On Saturday, July 20th at 1.30pm, I was hurtling down a single track trail, on my mountain bike, at the Canmore Nordic Centre in Alberta. I was holding on for dear life and getting rattled around like a bag of bolts. This was the first lap of two that I would complete during the 24 hours of Adrenalin.
This event started 20 years ago and attracted 100 competitors. In 2012 it attracted 1,650 participants and over 5,000 spectators. The event has a number of categories including 5 person team, 10 person teams and solos. I had first heard about it back in May when I had met the organizers, Stuart Dorland and Maria Deotto, at the Calgary Marathon Expo. Stuart had learnt about Right To Play from Robert Witchel, Canadian National Director and wanted to do something for the charity. I told him I would be happy to run the booth but I wouldn't ride as I wasn't much of a mountain biker.
That changed a month later. The TransRockies Quest 888 includes several mountain bike events and I realized I needed some training. As fate would have it, I spotted a request on Facebook looking for a team member for Team Chamois Royale with Cheese. I put my name forward and Captain Kevin picked me even though I told him I wasn't very good. Luckily we had an Olympic gold medalist on the team. Duff Gibson was a Canadian Skeleton racer who won gold in 2006 at the Turin Winter Games.
Early Saturday I set up the Right To Play booth. During the morning I was joined by the Zamzow family and Shawn Strachan with Team Right To Play. At 11.00am Kristina Groves arrived to lend a hand. Kristina is a four time Canadian Olympic speed skating medalist and is a RTP Athlete Ambassador. As noon approached the excitement started to ramp up. Kristina and I were asked to hold the tape at the start line. Then the count down began 5..4..3..2..1.. and they were off. The event uses a lemans type start and 160 bikers dashed 400m up and over a hill, back to the start and on their bikes. It was madness.
I was second up for the team and was happy to finish in 1 hour 48 minutes after getting pounded by roots and rocks. However, the highlight of the two day event came on Saturday afternoon. This was the "24 minutes of Adrenalin" for kids 12 and under. All through Saturday parents had signed their children up and gave a donation to Right To Play. At 5.00pm we had 120 children, split up into five age groups, ready to tackle the tight circuit. The first up were the 4 and under. The starter dropped the tape and they hurtled off like a herd of turtles. Parents and friends were lined up both sides of the loop and were cheering and shouting for the kids. The scene resembled a cross between the running of the bulls and the Tour de France.
I did my second lap on Sunday, slower than the first and with a few more cuts and bruises. The last riders went out at noon and the event wound up at 1.00pm. Our team completed 18 laps, the top team completed 25 laps and the top solo rider finished 18 laps.
The 24 minutes of Adrenalin raised $1,200 and Stuart and Maria matched that figure to bring it up to $2,400. On top of that, Right To Play Partners matched every $1 raised with $3 more. So in total the little kid's race raised $9,600 and helped 192 children with a Right To Play program for one year. Now that truly is "Kids helping Kids".