Even now as I sit here in my lounge on December 5, 2013, I still can't believe what has taken place. Not one, but 4 Ride To Conquer Cancer events. And because of my ability to inspire others on this journey, more than $60,000 has been donated to Cancer research in 2013. This is part of the massive amount of just over $240,000 that the Vision Crusaders raised this year.
Ride to Conquer Cancer - Grand Slam ... TICK!
Adelaide was the final ride for us this year. It was the ride to celebrate everything we had achieved as a team. Our fundraising was over for 2013 and there was to be no more discussions of travel plans, flight bookings, accommodation, meals, baby sitters, bike builds, stress, packing bags, annual leave, saying goodbye to family who didn't want you to go, sleeping in tents, cold showers (or no shower), airport transfers, chicken cacciatore and cold sleepless nights.
There was to be no more long rides shared with amazing inspiring people who were on the same wave length as myself, no more talking about what the Ride to Conquer Cancer achieves, no more stories of cancer survival and on the other hand - no more hearing of those who had faced our demon and lost the battle. No more Vision Crusaders Grand Slam team - an amazing bunch of 22+ people who had become a massive part of my life in such a short time.
*Vision Crusaders 2014 will be very different and nothing compared to 2013!
Consistency was one thing that my preparation for Adelaide had. No training, high levels of stress and this time around a house move which was 120kms away and starting a new job in the week prior. After what I had faced in Sydney, this was going to be easy.
As my team mates arrived in Adelaide, I sat at my desk in Geelong. As my team mates arrived at bike check in, I still sat at my desk in Geelong. As my team mates headed out for tea, I headed for the airport. I arrived in Adelaide at 8:45pm - with 9 hours to spare before we would be at the start line for our final Ride to Conquer.
The ride itself was perfect. The scenery was beautiful, the course was challenging and the time I had with my team was something that I will forever hold dear to my heart. Especially our team captain Klaus who surprised us all at camp on Saturday ... only 4 days earlier being officially in remission from the leukaemia that stopped him from completing his dream.
|Mav at the beach|
|Mav checking out next years crops|
|My team captain - the greatest surprise in Adelaide|
For the majority of the weekend, I found I was in high spirits. But midway though Sunday, the weight of this being our last hurrah was getting harder to carry. I was incredibly sad knowing that our day would end, we would cross the line for the last time and that would be it. And I also knew that for 2 years, I had dedicated so much time and energy to trying to make a difference - but the last 4 weeks had claimed yet another 2 fighters that I rode for. 2 beautiful ladies. 2 beautiful mothers. A total of 4 kids (a set of 8 year old triplets to one angel and an 8 month old baby to my other angel) who would face their whole life without their mum. Given that I had lost my own mum 8 weeks earlier, it was raw pain.
Sadness. It is an emotion that can cripple even the strongest people ... but it wasn't going to stop me. Not in Adelaide anyway.
Our final day I had pulled on the craziest brightest sparkliest hot pink leggins Black Milk Clothing could provide. A tribute to my 2 new angels. Coordination and fashion rules got thrown out a long time ago with the Crusaders ... so why not go out on a bang - all for these precious ladies.
This time, unlike the others, I cannot find words to summarise my final Ride to Conquer in 2013. But I hold the experience deep within my heart, knowing that it has changed my life forever. Sometimes words don't do justice to the emotion and the feeling. And this is the one time that I know this is true.
|My girl and I - together we CONQUER|