale from 1 to 10… How crazy is it to do a 12km bike ride up a mountain and then fly to Asia on the same day I asked my colleague….

“Ummm…. I wouldn’t do that if I were you…. How long is your flight?? Do you really want to exert yourself that much, and have all that lactic acid built up in your legs when you are forced to sit down for so long?” she replid.

Oh rats… I didn’t think of that. So I guess the answer is 11. Bummer!! ūüė¶

The 5th Annual Cypress Challenge will be held on Sat Aug 18th Рand sadly I will have to give it a miss.

Participants will cycle 12km up Cypress Mountain to raise funds for Pancreatic Cancer Research. Each year the challenge is dedictae to someone who pass passed, or is undergoing treatment for this type of Cancer. This year’s challenge is in memory of Bob Hager.

Who is Bob Hager??

Bob Hager was a prominent Vancouverite who was a driving force in building one of Canada’s most successful asset managers, Philips, Hager & North (PH&N). He was also a generous community contributor, enriching and improving the lives of the many people less fortunate than himself. He was quietly driven, humble and had a never ending dedication to his family, clients and community. Bob died of Pancreatic Cancer in October 2011.

Some info about this Event:

The event was created by Geoffrey and Myriam Glotman in 2008 after they lost Myriam’s mother Betty Ergas to pancreatic cancer. In 2010 the event hosted by Paul Carson, who was being treated for the disease at the time, raised $50,000 for pancreatic cancer research. Paul passed away from the disease in January 2011. In 2011 the event, dedicated to the memory of Jack Poole, raised over $125,000 for pancreatic cancer research.

Some REALLY scary facts about Pancreatic Cancer:

  • Nearly 600 British Columbians will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012
  • 75% of patients do not survive a full year post-diagnosis
  • Only 5% survive after five years
  • Across Canada, pancreatic cancer is the 4th leading cause of cancer deaths.

Would have SERIOUSLY loved to do this ride but I guess¬†I will have to wait for next year…. Passed it on to my cycling friends in the meantime.

Check out this cool video from last year’s ride: Cypress Challenge 2011

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THE FINISH LINE – Some more great RTCC 2012 ‘In Action’ shots!

Some more RTCC 2012 shots …. this time courtesy of photographer Ron Sombilion – check out his gallery of the event here.

Ron captured me as I arrived at the finish line, and later when my friends doused me with champagne. A great moment!!

Copyright: Ron Sombilon

Copyright: Ron Sombilon

Copyright: Ron Sombilon

Copyright: Ron Sombilon

Copyright: Ron Sombilon

Copyright: Ron Sombilon

 

Ride to Conquer Cancer 2012 Video

It has taken me an entire week to upload my RTCC 2012 video – but it is finally here!! I choose early 80s disco/soul music because it reminds me of my mom – she was diagnosed with breast cancer only a few weeks before the ride and we both love that style of music.

I wore my pink tutu the entire time I was on my bike and it was a huge hit – a lot of riders were complimenting me on it and asking me why I was wearing it – for my mom!! A few days after the ride my mom went to hospital for her mastectomy. The surgery was a success and she is back at home recuperating.

Thank you to all my friends, family, angels and saints who¬†prayed for her ūüôā

The entire RTCC experience was just amazing and I HIGHLY encourage anyone in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario or Quebec to sign up!

I was so scared that I’d fail but I have¬†the best¬†friends & family who supported me all the way – with donations, encouragement, training, etc!!

So here is my video – I hope you like it!!

I will be creating another post with the “lessons learned” for anyone who is thinking about doing this ride in the future. It’s always a good idea to speak to someone who has already done the ride to get the low-down on what to expect!!

Taking Chances – Ride to Conquer Cancer 2012 is complete!

I love this image. The line is attributed to Wayne Gretzky  Рthe famous CAD hockey player who every kid admired in the 80s/ early 90s.

I survived the Ride to Conquer Cancer this past weekend and I am feeling this slight ‘void’ feeling post-event. You know when you achieve a MASSIVE goal and suddenly you are feeling suspended/ in limbo and think NOW WHAT??

The first time I heard about this ride was in 2008 and I remember thinking how badly I wanted to¬†take part in¬†this event – but I couldn’t. I didn’t think I would be able to raise the $2500, since I had just moved to Vancouver and knew no one. I also didn’t think I’d be able¬†to train my body to be fit enough to ride that long of a distance.

