Last Sunday I took part in the Becel Ride For Heart. I wish I could say it went as smoothly as margarine through my arteries but ironically, the ride nearly gave me a heart attack.
Those of you who read my last post know that I devised a foolproof way to raise money for the cause. Those who didn’t read the previous post are obviously self absorbed assholes. My plan was not to ask anyone for money, and it worked! I fundraised by writing my sponsors' names on my body and although no one came forward to get the top tier, I raised more than zero dollars!
|Representation of what the top tier of sponsorship.|
Actually given my lack of enthusiasm at asking for money I think I did okay. I’m not going to give you an honour roll of pictures of people who donated, but I will throw this picture of the top sponsor’s name:
I hadn’t thought much about my connection to heart issues, but when my parents donated money in memory of my grandparents I was reminded that many members of my family drop dead unexpectedly from heart attacks. I remember that after my grandfather died we were cleaning out his house and I noticed that he about a third of the way through a Robert Ludlum book, I imagined him wandering around the afterlife looking for someone who had read it that could tell him how it ended. Since then I try to read obscure books quickly.
|A fitting tribute, no?|
The ride was tough. It took me about 90 minutes to do the 25 kilometre ride, with my eldest child attached to the bike. She, of course, was on a bike attached to mine - I wasn't just dragging her along the asphalt by the ankles or anything. My wife had the baby in the Chariot, or given how much she screamed in it “The Skinner Box”.
|Yesh, just learn to press the red lever and you'll stop getting shocked.|
We almost missed the starting cut off due to a last minute bathroom break. We were literally some of the last people to start the ride, which meant we missed the glut of A-type people who awoke at 6:30 in the morning to conquer the event. We hand had come from a drinking event the night before coupled with a baby who wouldn’t sleep. Here’s a tip, you know you are in trouble for the next day when you are walking home and you find yourself saying, “Who the hell would have a baby out this late at night?” only to find that it’s your jacked up baby with the sitter.
The ride started out fun along the Gardner Expressway which sits above ground level. I was close enough to the city smog to write our names in it. My daughter had a good time looking at the elevator going up the CN Tower, and all the other riders on the road. It wasn’t long before she got bored and started just talking at me. She is in a phase now, where I no longer have to acknowledge or respond to the things she is saying, “Daddy, what if this road was a pony, and we were ponies. Ponies that could fly and when we got off the road we all ate cake? Cake in the shape of ponies!” At first I tried to answer the hypothetical questions. “Well sweetheart, that would mean we were a pony riding on a pony’s back and I’m pretty sure cake isn’t good for ponies.” About 30 minutes in I responded with “yup.”
|The flaw to this system of ignoring her is that I don't notice for hours after she's fallen off.|
I think one of the hard parts of this event, unlike a marathon, or a walk is that people are of varying skill levels, equipment and patience for one another. Many people on very fancy bikes whipped by me as a blaze of spandex, while we were like a huge jabbering snail plodding along on the road, at least that was when I wasn’t walking the bike complete with pony spewing daughter up the hills.
|It was supposed to look like a squid. I know, I know many other people already pointed it out.|
The thing that struck me as most fascinating was the sounds during the ride. There would be a pop, and a sound of rushing air followed by a “Fuck, shit, fuck!”; the noise a punctured tire naturally makes in the wild.
As ridiculous a notion that dragging our kids behind us was, it was way better than the parents of small children that let their kids ride their own bikes. I heard parents screaming and struggling to stay balanced while keeping pace to their children who were riding in circles or dragging their feet on their tiny bikes. I imagine those parents are still out there a week later hoarse from yelling begging their children to keep pedaling.
|"What do you mean these peddles aren't just for show?"|
At the midway point my daughter got very bored. If ever you thought that driving a car while a child asks every few seconds how much longer the drive is, try physically dragging their sorry asses at the same time.
We happily got to the end of the ride to find the most anti-climactic end ever. I had imagined that we would triumphantly use a last burst of energy to pedal across the finish line to cheers, confetti and gold bullion thrown our way. Instead the one lane road caused such a jam of bikes that everyone had to get off their bikes and shuffle along trying not to bump into the guy ahead of us. Plus, because we were among the last riders, workers were deconstructing the starting line when we arrived. Nothing feels like a real accomplishment like teamsters swearing at one another, “Why am I carrying all these fucking things? You lazy piece of shit!” I would have plugged my daughter’s ears if I hadn’t been trying to keep the bike upright.
|"I swear, we all really did bike it."|
Because it was so late into the day and we were all starving, we decided to sneak into the VIP lounge for their brunch meal. We were told that it wasn’t allowed, but because it was the end of the day and no one really cared, we should go in. We were of course the only people standing in line without a fancy monogrammed shirt, so I felt rather conspicuous.
My plan was to eat quickly, and head out before anyone noticed that we shouldn’t be there. My brother in law decided to keep a low profile by having all the kids in our group go to the centre of the hall where announcements were being made and dance on a stage to music blaring along with a slide show on the giant screen behind him. Let’s just say he won’t be an undercover officer anytime soon.
It did however affirm that naming our next child “VIP” will ensure being allowed into anything.