A few weeks ago, I took part in an amazing charity event, The Ride to Conquer Cancer. We cycled 220kms over two days and raised funds for cancer research.
1336 riders took part in the event, and in total we raised an incredible $5.2 million dollars!!
For my own fundraising efforts, I raised $8,350 with the help of friends, family, my community and my wonderful blog readers – thank you from the bottom of my heart!
So this is me at the start line. I woke up at 4am and was all geared up and ready to go by 6:30am.
I was feeling relieved that the day had finally arrived. I was happy and excited to be part of such a significant event. I was proud of myself for doing something so worthwhile. And I was emotional and humbled by the touching speeches. The organisers pushed a rider-less bike through the crowd to symbolise all those lost to cancer… and seeing that empty bike being wheeled towards the start line made tears well up in my eyes.
We set off at 7am.
About an hour in, my riding buddy had a flat tyre! She rode over some broken glass and we had to pull over on the side of the road.
Oh man, I felt so bad for her. If that were me, I would have been in a fumbling mess… and would have lost all my confidence in riding the rest of the way. But instead, I joked around to calm her/our nerves.
Thankfully, a volunteer bike technician arrived in 3 minutes. He fixed the tyre, pumped it up and we were off again in less than 10 minutes! Amazing!
THEN. The weather hit us.
Look at the storms clouds rolling towards us! The wind was strong. The rain poured. It was cold. It was a pretty miserable day to be riding.
Riding INTO the wind was difficult. It was bloody hard work! I struggled. I was in pain. It honestly felt like 5 hours of agony.
I wanted to cry and give up. My shoes were filled with water, my arms were shaking from the cold, my muscles were screaming in pain… and there was a moment where I thought to myself – WHY THE HELL AM I DOING THIS??!
But then… I’d see a rider pass me, with a yellow flag tied to his bike, indicating that he was a cancer survivor. Yup he was here on his bike too, struggling with the wind and rain, just like I was. Then another yellow flag would pass me. And another.
And yep, it put my own struggles into perspective.
This is me, with my new attitude. Just cheer the hell up and enjoy the ride Karen!
There was so much rain and wind, that it was almost comical.
I managed to finish the first day’s ride with a smile on my face. I rode 103km.
Man that was hard. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life.
I wasn’t very talkative that evening. I just wanted to have a hot shower, get changed into some dry clothes, put on some dry socks, eat some hot food, then go to bed.
I was a little worried that other people’s snoring would keep me awake.
But there was so much rain throughout the night, that the sound of rain drowned out all the snoring. I slept very well!
The next morning, the sun was shining! HOORAY!
But it was cold – I think it was 6°C or something.
I went to collect my bike from the bike racks and I felt – surprisingly – excited!
Me again. All rugged up and ready to go!
The weather warmed up and the day turned out to be sunny and spectacular. It was perfect riding weather.
My poor riding buddy had ANOTHER flat!
On the last 20kms of the ride, I took it easy and enjoyed the ride to the finish line.
WOOHOO I DID IT!!!
No words can describe the feeling when you choose to do something really difficult and you conquer it.
I know that I did this charity ride last year. But this time around, it was definitely much harder for me, because I was not as fit as I was last year. I had a few tears in my eyes the moment I crossed that finish line. It was hard work and I did it.
And just like when you watch a movie a second time around, I was much more aware of the little details… the people, the stories and the purpose… it really brought the whole experience to life. And I was so much more thankful for that.
I really want to thank the organisers, the volunteers, the riders, my team, and everyone who donated to this wonderful cause.
Thank to you, my readers, for following and supporting me on this journey!