Getting dirty for Cancer

By Marissa Baecker

April is cancer awareness month the yellow daffodils are everywhere you look. One of the best cancer treatment facilities is located in Kelowna, B.C. and patients come from around the province seeking care.

When you hear Ride for the Cure, you will most likely immediately think of two things. The first being cancer and the second bicycles. You’re half right. This is a completely different Ride for the Cure that includes the entire family – even the dog.

The event was created with Mom’s in mind and with Mother’s Day in May, the timing was perfect. MX Ride for the Cure held its inaugural event in 2010 and this year is scheduled for Sunday, May 15 at Bear Creek Track in West Kelowna.

The concept began with Chris Pearson, district manager of Canadian Kawasaki Motors Inc.

“It is an opportunity for families involved in the powersports community to get together collectively to raise awareness for the illnesses that are striking the moms out there,” said Pearson.

“Motocross is a team sport and every single family member is involved. Even if it is just the kids that are racing,” continued Pearson, “we’ve got Dad’s fixing bikes, mom’s cleaning clothes and supplying food and when one piece of that puzzle falls away, everything else crumbles.”

If you have ever been curious about motocross riding, this is your chance. This is a great introduction to the track. The event is conducted on a closed, supervised, circuit groomed to accommodate the riders that have never experienced jumping, whoopty doos, etc.

The Kelowna Dirt Bike Club is the host of the event.

Jeanine Acheson, president of KDBC said, “Mom’s are a very important part in the motocross world (myself being a supporter for my son and my husband).  There is a lot of ‘behind the scenes details to take care of for motocross and they usually fall into mom’s lap. Without her, it would make it harder for the racer. We are their support on the sidelines; their nurse when they get hurt. We are constantly washing their dirty gear, keeping them hydrated and fed, picking up parts for their bikes, packing and unpacking the trailer for the next race and a million other little things that just make it easier for the racer to do just that, race.”

I am the first to admit that I am not an MX rider and had little to no experience on track before last year’s event. However, I got a team of ladies together, moms, daughters, friends and were the only all ladies team to participate. We cannot express enough the amount of laughter, exercise, working together and just plain silliness was had at least year’s event. Our day of no shame and no fear of embarrassment garnered our team the “Most Spirited Team” award that came with a prize of hot pink goggles for every member. So, are we entering the event again this year? What do you think? We have pink feather boas on order – just to decorate the tent.

Registration filled quickly last year with a cap of 20 teams so the club has opened this year’s event to 40 teams. Each team must have at least six riders and no more than 10 total. Grab a group of friends and get a team together. The idea is to build your team with beginner to expert riders. Each rider will participate in their class on the track and ride as many laps as possible in the allotted time. Team members will gather pledges prior to the event day and funds raised are donated to the B.C. Cancer Foundation. The inaugural 2010 event, with 20 teams, raised approximately $19,000 in one day. There were great prizes up for grabs and will be again this year.

Registration per team is $150.00 and each team is expected to pledge at least $500. That really equates to hitting up fellow employees over the coffee machine for a great cause. If you have a full team, it is a minimum $50.

Riders are divided into four categories: LB – Little Bike (up to 150 cc 4 stroke/105cc 2 stroke), beginner and advanced and BB – Big Bike (over 150 cc 4 stroke/105cc 2 stroke). Only one rider per team will be on the track at the same time. Each hour will be divided in to four 15 min. segments. Riders will only be on the track with other riders of their class.

We have talked a lot about the riders but you don’t have to ride to be involved in the event. Spectators are more than welcome to come check out the riding.

Pearson said, “I am sure there will be a lot of people out there that may be uncomfortable to enter, so we are encouraging people to come out and just support the cause.”

Don’t have a bike but want to ride? This event allows bike sharing among the riders. In order to get your pledge forms ahead of time, you must register your team. To register your team contact: Jeanine Acheson, KDBC President by e-mail:  heritagecontstruction@telus.net or by phone: 250-768-5939. Once registered you will receive your pledge form and letter of authenticity from B.C. Cancer Foundation.

“The BC Cancer Foundation would like to acknowledge the passion and dedication of the organizers, sponsors and all those participating in the event, and to thank them for their amazing support,” said Michelle De Sousa, Development Officer at the BC Cancer Foundation. “This is going to be a great family event which will raise important funding for breast cancer research at the BC Cancer Agency Centre for the Southern Interior.”

For you out of towners, Bear Creek Park is very close to the track and offers lakeside camping. You can reserve a camping space for stays starting May 13. Motorhomes and trailers are allowed at Bear Creek Track the day of the event and an entire village pops out of the ground in a matter of an hour. Team check in begins around 8 a.m. and racing kicks off at 10 a.m., breaks for lunch at noon until 1 and then wraps up for the day at 3 p.m. with awards at 3:30. Visit www.kelownadirtbikeclub.com for further information.

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