We did it! We Conquered the Ride to Conquer Cancer 2017!
When I signed up last year to join my boyfriend Mike, and his family I was a little hesitant about how the weekend would go. Other than being utterly and completely exhausted it was also awe-inspiring, a confidence booster and just amazing to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. The scenery biking from Toronto to Niagara Falls was kind of gorgeous on the back roads!
We drove into Toronto late Friday night after work and basically got our bikes and bags ready for the ride. Tried on bike gear ordered for us by our team and jumped into bed for as much sleep as possible.
Thankfully, Mike’s parents have a condo right beside the start line so we just wandered over in the morning with our overnight bag and bikes. If I were to do anything differently it would’ve been to bring a backpack vs a shoulder bag so I could’ve actually ridden my bike to the start line.
We rode with Mike’s mom’s former company team so that’s why we have Detour Gold all over our bodies. We lined up close to the start line and were amongst the first ones to leave the really crazy corral of bikers walking their bikes to the start line and then trying to get on them as we left the starting line. I loved heading down Lakeshore to start as the road was super smooth and easy to ride. When we got to Mississauga the road’s got a little worse for wear and my seat was not having fun navigating the bumps.
The first day’s ride is from Toronto to Hamilton. I was actually really excited to be back in the Hammer and actually ride onto McMaster’s campus as I hadn’t seen the place in a while. I definitely got all nostalgic seeing my old residence and Business School.
Things I learned on the ride:
- I finally figured out all my gears after 10 kms and was feeling confident on downhills and uphills. No more crying on downhills which was my reaction when I got on my bike for the first time in 2015. I also finally got comfortable with speed and didn’t have to put my brakes on, on hills. When I did the MS Ride in 2016 I was still a little scared.
- While I managed to complete the little over 100 kms on day 1 I wasn’t doing ok body wise. The right side of my body had gone numb due to the heat. Of course it was a heat wave that weekend. I was beyond exhausted, wasn’t able to think straight and was a little scared for what Day 2 was going to bring. After a shower, lots of food, Breathe Essential Oil on my chest, a couple of Advil later and sleep I was feeling much better.
- I really, really loved the Gu Waffles I had purchased for fuel. I got the Salted Chocolate ones as they were not only gluten free but easy to tuck into my jersey back pockets. I’m a little sad that when I had gone to Bushtakah to find Endurance Tap (my favourite endurance fuel) but they were all sold out. Next year I’ll remember to stock up ahead of time.
- My liquid nutrition included a bottle of Beet Elite for the first 10 kms, then Nuun the rest of the ride. I really love my Skratch Labs electrolyte mix but didn’t want to carry extra baggies with me.
Day 2, Mike’s mom told me that we were going to get dropped off at the lunch spot which basically cut 50 kms off our day. This meant I cried silently in frustrated that no one thought I could do the entire day. Quick, mindset switch later and I know my new family just didn’t want to see me in the state I was in yesterday.
It was the best decision I could have made. I still rode 64 km the second day but with very minimal MS symptoms and a smile on my face at the finish line. There was considerably less hills as well but a strong head wind so still got some great resistance training in.
I may have already signed up for next year!
My only ask if you’ve read to the bottom of this post is to help me hit my fundraising goal. I wasn’t able to complete it before the ride and I have until the end of July to complete it.
Would you consider donating?