joe_dist1The humming of 1701 rider’s tires on the smooth pavement filled the air as we left the cheesy inspirational music blasting through loudspeakers behind us and started out on the first kilometer of our 267 km journey to Seattle. There were people lining the streets, cheering on loved ones and helicopters buzzing overhead with cameras capturing the moment.

This spectacle was the start line of The Ride To Conquer Cancer, a two day bike ride from Vancouver to Seattle. My girlfriend, Rachel, and I had been training and fundraising for this event for the last couple months, and it was a great feeling to join all these other riders and begin our ride. Our fundraising went towards the BC Cancer Foundation. The money we raised will drive crucial cancer research and help develop new cancer treatments at the BC Cancer Agency, Canada’s only cancer control organization dedicated to both cancer research and patient care.

The ride itself was spectacular. The route chosen avoided any major roads, and took us through some of the more beautiful countryside NW Washington has to offer, all on quiet country roads or smooth winding paved bike paths. We had a huge tent city set up for us the Saturday night in Mount Vernon, where we were treated to a delicious meal, warm showers, and cold beer to soothe out any saddle sores incurred during the day.

The array of riders taking part in this event was stunning. There was everyone from the super-fit roadies to the off-the-couchers on their 50 dollar Wal-Mart specials. Everyone participating had their own unique reason for taking part, their own special story. Cancer survivors, and those currently diagnosed had yellow flags on their bicycles, and it was so inspiring to see them battling it out with a hill-climb, or cruising along, just loving the moment, flags waving in the wind.

The finish was on the scenic campus of the University of Washington in Seattle. It was a great moment to roll through the finish, with the crowds of people lining the last stretch, cheering us on like we had just won the Tour de France. 267km later, $7,415 raised between Rachel and I, and over $6.9 million total raised, we felt a great sense of achievement. This money will affect many people. Whether it is a cancer detected early, another month of life granted, or cures discovered, I am thankful and honored to have been able to take part in a life-changing weekend like this one.

[nggallery id=6]