I’m prepping for a century ride in August, 160km in the Muskokas as a fundraiser for the Princess Margaret Foundation. I rode last year, but took it down a notch the day of because I was getting over the flu. 100 km. instead of 160. When I finished I felt great and wished I had chosen to do the 160. Not that it mattered to my sponsors, folks were generous in supporting me and the almost 200 other riders. We raised over $300K. This year’s goal is $500K, and a definite 160 km. for me.
My son designed a training and nutrition program for me to get me ready. It’s smart and helpful. At least the training part. He’s encouraged me to adjust my diet. It isn’t terrible, I understand that the lighter I am the better the ride will go. The focus is on protein and slow carbs. He even supplied recipes. Impressive. Then there were these parting words for the day: “Resist the hunger at dinner, go for whole foods, and skip dessert, sugar is your enemy for the next two weeks.” Got it. Don’t like it, but got it. I mostly skipped dessert, I hope a fresh peach doesn’t count.
It puts me in mind of the author of the New Testament Book of Hebrews writing that we set aside (strip off) anything that holds us back from the high calling of following Christ: "… let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, ..." If I carry too much baggage in life, even the sweet stuff, I’ll pay a price. The great (and not so great) literature and movies and even bike rides, when they’re about pleasure, can become our fixations, what we give our time to, our focus of worship. As my friend Abe said, in talking about challenges we face at work, “We’re not just here for ourselves.” The less I carry on my ride the easier the ride. The less we carry in life the less the anxiety.
Can I endure this setting aside for two weeks? Of course. My real concern is that I’ll grow to like it and the ice cream in the freezer will go to waste.
While I’m at it, here’s what I wrote about why I’m doing this ride (other than an excuse to spend a day in one of my favourite parts of the world).
Riding is my escape, my freedom, my health. A good day is going so far I wonder if I can make it home.
Not everyone does. Not everyone has the deep satisfaction of the body and mind bringing you to where you belong. The weight of disease slows and cripples and often ends the ride too soon. Or at least makes us believe we can’t get home this time.
I could tell you that I am riding for a friend or relative or anyone I've sat with, patient or family or friend as they come to terms with cancer, and I suppose it’s true, but my inspiration is the awareness that cancer is a group ride. We’ve all been on it or know someone who has. As much as I enjoy riding solo, I understand the significance of lending our strength to each other on hills and in headwinds.
In August I’ll ride with a group of people through a part of Ontario that has always grounded me, the Canadian Shield. The Northern Pass Ride is an excuse for a beautiful day out in Muskoka. It’s power is in the knowledge that all of us will be carrying hope for others as your sponsorship of us empowers the Princess Margaret Foundation.
I’ll ride as far as I can. Your sponsoring me will help others ride farther than they imagine. Find me here:
Comments? Questions? Contact Cameron, firstname.lastname@example.org