Local cyclists are doing their part to conquer cancer one ride at a time.
Randy’s Riders, a local charity riding group, has spent the spring and summer training to get ready for the 10th annual Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. The ride will take place in Calgary on Aug. 18 and 19.
This will be the team’s sixth Ride to Conquer Cancer, with a group of 18-strong joining forces to form this year’s Randy’s Riders.
“We have a lot of second generation riders joining our team this year,” explained team captain Thomas Curry.
Britni and Tanner Barnes are joining their parents Marty and Heather this year.
Health issues has sidelined former team captain Darrell MacDonald for the ride this year, but his daughter, Julia, has picked up the torch for him.
The team has three generations participating from the Densmore family, with Teagan joining his mom, Jackie, and his grandfather, Terry.
Leading up to the ride, members try to train three times a week with each session ranging from 30 to 100 kilometres rides.
So far, the team has raised $36,000 toward their $52,000 goal.
On Aug. 18, participants will start the just over 200-kilometre ride at the Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. Before participants takeoff, a speaker who has been touched by cancer will share their story.
“We get to listen to these stories of survival or the stories of the families of the person dealing with cancer,” Curry said. “It’s uplifting, and very emotional.”
This will be Randy’s Riders member Zachary Grant’s first year back on his bike after having one of his lungs removed due to cancer. He didn’t let his surgery dissuade him from beginning training this year.
“He’s one of our inspirations this year,” Curry expressed.
Grant was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 2015. Doctors later found two tennis ball-sized tumors in his right lung.
“It was definitely frustrating at first,” Grant recalls. “Climbing a flight of stairs was a challenge, and now going on a 200-kilometre bike ride through the foothills won’t be fun.”
The idea of not participating when he was medically cleared never crossed Grant’s mind, and he plans to continue with the group for as long as he can.
“I’m just determined, and hate being told that I can’t do something. I just want to prove that I can do it to shut people up, I guess.”
Grant joins Curry in putting a yellow flag on their bikes during the ride to signify that they’re cancer survivors.
Curry remembers the first year he participated in the ride when a stranger rode up beside him, and started to talk to him like they were old friends.
“She was riding up behind me, and she said ‘Hey Thomas, how’s it going?’, just talking away. I had no idea who she was, or how she knew my name. At the end of the day, I started talking about it and one of my team mates said your name’s on your plate.”
The atmosphere at the ride is a welcoming one, and Curry believes he’s changed for the better after participating.
Randy’s Riders began as a way to honour Randy Imrie, who lost his battle to cancer in 2012. His wife, Sherry, approached MacDonald about wanting to do something to honour his memory, and they decided to join the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. Over the past five years, Randy’s Riders has raised over $162,000.
To donate to Randy’s Riders, or to get more information about the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, visit the ride website at ride.conquercancer.ca/alberta.