Later on I came across people who were doing it – and I always thought of them as these super-cool, super-human, super-achievers…. I WISHED I could be like them and do it too. But it was too scary. I wasn’t ready.

When I FINALLY decided (and shook hands on it) to do the ride with my friend Jason¬†in Fall 2011, I was at the same time seriously doubting whether this was even possible. It was a little terrifying and there were moments throughout the months of training and fundraising when I thought I wouldn’t/ couldn’t/ shouldn’t¬†make it.

But I did. I was part of the amazing group of 3,011 riders who cycled to Seattle in the name of Cancer Research.

I am so happy & proud of myself for doing the RTCC 2012 this year – IT WAS SO WORTH IT!!

After all that adrenaline, endorphins, nerves, relief, pain, exhilaration, fatigue, amazement,¬†etc…. I feel as though I am going through an emotional withdrawal right now! I need to find a new challenge!! hehe

So my take-away thought for anyone reading this is: NEVER DOUBT WHAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF!

Project Pink Tutu : A tribute for my mom who has Breast Cancer

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about my mom who was recently diagnosed with Breast Cancer….

Keeping tabs on how she’s doing , thinking of HOW exactly I can be of any help to her (and my dad) since I live so far away from home, and searching for a way to¬†SHOW my support.

Since I am cycling to Seattle to raise awareness for Cancer Research on June 16th, I thought it would be AMAZING if I could personalise my bike/ cycling gear for her! And then send her photos of the event.

But what should I do??! ¬†A photo of her attached to my helmet or jacket, or a pink ribbon on my cuff/ chest, or pink ribbons in my pigtails, or sowing the word MOM¬†with red yarn¬†red on my jersey sleeve…. I turned over a lot of different ideas in my head.

I wanted something BIGGER and BETTER and BOLDER – because she deserves it!!

The final result – tres magnifique. I hope my mom likes it!!

So I was super excited when I got home after my Saturday training ride & the idea popped into my head РI could wear a PINK Ballerina style tutu!!! EUREKA!!!

Inspired and energized by my sudden Eureka moment I pounced on my bed & powered up my Macbook to do some quick research.¬†¬†Primarily I was interested in¬†discovering how much adult tutus cost and where I can find a¬†nearby dance-specific ¬†retailer or online store that can ship product to my door in under a week…

Here’s what I discovered:

ONE: An inspiring & creative¬†initiative by photographer bob Carey¬†– The Tutu Project. Bob’s wife has battled Breast Cancer, so he takes photos of himself wearing a tutu to raise awareness. He’s also published a book of these images – with proceeds going directly towards Breast Cancer organizations including Cancer Care¬†and the¬† Beth Israel Dept of Integrative Medicine Fund.¬† The following is my favourite image of his.

TWO: That once again YouTube saves the day! I don’t need to BUY a tutu ….. I can go ahead and¬†MAKE one! It’s super simple!

I watched  this helpful video, took down some notes, stashed an inch tape in my purse, and quickly made my way to Dress Sew on West Hastings Street to buy fabric & ribbon.

There were a lot of different shades of pink tulle – hot pink, dark almost purple pink , pale almost white pink, etc. In the end (thanks to a suggestion from a guy who was buying material for his wizard costume), I settled on a dusty rose pink tulle + a sparkly baby pink organza that I¬†planned to use as an accent throughout the tutu (makes it more magical when you add some sparkle!)…

The method I used is exactly as was described in the video. I measured 25″ for the length of my tutu strips (folded in half that equates to a 12.5″ long tutu) – which is perfect for riding a bike. Not too long (don’t want it to get all snagged on my back wheel) – not too short (so it still looks like a skirt and not a fuzzy belt).

I worked on this till 3am during one of this week’s evenings, and then finalized it the following day … thank heavens for caffeine!

Nothing better than crafts after midnight!!

The reasons why I think a handmade pink tutu is the PERFECT tribute for my mom:

1. Pink – The symbolic colour for Breast Cancer. I like Pink. Pink tutus look pretty. An orange tutu would look nice too BUT A PINK ONE IS JUST PRETTIER! Period!

2. Size¬†& Visibility – ¬†I will definitely be noticable in my tutu. You’d easily miss a small ribbon, or sown-in MOM on my jersey – but you cannot miss my tutu!

3. Handmade – My mom made me a couple of skirts when I was younger. So I am honouring her skill, care and talent with my own creation for her. It’s like we share the same skill/talent – and I think that’ll be nice for her to see.

4. Childhood memories – My mom dreams of me as a kid whenever I feature in her dreams, and when I was little I had a pink ballerina themed room – so it fits the bill.

