Part two of a story detailing Wayne Little’s experience taking part in the 400 km Ride2Survive bike challenge from Kelowna to Delta in June.
When we got to Hope we had a big stop, and I jumped in the truck after putting more clothes on and warmed up. Juanita and the kids travelled along with the ride, stopping at many of the spots to offer a hug and a helping hand in many ways. Emotionally, this was awesome for me. It was also hilarious to see what food the kids would mooch from the aid stations. There I was, riding 400 kms, and Rhea would look at my plate and say “Is that good? Can I try it?”
I only ate at the food stop breaks, as I didn’t dare eat while riding in the group, with so much accelerating and braking. I would drink a bottle of water or eLoad in between each stop, with a bathroom break at the stops as well. There were 12 poly johns on two trailers, which would be sitting at each stop.
The food at the stops was my favourite part of the whole event. With my heart rate down so low, I knew I wouldn’t need any carbs, so I would try eating stuff I have never eaten on a long ride before: lots of yams, sausage rolls, pepperoni, gluten-free cookies, salads, perogies, etc. It was awesome; and I ate so much, I actually gained weight over the weekend.
At Britton Creek, six motorcycles escorted us for the last half of the trip. They would leapfrog each other so we didn’t have any vehicles trying to hit us or split our group up, and they blocked all the intersections so we didn’t have to make any stops. When the first one went by, I sort of teared up, and thought, “That’s weird; what’s that all about?” Then I remembered the last time I had had a motorcycle escort was in Toronto, when we went to get my brother-in-law from Afghanistan. That’s when I bawled for a while.
Policemen on motorcycles escorted the riders to their destination, ensuring nothing got in their way.
At Hope the rain was very similar to a monsoon or a tropical rainstorm, except it wasn’t tropical. With the temperature in the single digits, it was impossible to stay warm. That’s when it sucked. There was very little conversation, and if you followed someone with an inappropriate fender their wheel splash would go directly in your face, which helped with the misery. I don’t mind riding in the rain, but after about 9 hours of it, it sucked.
Starting at Mission, the motorcycle cops really worked for their “money” (although I’m sure they were volunteers). They blocked every intersection for us, as well as every approach onto the highway. They would stop cars, or at least slow them down when passing in the other direction. Most people gave a thumbs up and cheers, but some were obviously frustrated by the wait during their commute. It was pouring rain for the motorcycle cops too, and as they stood in the intersections we all thanked them. Then they would blow by us at 100 mph to stop traffic again.
Near the finish, we all stopped. I was frustrated, but then realized what was going on. Everyone was putting their Ride2Surive kits on the outside, removing their heavy layers, and showing their “colours”.
The cancer survivors were in the front wearing yellow, and the rest who had the blue, green, or yellow kits were ready for the final show. I had no idea; no idea at all.
About a mile or so up the road we hit the finish, and there were thousands of people waiting. It was amazing. There was food ready for us, and warm blankets. It was basically a big party. I got to say congrats to a few people, and thank some more for their help. Unfortunately, though, we had to head home. Juanita (the trooper) was absolutely amazing. She drove all the way while I was comatose in the passenger seat, and we got back at 5 a.m. She had to work in the morning, but I didn’t have to work (lucky me). I slept in until 2 p.m., then staggered around like a zombie for the rest of the day.
The end of the road. Photo by Juanita Little.
I’d like to thank all who donated money, and my family for helping me out. I won’t be doing the event again, but I would volunteer to help, to sort of give back, as I’m sure running the food stops and cheering us on was physically as hard as it was for us to ride. But whatever we went through that day doesn’t compare in difficulty to watching a loved one die, or undergoing multiple surgeries or chemotherapy because you have cancer.