The ride went Saturday. Went fantastic for both @TheRob and I. We were both strong, rode every KM. The day started 1/2 hour earlier at 3:00 AM, and ended way later, 12:30 AM the next day. I was really strong all Saturday and into the wee hours Sunday, but fcuk me I'm wasted right now.
I wrote a post for FB, I'll just cut and paste it here.
Special thanks to @Regs : for 11 years, this has been my only real, fruitful platform. TTP has changed over the years and is not nearly as busy as it was in 2008, but you guys kept donating to my little cause. I really appreciate it. This is the final edition, so you won't be seeing this again next year. Donation site i still open, so feel free. Here's what I put up on the book...
Long post alert. Readers will be inspired. Non readers will be swarmed by mosquitoes. You’ve been warned.
For the last 11 years I’m been posting about R2S, a little grassroots organization that put a strangle hold on my family back then and never let go. www.r2s.ca
When I first rode in 2008, the organizing team was still very new and figuring things out. That year they signed up ~125 riders, and we collectively raised about $400K. That was a huge year in a lot of ways. Firstly, they started to see potential, secondly, we made sooooo many mistakes that year in terms of the ride and keeping riders protected from elements that it sent the organizing team into high gear in terms of training riders.
The “organizing team” is basically Kerry & Vicky Kunzli, and the band of bandits they’ve been able to rope in over the years with nothing but the promise of good vibes, and high fives.
The mission is, and has always been, NO OVERHEAD shall be pulled from your donation dollars. Not a penny. Every cent goes to a selection of badly underfunded cancer research endeavors. That means none of that goes to support the rest of the overhead an event like this typically incurs. We (the riders) kick in $250.00 every year to help that, plus we get donations in kind from people in business who want to help. Food, day of event vehicles, and most of all, a massive band of event day volunteers make the efforts “behind the scene” happen. There are also a very small, select group on the board of directors who put in exceptional hours- for free- to make this happen.
I’ve been privy to a lot of organizations over the years. Both through sports and business, and get to see first-hand how well or poorly they are run. I will say, Kerry and Vicky need to be teaching a university course on event planning, and building not-for-profit organizations. It’s a finely oiled machine, and yes, it’s because the team under them is also fantastic, but leadership is leadership. Those two will never take credit, and really, what I’ve learned from them is to be humble, and behave with open, honest humility in owning both your successes and failures.
I got involved on a dare from Rob Wright. Basically challenged me to ride, “if I can do it, you can do it”. For crying out loud, I had stopped in at Caps South Shore to buy a stem for a road bike I was resurrecting for some extra fitness when I was still playing soccer. I stayed for the people. I even tried to quit on year 2 as family obligations were high, and my time was low. Vicky somehow talked me into not quitting. Year 3 they handed me a Captains’ radio. That was also the first year Michael got involved, he wanted to volunteer. Shaeesta also volunteered that day. Aaliyah was too young, only 7 then, so she stayed with my sister that weekend. Because Michael was so young, the committee introduced “The Cheer Team”, so that Michael could participate but also be safe and out of harms way in the behind the scene chaos. They basically accommodated my wishes, to make room for my son (The “Cheer Team” has evolved now into something crazy I can’t explain). The next year was the same, and in my fifth year riding, Michael, now 13, asked me if he could be a rider. He was racing BMX at the time at a fairly high level, and dabbling in road racing, so why not ask. He asked Kerry, and Kerry looked him in the eye and said, “Yes”. Gave me a nod, and that was it. They entrusted me to make sure he was ready. He attended every training ride. The rest of the seasoned vet riders on R2S took him under their wings. I am fond of saying “it takes a village”, well it does and it did. Fast forward to Michael’s 4th year riding, they handed Michael a Captain’s radio. At 16, he was now growing into a strapping young man, and a very good road rider. He’s turning 20 in August, and now a young adult who has 6 years of riding and fundraising under his belt, and 3 years as a Captain on this very unique event. Not many kids can boast something so powerful on their resume, and I can’t thank the Kunzli’s enough for paving the way to make that happen. I’m a fond believer in saying successful people make their own luck. That’s still true here, but successful people also need to take advantage of opportunities that are placed in front of them. They need a wee bit of luck and help from others. I tried to eloquently convey this in the pre-ride meeting the night before, where we all speak to “why” we do this. I couldn’t. There are no words to adequately express my gratitude.
Last year Aaliyah got involved as a volunteer. She could not speak last year at the meeting. She was understandably overwhelmed. This year she could, and spoke very well for herself, and one of the things she said was “R2S has been a part of my family as long as I can remember, so it’s just something we do.” She has not been able to volunteer previously because of her conflicting dates with dance, but that changed last year. When I first started, she was 6. Now at 17, she’s a smart and driven young lady who wishes to study oncology. Again, this is something that will shine on her resume.
Over the last two years, I have been overwhelmed w/ work and personal changes at home. Moving the family to Whistler was indeed a tricky maneuver, renovating a home here mission impossible. Work has been overwhelming. I told Michael last year he needed to do all the fundraising, save for a few e-mails to my normal sponsors from me. He came through with good funds from his Pole-sit. This year was the same, and he has again come through. Worked his arse off at two Pole-sits, collecting funds on the ground, and one huge personal donation I feel compelled to call out: Tobin Copley (Multi time R2S rider himself) kicked in $1G to Michael’s efforts. That wasn’t through me at all. Tobin didn’t even know I was riding, but he somehow felt compelled to kick in $1000.00 to Michael’s efforts. Wow, and thanks, and wow.
To all MY donors over the years, thanks. You know who you are. By my estimation, we have raised over $80K in 11 years, and that is all on the backs of generous donors. I just do what I always do, ride a bike. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Lastly and again, thank you to Kerry and Vicky Kunzli for this platform, welcoming me and my family in, and giving me that “Village” for my kids. As said, there are no words I can adequately come up with to express my gratitude. Ride Day is like hanging out with 300 overachieving, selfless people. The kinds of people you want your kids to be around and exposed to. It’s been amazing, and something they can both point to in the years to follow and proudly say they were part of and contributed to. I have a whole new network of close, lifelong friends I owe to this event. Too many friends to start tagging….
On Saturday, the R2S team raised over $1,050,000.00 for 2019 alone. 100% of it going to research funds for “Tough Cancers”. Not one penny being skimmed off the top.
I’ve posted some R2S photos from over the years. This was the last time R2S will do this ride, but something has happened here, a legacy and a movement, and I can’t wait to see what blossoms from this.
The mission of being 100% makes it finite that way. They won't sell it because it'd compromise the mission. They can't find anyone to take on organizing because, again, the mission. In addition, it's becoming almost impossible to get all the permits they need, and were told by at last one municipality that they can't accommodate the route anymore.