This weekend was the ScotiaBank Okanagan Grape Escape MS Bike Tour – a mouthful of a title for an amazing event! Over 140 cyclists had to raise over $300 each to take part, but many raised much more, as our final total for the weekend was $82 667, with more to trickle in slowly, we are sure.
These cyclists get an amazing ride through the wineries of the Central Okanagan. On Saturday they visit 10 wineries on the Kelowna side of the lake and on Sunday a further 6. Each winery offers tastings and any wine purchased is brought back to the base camp for them, so they don’t have to ride along with clinking bottles! The ride on Saturday is 70km, so I’m sure the tastings help to take your mind off the pain as the day goes by.
On Saturday night we have a banquet to socialise but also to celebrate the achievements of the riders, the teams that raise the most and so on. I want to share one story.
I first met Christina in June at the first ‘Gear It Up’ event where riders get to train for the event. Christina had met some of our committee at the start of another cycling event – Kelowna’s Bike To Work Week. She shared with them that her sister-in-law has MS, so she was then convinced that she really should take part. Okay, she said, as long as you train me.
Onwards to that first training ride, a 30km ride. At the lunch at the end of the ride, Christina looked all in. I sat and talked to her for a while and reassured her that there was a short route each day too, for the actual event, if she didn’t feel up to the full 70km. I had my doubts that she would make it to the event in September!
The next time I saw her was September, the morning of the event, and she was positively bouncing with excitement. Which length are you going to do, I asked? The long one, she replied, brimming with confidence. She was also wearing the special shirt for people who had raised over $1000.
Christina had attended all 3 training rides, had lost weight, was so proud of her achievements, and, for me best of all, so proud to be doing something to support her sister-in-law. We made a special presentation to her on Saturday as the rider who had impressed us the most with their transformation over the course of the year.
This is why we do it. This makes it all worthwhile.