The sparkly ‘highlights’ – are so pretty ūüôā

I am so happy with the result. I CANNOT wait to wear this on the ride PROUDLY showing my mom I am thinking of her – and if it’s not too spoilt from all the rain and mud, I will frame it and hang it in my room¬†as a keepsake.

When I was making it I thought this is even better AND bigger than wearing a pink ribbon because the strips of material folded and tied and half resemble the typical pink ribbon symbol – and I have¬†scores & scores¬†of them. It’s a pink ribbon multiplier effect!

XOXOXOXOX LOVE YOU SO MUCH MOM!!!!! XOXOXOXOX

Ride to Conquer Cancer Training – Vancouver to White Rock

On Saturday June 2, 2012 my friends and I went for a cycling trip down to White Rock – a city literally a stone’s throw from the US border.

We prayed AND prayed for a clear day all week – and our prayers were answered! Although the skies were heavy with rain when we started – the clouds held out for as long as they could as we escaped Vancouver and Richmond to reach our sunny destination. ūüôā

Some facts:

Local pilots refer to White Rocks as ‘the hole in the sky’ – since the city¬†is often bright and sunny while the rest of the Lower Mainland is covered by a thick blanket of grey clouds.

The city is named for a distinctive large white boulder on its beach near the promenade, a glacial erratic that migrated south during the last glaciation. 19th-century sailors used it as a beacon.

One Native Indian legend¬†claims that the gigantic rock marks the landing spot of a stone that was¬†thrown across¬†Georgia Straight ¬†(i.e. the area with the¬†killer whale fin) ¬†by a young Indian chief in order to determine where his bride & he would move from Vancouver Island. Isn’t that cute? I like it!

Below is a play-by-play outline of the route we took…

By the time we reached Delta (which is beautiful BTW)… we felt like this trip was NEVER ENDING!! haha Man is White Rock ever far!

I’d love to explore more of the Southern Lower Mainland… one of my favourite parts of this trip was the Mud Bay area between Delta and White Rock.

That’s Jason panting… he was so tired from keeping us with us girls!!! ;p

There is nothing better than an ice-cold beer after a lonnnnng bike ride!!

And finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for… here’s the video I did about this ride. I was inspired by the vintage 1974 bike ride I had seen earlier that week – so I decided to give this video a vintage-feel. Hope you like it!

May 20, 2012 – Stranded at Starlight & Sad News

Last Sunday (May 20) my friend Kathy and I went on what was meant to be a 100km training ride – but sadly we didn’t even make it to 30km!

The ride started off on bad note as I received some terrible news from my uncle as I was getting ready to leave the house. My mom has breast cancer and is due for a mastectomy (and possibly chemo if it’s already spread) next month.

I can hardly believe this is happening to my poor mom. The reality of this news has hardly sunk in for me …. I always thought she’d end up getting cancer when she is old because she smokes so much… just never BREAST cancer when she is in her early 50s.

Well, I went on the training ride anyways because I needed to be outside to clear my head and I didn’t want to be alone right at that moment.

Kathy and I really soldiered on through the rain that started to really come down once we reach Richmond. Rain AND wind I should add.

By the time we had reached Richmond/ New West we gave up and desperately searched for some shelter Рwhich happened to be the Starlight Casino.

Thankfully Kathy’s brother Chris was available and nice enough to come rescue us!

What a day!

My seriously wet glasses to go with my wet EVERYTHING! We were sooooo soaked!

Unhappy, Wet and so Cold!!

Starlight Casino Location – It’s in New Westminster!!

We did our usual route down to Richmond but decided to left left and head down River Road to New West… and it REALLY started to pour half way down that road…

 

If you’re reading this – please say a little prayer for my mom (and all moms) who are battling cancer this year – as well as all the trained professionals – from nurses to psychologists to surgeons who help them get better!

Ride to Conquer Cancer Spring Training Session

Have been meaning to write up a post about this training ride for way too long now!

On Sat April 28th the nice folks at RTCC organized a great training ride from Burnaby to Belcarra (via Port Moody) and back. This is the route they selected – a major chunk of it is along the Barnett Highway that is quite popular for cyclists:

My friend Kathy and I wanted to add some more km to our ride so we decided to cycle all the way from Vancouver to Port Moody AND BACK! So our ride looked like this:

We took the Adanac (Canada spelt backwards)/ Union Street bike route that connects Vancouver to Burnaby and seriously underestimated how long it would take us to reach the start line!

