This was one of the most rewarding shoots I've ever done. 100 riders with a dedicated crew of volunteers riding 400km in one day, from Kelowna to Delta, to raise over half a million dollars for the Canadian Cancer Society. Sharing the results of this shoot represents a unique challenge; I want to tell the story – to convey some measure of the feelings evident in the moment. But what to do when those moments are so personal? When the feelings are expressed with one's guard down, while vulnerable and among trusted teammates? With the team's blessing, I choose to share, based on the fact that this isn't a fun outing to enjoy a bit of sun and fresh air. It's a grueling ride meant to emulate the hardship and challenge someone with cancer overcomes every single day. This group is unified by extremely personal and often painful experiences with a deadly disease, and our collective desire to fight it. And that isn't always pretty. Not always happy. There will be tears. People may not always be at their best. This handful of shots does, however, honestly reflect the journey these incredible riders and volunteers have taken on the way to joining the R2S team as a rider, organizer, or crew member. ride2survive.ca

One of the mechanics scrambling to ready the 100+ bikes for the next day's 3am departure.
An emotional and unforgettable evening before departure; we all took a turn with the R2S Talking Stick, and shared with the group why we were there. I was there for my dear friend Leon. My aunt Carol. Eric. All of whom I miss dearly. There were team members who'd lost family within a day of the event, yet they were still there, determined to make a meaningful contribution to cancer research. I've never been surrounded by so many courageous souls.
There's a story here, and perhaps it's best shared just by pasting the brief story I included when sharing the shot on Facebook:

"So I have this thing...I never let anyone look at photos on my camera before I get home and cull the unflattering ones; I want to be sure people know, when my lens is pointing in their direction, they'll be happy with the results. So, my apologies to the adorable victim here, but I'm going to share this.
It was one of the rest stops. I was scanning the group for a subject when I saw a gal sheepishly looking around as she thrust her hand down the front of her pants. Well, I thought, I have no idea what the hell is going on, but I think I'll capture this moment. I brought up my camera just as she noticed me watching, and we both burst out laughing. And I took my shots.
And now that I've shared this overwhelming experience with the R2S team, I see how symbolic this photo is. A rider single-minded in her mission to accomplish too many tasks in too little time before she must be back on her bike: a lightning-fast pee break, change layers, address that issue on her bike, fill up her water bottles, grab some carbs and frantically chew them while simultaneously shoving a handful of chamois butter down her pants. And she's still able to laugh about it all.
That indomitable spirit was a feature throughout the day, even when conditions were nightmarish. There was laughter. Mutual support and encouragement. Vicki's bullhorn bathing the team with over 20 hours of non-stop love and support. Volunteers scurrying from one stop to the next to accomplish any of a thousand tasks that had to be completed in too little time.
But it all got done, and right now, one beautiful and determined spirit with her mouth-is-full smile and a handful of chamois butter down her pants says it all: there's nothing this team can't accomplish."
Cruising down the long hill into Merritt
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