Countdown is ON! Cycling Secrets for The Ride To Conquer Cancer
(WE DID IT! My best friend & I crossing the finish line after 240km in 2011)
Chances are if you’re not doing the ride, you’ve heard people talking about it! In a nutshell, the Ride To Conquer Cancer is a bike ride from Vancouver to Seattle, June 15th and 16th, totaling 240km! By no means is it easy, but is the cause ever worth it! The past 2 years I’ve been 1 of 3000 riders committed to being a part of the quest to Conquer Cancer. I figured this is the least I can do, seeing as these days 2 in 5 people will hear ‘you have a cancer’ in their lifetime. Personally I have lost 2 of my grandparents to Cancer. Not only did their fight with this awful disease keep me pushing through all 240km, but so did the riders pedaling beside me with yellow flags hanging off their bikes. These special flags signified anyone who was doing the ride while being treated for Cancer, or was a Cancer survivor. I tell ya, there is no hill too tough to climb when you realize the person beside you is fighting the very disease we all fear.
(The Caps Westwood Cycle team I was a part of in 2012!)
(I couldn’t be more proud to work for a company that takes part in such a wonderful cause – Team CTV going 5 years strong!)
The great thing about the Ride To Conquer Cancer is that you don’t have to be an athlete to do this ride – challenge yourself and go at your own pace. However, now is the time to get training. Regardless if you’re doing the ride, or just love to hit the road biking, the points below will all be helpful – so lets get started!
#1 – One of the most important pieces of advice I was given was to get some good time in the ‘saddle’! Basically that means you’ve got to break in your ‘bum’! For those doing the Ride To Conquer Cancer (RTCC), you’re going to be sitting on your saddle for TWO DAYS STRAIGHT! So here’s what I recommend:
-You’ll need a good pair of cycling shorts that are gender specific. Let’s face it us girls are made differently then the boys out there and we each need something that is for our specific bodies. Once you’ve chosen your shorts make sure they are worn directly against your skin (no underwear or panties).
-Because you’re going to be sitting on your saddle for such a long period of time, a good test to see if your butt can take it or not is by doing two practice rides of 80km days in a row.
-Ever heard of “Udder Budder”??? This cream will be your best friend! During the ride it is rubbed generously on your girl or boy parts and will be a life saver to prevent unnecessary chaffing!
-Lastly you’ll need a good saddle! Again most people find a “gender specific” saddle to be the perfect comfort answer and most companies should have a “comfort” guarantee. This means go out and ride on it…squishing your fingers into a saddle is no indication that it will be comfortable for you to sit on for two days in a row.
#2 – At this point in time you’re probably wondering how many practice rides you should be getting in! I highly suggest you don’t do what I did the first year – which was not train at all! And on that note I will quote ‘you live and you learn’. Realistically by now as far as riding goes you should be getting in 3 per week. Especially as we get closer, make sure you’re doing 2 of those rides back to back – to give youself a feeling of what the weekend will be like. Lastly, make sure you’re doing your rides rain or shine – the RTCC has a history of being a ‘wet’ weekend!
(Soaking wet and full of emotions, my dog Mylo greeted me at the finish line in Seattle!)
#3 – Another aspect of biking that excites me to touch on is the world of clip-less shoes! Clip-less refers to the shoe that cleats onto your pedal unlike the “toe clips” of years gone by. The reason I get excited is because the first year I did the ride I didn’t use them, where as the second year I did…and what a difference! I personally found that clip-less shoes gave me so much more power to go up hills, create speed, and best of all I didn’t get that burning lactic acid feeling in my legs. Realistically riding with clip-less shoes will give you a more effective pedal up and down stroke, HOWEVER if you are too scared to ride with them you can seriously hurt yourself!!! Some expects will tell you the only way to get into clipless pedals in shoes is to just “commit” and get out there and ride. Some people learn by placing a bike trainer in front of the tv and just practice until it becomes natural to clip and unclip. You can also try riding with an old peddle on one side and a clip-less one on the other side. There are tons of options, and the great news is you still have time to get comfortable!
#4 – Did you know a helmets lifetime is 5 years? Whether you never wear it or wear it daily….look at it’s “birthdate” which is stamped inside the helmet…if it is over 5 years…I’m afraid it has to be tossed! If you’ve had a crash and there was impact on the helmet then it too has to be tossed. Don’t cheap out on a helmet…after all it’s your head we’re talking about…you can get a decent helmet for around $50.00 and up!
#5 – Here’s a few more tiny suggestions I’d like to fit into one:
-Pack clothes for every time of weather scenario! You’d be surprised how cold it is in the morning in June!
-Know how to change a tire! Flats happen when you least suspect it, so get familiar by popping into the store you bought your bike at, and they’ll be able to show you.
-Lastly, because pit stops are every 25kms during the RTCC, make sure you carry some good snacks in your backpack, and lots and lots of water!!!!
(Celebrating every accomplishment along the way!)
Now it’s time to hit the road! Get out there, bike your heart out, and remember it’s not a race so HAVE FUN!!!!! Special thanks to Kelly, Glen, Ellecia, and Evan from Cap’s Westwood Cycle for not only helping me fall in love with biking years ago, but also providing everything to make this segment the best it could be!