Twenty-eight riders arrived tired, admittedly sweaty and dirty having completed the miles from the ‘awesome, incredible, overwhelming’ Columbia Icefields on Saturday, July 12, en route from Austin, Texas to Anchorage, Alaska. This endeavour will raise $600,000 this year. The ride has now 10 years of existence and has raised in excess of $5-million in support of cancer research.
Their hosts, the congregation of McBride’s Anglican/United Church, were busily preparing supper when the riders arrived. The supper of salad, turkey, mash potatoes, vegetables with all the trimmings, beautiful desserts and beverages was quickly dispatched after the youngsters used the local Recreation Centre to shower and wash off the road grime. Then they told their stories, shared their varied reasons for being there, watched the unusually large moon – all before settling down on the floor of the church or adjacent church hall for a well deserved night’s rest. It was hard while sitting chatting with these delightful young people to not be impressed with their physical fitness and general healthiness, their understanding and gratitude for those who have died from one of many forms of cancer.
Early the next morning the riders left for Peardonville Ski Hill, their next stop en route to their final destination, Anchorage. It was to be day 44 of the 70 day pilgrimage. Cyclists from Texas 400 have been coming to the Anglican/United church since the beginning, 10 years ago. Value in the sense of community commitment is huge and is well acknowledged in McBride. There is not much doubt that Lake Louise, Columbia Icefield make a strong impression and several members of the group spoke of coming back for future visits.