Riding to Conquer Cancer, 2017 Edition

It’s that time again: time to saddle up, bike a whole bunch of miles, and kick cancer in the teeth.


Some immediate resources for you:

  1. My personal page. I’d be grateful if you can spare a few bucks.
  2. Our team page. Once again I’ll be part of the Tragically Clipped. We’re a quartet this year. On the road, Kevin and I will be accompanied by none other than Jonny T, who has the distinction of being the only person to have authored guest entries for Stuff and Nonsense. This is his first-ever ride! We’ve also got our very own crew member: Heather Gardiner, who’s a friend of Sam’s and a nemesis of Kevin’s and who’ll be playing the role of “Bridesmaid” in mine and Sam’s wedding later this year. Together we’re going to raise $10,000 for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
  3. “The Courage of Jill Costello” remains an almost indescribably potent piece of writing. I read it every once in a while to remind myself why things like the Ride to Conquer Cancer are so important.

There’ll be lots more to come in the months ahead! On the amazing journey together we’ll ride.


Why I’m Riding

Let’s get to it.

One, because f*ck cancer. That one’s straightforward enough. Fundraising and awareness-raising are important things.

Two, because it’s an immense personal challenge. It’s not purely altruistic: it’s about setting ambitious fitness and fundraising targets and blowing them out of the water. In 2009, when I did my first Ride to Conquer Cancer, biking 200km and raising $2,500 seemed utterly outrageous. Now it seems slightly less so, but that’s only because–having done it twice now–I know it’s at least conceptually possible.

Three, because Kevin and I have been wanting to do this together for years. Geography and then my wonky knees made it difficult until 2016; Kevin’s wonky knees almost made it difficult this year, too, but thankfully that taxi didn’t hit him hard enough.

Four, because the lead singer of one of our favourite bands was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Gord Downie’s illness has nothing to do with our team name–Kevin and I have been planning on calling our Ride to Conquer Cancer team the Tragically Clipped, quite literally, for years–but it’ll give us an added push.

Lastly, I’m riding because I’m a cancer survivor and I want to show cancer who’s boss. When I was three I was diagnosed with, and subsequently treated for, a Wilm’s Tumour, which is a fancy way of saying “cancer of the kidney.” If you’ve ever seen me shirtless you’ll have no doubt noticed a massive scar bisecting my midsection. That’s the visible manifestation of what happened to me thirty-two years ago. The disease itself has long been eradicated, but I’ll be living with its aftereffects for the rest of my life. That statement isn’t intended to garner sympathy–-believe me, I know how lucky I am–but it goes a long way towards explaining why I’m about to do a 200km bike ride. It isn’t just for fun. Or for fun at all: I still don’t love biking the way some people do. But crossing that finish line with the yellow survivor flag flying from my bike? That will be fun.

(Two more quick things: yes, this means I’ve only got one kidney, and yes, it functions better than both of yours…or in one case, all four of yours. Thanks for the donation, Amy!)

So: now that you know all the main reasons for me doing the Ride to Conquer Cancer again, I’m excited to report that I’m at 90% of my fundraising goal! If you’d like to donate, simply follow this link. We still have two weeks left to crack $2,500. Thanks again for reading. Your support, financial or otherwise, means the world to me.

Drive to Conquer Cancer

My knee may not allow me to bike to conquer cancer this year…but it won’t stop me from driving: on August 9 and 10 I’ll be part of the crew for the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. This is my fifth year being involved with the Alberta Ride: I was a crew member last year as well, and in previous years was both a rider and a volunteer. It’s an event that I love and a cause that’s pretty important to me.


Click here to see my participant page! If you’d like to donate: thank you, but I ask that any money you’d planned on giving me you instead give to Ambassador Gordo. He and his teammates are trying to raise $5,000; let’s help them get it! You are of course welcome to donate to me–nothing over $20–but I’ll be even happier if your money goes to Qonquering Qancer.

My Cancerversary

On March 23, 2014 I’m celebrating a personal milestone: thirty years since conquering cancer. And to mark the occasion, my Nerd Lobster and I are going travelling.

On March 19 we’re flying to Paris. Then it’s on to England–to London, Manchester, and Salisbury. We’ve got all sorts of exciting plans for our first trip together. Keep checking both Stuff and Nonsense and my Nerd Lobster’s wonderful blog Tripping ‘Round The World for updates! In the meantime, and in the spirit of conquering cancer, why not donate to Ambassador Gordo’s 2014 Ride to Conquer Cancer campaign? He’s trying to raise $5,000. Let’s make sure he gets it.

Drive to Conquer Cancer

The Ride to Conquer Cancer has been conquered again…and by “ride” I of course mean “drive,” because this year I spent most of the Ride in a refrigerated vehicle called the reefer truck (seriously). We spent the weekend delivering fruits, bagels, and bags of ice along the Ride’s 220km course. Both days started before 5am; today lasted over ten hours and included three separate trips to Okotoks. And in the end, three things are especially worth mentioning:

  1. You helped me personally raise $590. From the bottom of my heart: thank you.
  2. Overall this year’s Alberta Ride raised a staggering $7.5-million. Put slightly differently, this weekend 1,650 riders told cancer to go fuck itself 7.5 million times over.
  3. Another 32-for-32 item is complete.
Congratulations to everyone who biked, drove, or otherwise helped with this year’s Ride. We’ll see you in 2014!

Driving to Conquer Cancer

Greetings from the new Casa de Johns, where I’m juggling a gigantic pile of laundry, a room that looks sort of like this, and the National’s High Violet album (“England,” in case you haven’t heard it, is masterful). I’m also gearing up for the Ride to Conquer Cancer. Sorta kinda. Let me explain.

In December I signed up for my third Ride to Conquer Cancer. But in January I blew my ACL and, after consulting with several doctors, dropped out of the ride and signed up to be a crew member. And in two weeks, instead of biking 200km through Southern Alberta, I’ll be on the caboose team sweeping the route. I’ll be in a car, which is at least a saner alternative to doing the actual biking. Believe me, I know.

Cancer’s an especially important cause to me, which is why I was still eager to lend a hand in any way possible. I’m no longer required to raise $2,500–but I’ve still done a bit of fundraising, and with less than two weeks to go before the ride I’m doing a little bit more. I’m asking all of you to consider supporting me in this year’s Ride to Conquer Cancer. However, since I’m neither a, riding, nor b, required to reach any fundraising threshold, I’m asking that you keep your donations small (nothing over $20, please). They’re still going to the same great place, but save your bigger donations for when I actually do the ride.

And I will do it again, soon–but right now my “training” involves 30-second spurts of running, so I’m not there quite yet. In the meantime, if you’re able to spare me a few bucks I’d be eternally grateful. Let’s join together and kick cancer’s butt.