Ron Gallo - Why I Ride
Support My Ride to Conquer Cancer®
Welcome to my Personal Page! The British Columbia Ride to Conquer Cancer, presented by Silver Wheaton benefiting BC Cancer Foundation, is a two-day cycling journey through the beautiful Pacific region taking place in late August. The Ride is a challenge in a number of ways; but with my bike, my helmet and your generosity, a real impact will be made!
Contribute to this powerful movement with a donation. Funds raised through the British Columbia Ride to Conquer Cancer will support life-saving research and enhancements to care at the BC Cancer Agency, bringing hope to cancer patients in B.C. and beyond.
Thank you in advance for your help.
My Personal Web Log
It's A Ride Not A Race
I have to admit that I chuckle to myself every time I hear that line. It is true that the British Columbia Ride to Conquer is a ride and not a race. I chuckle because we're talking a 250 kms bike ride over the course of two days. There are hills, corners, detours and straight stretches that will test every cyclists abilities.
When I embarked on my first ride, my adrenaline was pumping and I wanted to get going so bad. That was the year of the "hurricane" winds on day one. I remember feeling like I wasn't even moving against the wind; perhaps the most bizarre feeling was that the hills were easier then the straight stretches because those hills were actually sheltering me from the winds.
I took on the challenge of being ready for this ride with great vigor. You see I had only just learned that I liked the bike earlier in the summer. Prior to this challenge, my challenges included hiking and before that just walking as a means to reverse what a sedentary lifestyle had done to me. I knew I was fortunate that I hadn't developed any heath issues and am thankful every day that I can say this to myself or anyone else who will listen. If you're listening, my only advice is to be active and check what you are eating on a regular bases.
That first year I rode, I realized that I loved cycling and since then have looked forward to this summer ritual. I also learned that I do have a little bit of a competitive streak in me. I want to be a faster, stronger rider and get those PRs from besting my previous times. So for me, any time I get on a bike it is a race and that is why I chuckle when I hear that this is a ride and not a race.
In an attempt to quell the competitive beast inside me, I rode the Gran Fondo Badlands in 2016 and again in 2017. I can tell you right now that I am going to do the Challenge Route in this event again this year for two reasons. The first is because I want to see faster times on the route and the other is kind of related because I won't have another opportunity to ride this same route. In 2018, the British Columbia Ride to Conquer Cancer will no longer cross in to the United States but is set to be contained within the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. I won't say much more about that as that is something best left to the organizers to further disclose.
Again this year hundreds if not thousands of riders will start out from the Cloverdale Fairgrounds working their way to the Peace Arch Border Crossing and then through Washington State to Mount Vernon. That's just the first day, the second day will continue on the southerly route ending up in Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington. This ride truely is a scenic one with the Classic Route winding its way along some of the Coastal communities while the Challenge Route goes through little hillier farmland areas.
With that many cyclists on the road of all shapes, sizes and abilities, that is why this is a ride and not a race. There will be cancer survivors riding, there will be some very emotional participants as well who are riding in memory of loved ones. There will be a whole host of other riders that are riding to prove something to themselves as I did in my first year back in 2015. There will also be those that can and will ride fast ... but it is a ride not a race. Unless the real race is to conquer cancer in our lifetime.
by Ron Gallo on Wed, Jul 05, 2017 @ 5:50 PM
If you ask me why I ride, I will give you a few reasons. These reasons have built up over my three years of participation in the British Columbia Ride to Conquer Cancer. In my first year I rode for myself, for my follow up year I rode for my biological father and this year I am riding for Miranda Kuenzl.
When I first learned of the ride I was just finishing up my second year of living a more active lifestyle and had just come off of a week long hike of the West Coast Trail. Two years prior I had been living a sedentary lifestyle believing that all was well in my world and that I was, in essence, the same person I had been years prior.
That image was shattered when I went for a simple walk to the grocery store just two kilometers from my house and realized that I now had to walk back! It didn't take long before I started taking my dog for daily walks. I added resistance to those walks by making them longer and incorporating nearby hills into the daily step totals.
As I started to lose the weight, I quickly began to realize how lucky I was that I didn't develop any serious health issues. I maintained my daily activity taking it to the gym in the winter where I used the treadmill. The following Spring I signed up for a 5K road run and, although I finished better than I expected to, I found much more joy in hiking in and around my corner of the Province that summer.
A good friend of mine said "let's hike the West Coast Trail" and I agreed. We started making plans for it one year out and started gathering equipment, advice and of course the physical endurance that would be required for just such an adventure. I ran through the winter and, as soon as we could, we hiked every weekend.
That same friend told me about the Ride to Conquer Cancer and said he was going to an introductory meeting to learn more about it. We both went and ended up signing up for the '15 edition of the ride. I did so because of how lucky I was feeling that I was healthy enough to be able to take on such a challenge. I joined indoor cycling classes and when it was time to hit the road, I wasn't happy with my performance and felt that I needed a proper road bike like everybody else. Wow did that make a difference! I quickly discovered that I was fast on the bike and felt like a little boy again without a care in the world and just the wind in my face.
Even though that first year was the "hurricane ride," I knew I was going to do this ride again and I signed up for the 2016 ride with designs on taking on the Challenge Route. For this ride, I let everybody know that I was riding for my biological father that I never met. I was adopted at a young age and never had an opportunity to meet any one from my biological family until years after my father died from lung cancer.
