Ride2Survive 2019, my story (the blog for facebook and my donors)

I’ve been doing this fundraiser since 2009, and boy has my perspective changed. It used to be a bike ride, but Kerry Kunzli put it in proper perspective, we are a fundraising club with a bicycle problem.

And therein lies the magic of Ride2Survive, we have all been touched by cancer, maybe I should say punched. None of the remarkable people involved in this fundraising club were satisfied to do nothing, so we decided to make a difference, and the difference became the Canadian Cancer Society’s largest independent fundraiser.

I can take no credit, the credit belongs to the volunteers who have organized, trained and most of all led this eclectic team of multitalented individuals. Of course, I must acknowledge and call out Vicki and Kerry Kunzli who have provided the heart and soul of R2S and Rich Gestle, our inspiration. Rich wears a R2S yellow jersey, symbolic of being a cancer survivor, and he is likely the strongest rider on our team.

I also need to acknowledge my donors, most of whom have been with me for 11 years. Thank you! We exceeded $1 million this year, and thanks to you I exceeded my goal of $10k. We will again keep our promise this year, 100% of your donation will go to cancer research. We will determine the target for this funding later this year, and I would be happy to share how your money is spent, when that decision is made.

And now onto a few highlights and challenges of this year’s ride:

The ride begins with a 50km/1400m climb out of Kelowna. The climb runs at a moderate 5% or so for the first 30k or so and then turns north around the Brenda mine. After the turn, the climb kicks up and becomes harder. We had a tail wind going up this hill and I thought that was a pretty good omen, but I was wrong. This short section of tail wind turned into an oppressive head wind for most of the ride. It was sapping and very difficult. The ride, which normally finishes around 10:00 in Delta, finished close to 12:30, a full 2 ½ hours more in the saddle.

We ride with a pilot car that was fit out with a killer stereo that could be heard right to back of the peloton. Music has a way of taking your mind off your pain, and at the same time motivate you to keep pedalling. My magic moment came after midnight as we were closing in on the finish in Delta, riding along 96thAve. in Surrey. Spirit of the West’s “Home for a Rest” blasted out of the stereo (we were surely breaking some noise bylaw), and to sing “take me home” at the top of our lungs after riding 21 hours was telling of the determination and fortitude of this remarkable team of cyclists and ride support volunteers.

Thank you to the ride volunteers (100+ strong) who make the ride possible and keep us safe, fed, cheered, and riding. (special call out to our police, paramedic, and ambulance staff who volunteer their time).

Thank you to my donors and our collective donors. We raised over $1m this year alone and over $8m in the 15 years since Ride2Survive started.

Thank you to my R2S family, the many friends I have made, the inspiration that you have provided, the encouragement, humour (TP Paul, Charles) and the selflessness. You are all remarkable human beings!


Here are the winners folks... thank you for all your support of this great little bike ride!

  1. Ticket 4253 - Paul Beaumont – Honda Civic from Surrey Honda
  2. Ticket 0680 - Nick Knapman  – Two tickets from Air Canada
  3. Ticket 6180 - Daniel Bustin  – $1000 gift certificate from Scan Design Furniture

Thanks especially to all our prize providers!  These prizes were all given to Ride2Survive at NO COST so every raffle ticket dollar goes to cancer research!

Total tickets sold for the 2019 raffle was over $130,000!!!

Nasir Kamrudin - Surrey Honda
Michel Chiasson - Air Canada
Keld Jensen - ScanDesigns Quality Home Furnishings


"How was your day?" As always, it was busy, it was emotional and exhausting physically and mentally, and I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

For you "Numbers People". Here's some statistics from the 2019 ride:

Total riders entering SAG or Mechanical = 118
Busiest Legs Coldwater Road and Larson Hill/Britton Creek = 23 and 22 respectively
Least busy Leg = Woodside Hill to Mission = ZERO!!!

Most SAG Vehicles in the Package at one leg = 10
SAG 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Mech 1, 2, Relay 4, Photo 1 (deputised to SAG) and SAG Control.

Those 118 rider pick ups are not failures.  Jenni said something a few years ago that really stuck with me; "I would rather ride at 100% for 7 legs than 70% for 10...my role here is to raise the average in the group; not to be an example of average".  Since she said that to me, I have witnessed more and more of our Ride Captains and riders shift from being a strong rider who leaves so much on the road that they are down to that 70% by the time we pass Mission, to being at 100% past Mission because they sat out two or three difficult legs earlier in the day.  They raise the average of the group.  There's a strong life lesson there.

My Most Touching moment over 11 years - Graham Street and Vicki Oates with her band creating "SAG Control to Peloton" to David Bowie's "Major Tom" and then Gladys putting photos to it.

Best family moment - Spending the day of this last ride "with" my family, thank you Gladys, Andrew & Geoffrey, and to Karyn and Jannie who kept an eye on them and suffered with my children's senses of humour...at least you know where they got it.  (I get bonus marks for work an Oxford Comma into a sentence with Karyn's name in it)

My signature line, "I'm sorry, and I accept your apology"

My signature look, the Tilley...although The Pikachu hat a the colder rest stops was accused of being bananas...That may have just been Rich and Michael Meade though.

So, for Kerry O who has been in SAG Control with me every year it has existed except this one, and Gwen & Karen who filled her seat this year so admirably, it was an honour.

Tony Nathan - SAG Control 
10-92 End of Watch


Hello Ride2Survive Family

We have a few items left over from the Vancouver Ride2Survive Pub Night that need to go this week. To that end we have reduced the opening bid price and will be closing the auction on Wednesday night.

if these items are not sold, then that's a little less money to cancer research and we will have to take to charity shop :-(

So share this link on your social media, email etc, get bidding yourself and let's get some more money to fight cancer!!

Thanks, Amanda and Nicky



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