My beautiful daughter died from CF in March 2010 and I am riding in GearUp4CF this year in her memory.

Eva was a fighter and inspiration to all that knew her. In 2008 I rode in GearUp4CF to celebrate her successful recovery from a double lung transplant that allowed Eva to once again live her life to the fullest. Only months after the surgery, she joined the team in Invermere, painting our faces and cheering us on with her pom-poms in her self-appointed role as chief cheerleader.

This year I will be 65 years old on the ride. That is why I am calling this ride 65 for65Roses; partly because of my age, partly because 65 Roses is a malapropism of Cystic Fibrosis, partly because my daughter’s blog was called 65 RedRoses, and also because I hope to reach the very lofty goal of raising $65,000.

Training to ride for 1200 km over multiple mountain passes to Banff will be very difficult; raising these funds will be just as much of a challenge. Here is where I need your help. Please donate to my ride and help contribute to Eva’s legacy to raise critical funds for CF research and awareness.

Monday 30 June 2014

Day 9 GearUp4CF-Invermere to Banff- The Final Leg

early morning to departure to allow these diehards
the opportunity to ride the distance and not be behind in the end!  
Sunday morning started clear and cold in Invermere at 5 am. The plan today is that Jan Meulencamp, Paula Clark, Tamaki Kano, Kim Shaw and I will leave at 6:30 am, 2 hours ahead of the main group so that we will all arrive at the outskirts of Banff together and ride in as a processional.

viewpoint vista
view riding up through the canyon out of Radium 
Janet, will accompany us with our vehicle for support. And that is exactly how it played out. We had a short ride on Highway 3 to Radium Hot Springs where we then turn right and immediately start climbing. You ride beside a turbulent creek and through some tunnels as they grade kicks to upwards of 9%. 14 km. and 700 metres of elevation later, along with one startled black bear, we summited at the viewpoint. From there we had a long winding descent as I worked hard to get Kim to release her death grip on the brakes and actually go over 20 km./hour. It worked and we covered the next 10 km. in quick time.  The rest of the group caught up with us as we finished lunch so Jan was able to drive ahead to Banff, hop on her bike and ride back to join us.

From that point on you have 80 km of slightly rising grade as you head up after km. after km. of false flats that do sap one's energy over time. Actually for the last 15 km. the grade picks up considerably until you crest the Continental Divide and enter Alberta. A lot of people had a tough day today because of the second long climb. Our group worked just as hard but our speed was somewhat less, lo and behold, by the time we made our final descent to the Banff Parkway junction, all the groups including the 5 Alberta riders arrived within twenty minutes of one another. From there we rode the Parkway to the entrance to Banff where we grouped up and rode into Banff as a group and side by side. There we were met by quite a group of friends and family as we converged on the Banff entrance sign. Hugs, tears and photos all around. The trip is over!

Jan road up to join the procession on the final bit
In all respects we had a terrific, successful trip. It raised over $350,000 and through the singular efforts of Sharron Bates we had excellent media coverage all along the route and again in Banffwhere Walter Brennan, Mike Hamilton and I met with the local media. Meeting up with the Alberta contingent through the efforts of Sandy and Blair also proved very successful as now we had a big cheering section coming home. Some of our riders including Wayne and Paula had family there to meet them.

At this time I want to give a quick shootout to our intrepid and hardworking volunteers. Tracy as our lead kept everyone sane and the trip well organized even as she was providing roadside service that would do BCAA proud. Lisa Brennan looked after our lunch break needs which can be challenging as a pack of starving cyclists descend on the food laden table. Both Kim and Brian provided support services at the front and in the sweep position. Thank you very much for the time and effort that you donated to this ride. Also I want to thank Janet, my wife, for being there and pitching in, for editing my posts and adding photos and for that wonderful cup of French press coffee in the morning.

It is now 7am as I finish off the last of the official posts for this ride. Today a smaller contingent of 5 of us ride to Calgary and tomorrow we head home. Thanks to all of you who supported me so strongly in
this endeavour.

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