Three years ago when Const. Ryan Reed of the Abbotsford Police Department first heard about Ride2Survive – a gruelling one-day cycle from Kelowna to Delta – he thought he might take up the challenge “someday.”
“Someday” turned into “today” when the bike squad member lost a co-worker, Const. Martin Ellis-White, to cancer. Reed was involved in planning the memorial service and it was a message from Ellis-White that was read at the service, “to live for today instead of someday,” which prompted Reed to join the cycling fundraiser.
Training for the 400 km route that includes a 12,000 foot climb and 19 hours of pedaling was a family affair, said Reed. Participants had to put in upwards of 300 km a week and tackled all-day rides that were over eight hours long.
To fit in the training around his work schedule, Reed shelved every other extracurricular activity, and spent a lot of time away from his family.
“My wife had to pull extra duty,” said Reed, who has two children, ages five and seven.
Reed’s efforts did pay off. He completed the ride but not without experiencing a low moment along the way.
When asked what his lowest moment was, Reed described an undulating stretch of road between Merritt and the bottom of Larson Hill. He had started that leg near the back of the pack, and found it extremely difficult to keep the pace. He could see the leading riders crest a hill that he was just starting to climb.
Because he was playing a continuous game of catch-up, Reed found he had less time to eat and drink which led to dehydration issues.
What kept him going was the memory of Const. Ellis-White, the loss of his step-father to cancer just days before the ride, and the realization that the purpose of this ultra-endurance fundraiser was to simulate what it’s like to live with cancer.
Reed’s high-point was at Planet Ice in Maple Ridge – the last pit stop before the finish in North Delta – where his wife and children came out to meet him. Just before the riders were set to roll out, Reed’s son came running through the crowd of bikes and gave him a big hug. But the ride was moving out, so Reed had to say a quick good-bye and start pedaling again.
Just as Reed rounded the corner onto the street, he saw his two children holding up signs to cheer him on saying: “Go Daddy Go!” and “You are all amazing!”
When asked if he was going to do it again next year, Reed said that he has already signed up, and is thinking about how he can improve his training.
To date he has raised over $5,000 and hopes to do even more fundraising next year.
“It’s not a ride with a cause attached to it, it’s a cause with a ride attached to it,” he said.
The 2012 Ride2Survive kicks off in February with a two-hour indoor ride and orientation session at Southridge School in South Surrey.
Registration is open now. To sign up or to find out more information, please visit www.ride2survive.ca.