The road stretches ahead of me, the next bend almost out of sight. Poplars wave in the breeze and the sun beats down. This is the worst part. The novelty of the start has long worn off, I haven’t seen another rider for the last hour, the varied terrain
between Maple Ridge and Mission is behind me and the bald eagle soaring in the sky above me has gone its separate way. I know that I have at least another hour to go and it’s getting harder to relieve the numbness that keeps coming back into my
hands from being on the drop bars for so long. Now it’s just me and the road, as I try to stay focused on keeping the right distance from the road edge. Too far in and I am in the loose gravel at the side of the road, sucking energy and slowing me down, risking a flat, or if I move out too far into the road I risk getting side-swiped by some truck.
I am 3 hours into a 120km bike ride that will take me from Brentwood Mall in Burnaby out to Harrison Hot Springs following the Lougheed Highway. I remind myself why I am on this grueling ride. It is to help the Rotary Club of Vancouver raise money for hearing programs across BC – programs that directly help my son who is profoundly deaf and
wears 2 cochlear implants.
This year I am just one of 130 riders participating in Rotary’s annual Ride For Hearing, but as a group we managed to raise over $125,000 in pledges. The Rotary Club of Vancouver has been organizing the Ride for Hearing event for the past 27 years and have raised over $2.2 million in total. Funds have been used to establish the Rotary Hearing Centre at UBC Hospital and the Rotary Hearing Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital. Organizations such as BC Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hearing and Speech Centre of BC and the BC Family Resource Centre have also benefited over the years.
Since these organizations have helped my family greatly, I am pleased that I can do a little to give back. And for me, its as easy as getting on my bike. So I put my head down and keep pedaling, even looking forward to the hills ahead because I know there’s a reward at the end.
After 4 hours of non-stop riding, I arrive at the finish line in front of the beautiful Harrison Hot Springs Resort . And there it is – the sight I’ve been waiting for – my wife and kids cheering and waving me in. The kids are not quite sure how Daddy got there, or why I’m drenched in sweat and having trouble walking, but they’re happy to see me.
After a few celebratory photos we head inside for refreshments and spend the rest of the enjoying the complimentary use of the Harrison Hot Springs Resort pools. Man, did it feel good to slip into that pool! I can’t wait for next year.