Project: Hillary the Cyclist - Time to Ride

You guys. Today is the day. Day one of the Ride to Conquer Cancer. (Hold me.)

I'm about to get on my bike and ride about 125km to Mt. Vernon. And then! I'm going to get up the next day and ride another 115km or so to the finish line. I know. I am trying to remember that I signed up for this. This was my decision. I had reasons and there was thought involved and this wasn't some crazy whim. But right now I am just terrified.

I'll try to update Instagram throughout the ride if you want to follow along (and laugh at my discomfort). Hopefully all goes well and I'll be telling you all about how sore my butt is on Monday.

Let's do this.

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Want to learn more about my journey? You can read about how Cap's Krusty's Bicycles got me started here. You can read about what the Ride to Conquer Cancer means to me here.

Project: Hillary the Cyclist - August

This time next week I will (hopefully) be finished my Ride to Conquer Cancer. To say that I am overwhelmed and excited and terrified would be an understatement.

I think I'm ready? I say that with a question mark because I really have no idea. This is the first big bicycle ride I've ever trained for and my training definitely went off-course earlier this year. I've spent the summer getting ready, though, and even though I didn't devote every waking moment to my ride, I've put in what I could and I'm happy. With the help of my amazing family and friends and coworkers and blog readers, I raised over $3,000 for cancer research. I've gone on some great rides and become very familiar with my bike (I shift gears like a mothercussin' PRO now. You don't even know.)

Next weekend's ride will be challenging (I still hate riding in traffic) but I'm ready. A big part of why I wanted to do this ride was to finally feel strong and capable again. I know this ride is going to kick my ass but it's already made me feel stronger. Stronger and petrified. 

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Want to learn more about my journey? You can read about how Cap's Krusty's Bicycles got me started here. You can read about what the Ride to Conquer Cancer means to me here.

Project: Hillary the Cyclist - July

I signed up for the Ride to Conquer Cancer last summer. I managed to log a few kilometers last autumn when we had an unseasonably dry September / October and then I hung up my bike for the rainy season.

I did not do any physical training for my ride in November or December. I fundraised my butt off but I did not physical train.

And then January hit. January was a surprise pregnancy and the news that the pregnancy wasn't viable. February was two surgeries to resolve the unviable pregnancy. March and April were recovery. I didn't get back on my bike until May. (I did work out during this time, and I definitely built up some muscle and endurance. I just didn't log any saddle time.)

My plan was to ride all spring, to log kilometers in the saddle to make sure my body was used to spending hours on a bike and my mind was used to riding in traffic. I was really down on myself for not pushing myself to be ready sooner than May but the fact of the matter is I wasn't ready. Physically or emotionally.

The good news is that I'm back on my bike and I'm loving it. I've managed to log a few good long rides and my comfort level is building. I have a lot of work to do between now and August 29th but I'm surrounded by supportive, motivating people who have boosted my confidence and told me repeatedly that I can do it. I can ride 200+km over two days (please picture my steely gaze as you read this).

Want to learn more about my journey? You can read about how Cap's Krusty's Bicycles got me started here. You can read about what the Ride to Conquer Cancer means to me here.

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Giving Tuesday

Today is Giving Tuesday, a movement to create a national day of giving to kickoff the holiday season.

Next August I will participate in The Ride to Conquer Cancer. I will raise money and I will ride my bike 200+km from Vancouver to Seattle.

They're a bit performance-y, these cancer events, aren't they? I get it. I've rolled my eyes at various 5km runs and ice bucket challenges and facial hair parties. I've been in that camp that asks, "what's the point?"

Let me tell you what the point of The Ride to Conquer is for me.

Thyroid cancer is both a relatively uncommon cancer and one of the few cancers that is increasing in numbers. This is true worldwide but for the sake of explaining why this matters to me, I'm going to stick to the Canadian stats from Thyroid Cancer Canada.The incidence rate of thyroid cancer is increasing more rapidly than any other cancer yet has the lowest ratio of research dollars of any cancer. Of the 6,000 Canadians who will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2014, 4,800 of them will be women.

Thyroid cancer doesn't have a national walk. There's no race or challenge or cute/sexy/cheeky/whacky marketing campaign. There's no ground-breaking research.

When I signed up for The Ride to Conquer Cancer, I got to specify to which department I wanted to direct the money I fundraised. Unfortunately, thyroid cancer specifically isn't an option (*ahem* someone should really look into getting that changed for next year) but I did get to choose that I want the money I fundraise to go to head and neck cancers.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer is a bit of a performance. But... so what if it is? I need a bit of a performance. I need to mark the change from deer-in-the-headlights-surprise-cancer-diagnosis-at-30 Hillary to rides-her-bike-long-distances-like-a-total-badass-and-by-the-way-check-out-that-ass! Hillary. I need to feel like I'm doing something to support thyroid cancer research. I need to feel like I am supporting the BC Cancer Foundation (over 70% of the money raised by the ride goes directly into research.) I need to feel something other than fear and frustration.

So today, on Giving Tuesday, I'm going to swallow my pride and ask you to please donate to my ride for all the thyroids. And if you've managed to read this far, thank you and ten gold thyroid stars for you!