My father was a heavy smoker which certainly didn't help and neither did his choice of occupation. He decided he was going to be airline pilot and the runway to the career required he takeoff first as a crop duster. He died in his early 50's and here I was turning 52 knowing that I had given myself a second chance to do something good for myself and for others.
My biological family support my ride and often tell me that different things I do, the way I look and the way I talk often remind them of my father. Riding for my father was a surreal experience last year as I found myself standing over my father's grave on the day before the start of the two day ride from Vancouver to Seattle. Although I had never met the man, I found tears were still streaming down my face towards the ground where he had been laid to rest.
This year I am riding for a beautiful person that has endured so much in her young life and still finds a way to smile and laugh and make those around her feel special. I first learned of Miranda Kuenzl a few years ago shortly after her husband had been diagnosed with a form of terminal cancer. This came after Miranda had already been diagnosed with skin cancer.
This couple had a daughter that was looking at graduation in a few years and were in a tough spot now that he couldn't work. I was part of a small group of individuals that looked within to offer assistance and also gained awareness for the young family. The goal was to provide what ever we could to help with the daily stresses that this family was facing.
I wish that Doug could have been able to see his daughter graduate this year; unfortunately, the cancer wouldn't wait just six more months and instead took Doug from his loving wife and daughter just days after Christmas. I got to see first hand this man's kind heart when he couldn't wait to give me a thank you gift after I helped them get in to a newer vehicle.
Just a day out of the hospital, Doug showed up at my work with his gift in one hand and a cane in the other. His smile was radiant as he walked in my office with his wife by his side. Her smile also lit up the room and drew others to them. Before Christmas, Doug spent time at Hospice. He fought to be strong enough to make it home for Christmas. Home with his family to spend that special time of year with the ones that he loved the most.
Cancer should never have done to this family what it did. It may have taken Doug away, but it didn't take away his spirit. It certainly didn't take away the essence that is Miranda. It didn't take away her smile; if anything it made it brighter and more resilient. I have the opportunity today to check on Miranda regularly and can tell you that she still wears her smile like a magnificent ballroom gown.
That smile will be there for me while I propel myself along that Challenge Route again this year. Those lonely miles when I'm riding by myself and need a little motivation, her picture with that smile will be in plain sight reminding me of what is important. Through the pain, it isn't for ourselves that we power through. It is for others!
by Ron Gallo on Tue, Feb 28, 2017 @ 11:14 PM
The British Columbia Ride to Conquer Cancer is first and foremost a fundraiser for cancer research and treatment. Yes it is also a bike ride from Vancouver to Seattle with some scenic views for the riders to take as they ride the some 250 kms. Every rider registers with the understanding that they will be looking to raise a minimum of $2,500 that will go to the BC Cancer Foundation to support life saving research and enhancements to the goal of conquering cancer.
I have raised over $6500 in my first two rides and am looking to pass the $10,000 mark total this year with your help. I put in money myself as I don't think it is right that I don't. I also do some team fundraising events and recently coordinated the Chuck-A-Puck contest at the Prince George Cougars game raising a total of $1500 to be shared amongst those riders that came out and volunteered at the event.
You can donate as little as $5, $10, $20, $100 or whatever you feel you can and receive a tax deductible receipt from the BC Cancer Foundation. Your donations can be done in person with cash or a cheque or they can be made online using your credit card. Please consider making your donation today using the link on my page.
by Ron Gallo on Fri, Feb 03, 2017 @ 7:45 PM
A New Chapter
I have just completed my second BC Ride to Conquer Cancer and am very much interested in doing it all again in August 2017!
My first "Ride" was in 2015, not knowing what to expect I set out on a journey that I was sure I was physically prepared for. As it turns out I was, but I certainly didn't expect the hurricane gale force winds that ended up shutting down the first day just after lunch. My second ride was a lot less weather eventful with very good riding conditions lasting through both days.
In 2015 I rode approximately 260 kms when all was said and done and in 2016 I decided to ride the Challenge Route which puts an extra 40 kms on the overall distance ... all before lunch! I was able to ride this route very strong and came in to the lunch stop with a number of my teammates there. As it turns out, I was able to finish the first day as the third Wheelin' Warrior in to camp. Day two was a good day as well with me finishing just after noon and with the event crew just finishing up the final setup. My 2016 total distance exceeded 320 kms as I rode back to pitstop four to be able to ride in to the finish with the team.
Although I very much enjoyed how I rode and thankfully didn't suffer any kind of setbacks along the way, the "Ride" isn't really about being on the bike for six plus hours each day pedaling out all those miles. The "Ride" is about what it can do for people, specially those that are currently battling with cancer and even those that don't know they are yet.
In 2016, almost 1700 riders raised a combined total of $7.1 million for cancer research and treatment in the Province of British Columbia. The BC Cancer Foundation has been doing phenomenal work throughout the province and with the monies raised continues to do so leading the way to many ground breaking discoveries and innovative treatments.
With the help of my family and friends, my fundraising contributions totaled $3841 and my two year total is now at $6731 ... I would like to see my three year total surpass the $10,000 mark. I think that is very possible and look forward to coming up with creative fundraising ideas to achieve this goal.
As for the ride itself, I do like to be able to get on my bike and ride! Being able to cross the finish line safely is of course on the top of my list, but doing it faster than before is obviously the goal. I will be training throughout the fall, winter, spring and summer to be ready for August 26th and 27th 2017.
by Ron Gallo on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 @ 6:37 PM
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