Last weekend in the wind, rain & “Augtober” chill of southern Ontario I joined hundreds of cyclists and 24 Team RACE homies in the Tour for Kids, an epic cycling adventure to support children living with and beyond cancer.
What was remarkable about this year for me is how this event has been embraced by our adult children. It was my daughter Pascale, who inspired me to join Tour for Kids for the 6th year. It was her first year cycling & she had already raised a $1000! I was so proud I had to take this rare opportunity to ride with my healthy beautiful daughter. And she was following in the footsteps of Maguire family children, Meagan, Kerry and Scott who have all participated in this event last year and again this year. Even Erik Wachman has discovered his cycling legs and is inspired by his parents participation year over year. And then there is Bwana Gavin DeMello who has started a new family tradition – Dancing on stage in front of a huge T4K crowd to fire up their engines.
What’s it all about?
Well, I have pretty much done it all on a bike with & without Team RACE homies in the last 15 years – Trans Rockies twice, a couple of Ironman’s, Who cares? Those are selfish endeavours – they are just the pre-show to what you can really achieve on a bike. None of those events were anywhere near as rewarding and up lifting, nor challenging as what happened last weekend.
T4K is what Team RACE’rs train for all year long.
It’s not a race – its survival, its empathy, its soul searching, its discovering who you really are and what really matters in this crazy world – and it all happens in four remarkable days.
This year I gutted out 470 kms on two wheels with my legs as pistons over three days just to experience the suffering & elation of being alive that kids with cancer experience. The donations we raise will go to three special camp organizations dedicated to bringing laughter and smiles to thousands of children. Remarkably, these camps do not receive government funding so they must rely on donations to carry on their essential programs year after year.
The money we raise through Tour for Kids will benefit the thousands of kids served by Camp Trillium, Camp Quality and Camp Oochigeas. And cancer camps are expensive because of the medical facilities (called Body Shops) required, and the high number of counsellors required to care for these sick kids.
The Amazing Moments at Tour For Kids were endless. I only rode 470 Kms over 3 days while many rode 800 kms over the 4 days.
How & Why did we ride such huge distances?
It’s sheer empathy for the cancer kids who live on the edge everyday of their fragile lives that drives all 425 participants and the volunteers to make this event so meaningful and fulfilling.
From the lady at the rest stop offering to clean the grime, sweat and rain off our Oakleys to the Zumba dance instructor & Magnus, Freddy and Dougs rendition of the Wild & Crazy Guys leading us in a warm-up and Jeff Rushton (T4Ks founder) inspiring us and challenging us to dig deeper into your pockets to give, this event harbors the meaning of life – tears, laughter, joy, heart break, suffering and accomplishment all packed into one long weekend. And then there was the Sock War between me 6’1” and Heather Trim at 5’ nothing. Imagine a lion fighting with a minks. There was blood shed.
See the video on facebook.
Whether we are riding the 100 kilometer distance at 24- 27 kph being herded by dedicated tireless marshals like Jim Maguire (who swept the 200k distance!! And head marshall Brad King Encouraging us to:
“Eat on the bike!”
“Keep a straight line!”
“keep up! You can do this! You look amazing! ” in spite of the cross winds buffeting our bodies.
Or chasing the indomitable Anthony Serblowski who rides like a man possessed at 45 kph for hours, we all find ways to finish the 100, 160 or 240 kms distances we have challenged ourselves to accomplish. Anthony was the marshal for the 34 K PLUS group of ego maniacs who think “we are sooooo hot”. His sole purpose was to be a carrot and teach us humility & how to really suffer like those kids with cancer have for years. He did his job well. And then at night after all the speeches, fun & games & dancing & dressing up and remarkable food under the big tent we collapsed into our beds and wondered:
“How are we going to do it all over again tomorrow?”
And then we remember why we are doing this and we wonder how does a child with cancer, how does a parent who’s child has cancer do it all over again tomorrow.
You can help us – send more cancer kids to these amazing camps – by pledging your favorite rider’s effort. Please be assured that 100% of your receipted donations will be distributed to the camps. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors such as Investors Group, the Coast to coast Against Cancer Foundation and event costs such as administrative fees, are covered so we can continue to ensure 100% of your receiptable donations benefit children living with cancer.
Join us next year!
Tour for Kids was special this year. Yes it was smaller than previous years that made it that much more familiar, intimate and heartwarming.
It was an incredibly well run show, with new and exciting program at dinner time and in the morning. The Caledon ski club departure was a fantastic venue to offer a comfortable relaxing beginning and end to the tour while offering exceptional rolling terrain to day 1 and day 4 routes. Well done organizers!
It was great to see many Team RACE members this year again in attendance. Yes this is the reason we belong to this club. Not just to ride for our ginormous egos but to ride to those underfunded charities and childhood cancer programs that bring so much life and energy to those children and families that need it most. Kudos to all that attended and took a bit our of their summer to join this exceptional experience.
Although we were some 20 riders short of our last years number, we still had a solid 20 members in attendance and raised $46K. Special mention to our top three fundraisers, Doug Ohori $3675, Todd Humber at $3826 and in first place Brian McGregor at $4780- solid work guys, well done.
I hope many others will return next year and join this exceptional ride. Thanks for being part of it. Freddy