We had no idea there were so many hills and we had to stop a couple of times to check that we were still heading the right way. PLUS I needed to eat something along the way because I had a MAJOR HANGOVER from the night before… hehe

Note to self: NEVER drink heavily before an early morning training session.

We arrived 30mins late but onwards we cycled till we reached the pitstop at Port Moody ūüôā

Here are some snaps from our ride!

I had heard of the Adanac Bike Route before and always figured it was a fairly easy and quick bike route… It’s actually very pretty but those hills slowed us WAY DOWN! The street sign is also in Chinese as that part of the route is in Chinatown ūüôā

The street was lined with gorgeous pink Cherry Blossoms. I cannot get over how gorgeous these trees are! Vancouver in Spring – So Romantic!

And here’s what Southern Burnaby looks like – See how high we were climbing…up to Burnaby Mountain!

We eventually arrived at the Start Line – but everyone had already gone!! So we signed in and left immediately. Boy, were we already tired after climbing all those hills…

I thought the ride was VERY well organized. Volunteers were stationed at intersections to help stop the traffic and press the zebra crossing traffic light buttons. They encouraged us along the way and had arrows set up as various stages  to help us figure out where we were going.

Much later… I encountered what is known as a ”Mama Bear” before we made it to the Port Moody pit stop.

A fellow rider who was in charge of “sweeping” i.e. making sure no riders get left behind and everyone is safe noticed I was riding with clipless pedals and sneakers and she gave me an earful about it. I had to charge my pedals in order for her to allow me to continue.

Obsession Bikes were on site to tend to any bike issues Рso she got the helpful guy to change my pedals for me as soon as we got to the pit stop, and he also pumped up my tires as they were getting kinda low!

I actually had my brand new clipless shoes in my backpack but I was way to scared to put them on and ride clipless. Originally I was thinking of riding with one sneaker on and one clipless shoe. In hindsight I am so glad I didn’t.

A. Because it would have looked so stupid.

B. Because I really needed to practise on the grass and easy terrain first to build some confidence (more on this later).

Of course Mama Bear was only looking out for my safety but it was kinda weird feeling like a 7 year old again! Haha – look at my face in that picture – I was pouting like a grumpy kid!!

Kathy and I had a BRIEF (and I mean super brief) rest, enjoyed some snacks, and soon we were heading back! We could’ve continued to Belcarra but the hill leading to that final destination was described as a ghastly, super-steep climb and we were in no mood for that!

All smiles again!

Our Port Moody photo opportunity by the water….

This was my first EVER time visiting Port Moody – I thought it was so beautiful. I love how the houses there blend right into the forest, and of course that it is by a river – so the houses have water views. It’s probably a really nice place to raise a family.

Kathy and I finally made it to the finish line – where we spent a good 20 mins checking out all the bikes and bike fashion on the other riders.

Cycling can be quite a stylish sport…

Look at me in my sneakers and pink teenager-style hoodie – I make it look so casual and frumpy!! hahaha

We were so worried that cycling back via Adanac was going to be a killer – but it was for the most part all downhill, as Vancouver is situated at a lower elevation than Burnaby.

I caught this little cycling notice/ monument on the Adanac route. Isn’t it pretty?

Our silly photo opp at the Adanac mural:

I’ve recently taken a liking to murals…. I think this one is very pretty and retro!

It was a GREAT day for cycling and in total we did 70kms. Which is pretty epic considering how many hills we tacked! ūüôā

39 Days to Go Until RTCC 2012

I’m going to find the coolest songs – 40 of them!! If you have any suggestions let me know!! ūüôā

Especially all you lovely friends and family members who have contributed to my donations – YOU GUYS are my champions!!! Thank you for raising money for the Cancer Research!

I LOVE YOU!!!

#39 Scorpions: Moment of Glory

40 days until Ride to Conquer Cancer – Online Check In Time

I have JUST CHECKED IN – and will receive my check in package (with name plate etc) by mail in a few weeks.

I cannot believe how close the ride date is – 40 more days!!

You know what this calls for???

A¬†TOP 40 Songs for RTCC 2012 Fundraising & Charity Cycling Champions….. You know the type of songs that you hum in your head as you think about the start and finish line… the ones that get your heart beat elevated and make you wanna sing at the top of your lungs!!

In no particular order – we’ll start with # 40: The Final Countdown by Europe

Do I assign 80s music to all my life’s adventures and key moments!

You betcha!!! But doesn’t everyone?? Haha

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