A Sense of Community

As is per the norm for me, my weekend revolved around bikes. Nothing new here. Except for one thing – the feelings of community and support that this weekend left me with. You see this weekend featured two pretty big events – there were the races that were part of La Grande Visite de Gatineau and the Heel ‘N’ Wheel-A-Thon. Two big events – both focusing on bikes and soaking up all we can from life.

I did not get out to the time trials on Saturday in Gatineau but I was able to catch the latter half of the women’s race on Sunday. It was pretty special to see my pals racing with some of the top North American teams. As I watched the peloton pedal by I was wishing I was in that race. But unfortunately it was not to be… I was at the Heel ‘N’ Wheel-A-Thon in the morning and wasn’t able to juggle both events. Do I regret this decision? Not at all. As much as I would have liked to have raced, the Heel ‘N’ Wheel-A-Thon is a once-a-year fundraising and awareness-raising event for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada.

Now at both events – the women’s race and the Heel ‘N’ Wheel-A-Thon, there really weren’t a lot of people out. This was the 15th anniversary of the Heel ‘N’ Wheel-A-Thon and from what I understand we had the largest numbers of participants ever – this is fantastic but still we don’t have the numbers participating that you see in events such as the Terry Fox Run or MS Ride. And at the women’s race there were pockets of fans through-out the course though most were other cyclists or husbands/boyfriends/friends of the racers.

But what struck me at both events, small numbers aside was the atmosphere. There was a real sense of “coming together”. At the Heel ‘N’ Wheel-A-Thon I was overwhelmed at times with the spirit and being surrounded by people who like me are dealing with Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. At the women’s race, it was great to see people out supporting the race, cheering for the racers, and standing up and getting excited for the final sprint.

All this to say that it really is the community that keeps me going. The morning and afternoon were super being with other people who are focused on raising awareness of IBD and then spending time with my friends at the women’s race. Good times all around. Everyone was smiling. People were out enjoying the fresh air and living life. It is so encouraging to see people out “doing”.

I have to send a massive thank-you to the KingsBridge crew for coming out to ride with me in the Heel ‘N’ Wheel-A-Thon. This was awesome to have these friends out to ride and experience the event. As well, I’m lucky to be sponsored by companies like The Cyclery and Stevens Bikes who appreciate that even though I’m a bike racer, I have to sometimes miss the bike race to participate in events like the Heel ‘N’ Wheel-A-Thon. It was a tough decision to miss the race but there will be more races (this Sunday at the Preston St. criterium) but the Heel ‘N’ Wheel-A-Thon comes once a year.

Also, many many thanks for your support and donations. So far we’ve raised $910! I’d like to raise $1000… We have three more weeks to collect pledges. And when you donate, your name will be entered in a draw to win a prize – you can choose from the list of prizes provided by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada.

Looking forward to the race this Sunday. There is nothing quite like the Preston St. Criterium to get the fans and racers out. I’m racing at 2:00 and Marc and the Scott boys are racing at 3:00. Should be a good time. (Congrats to Shaun Adamson of the Scott Racing Team for his third place in Sunday’s Gatineau Criterium!)

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