Avanade cycles to conquer cancer

  • Posted on September 22, 2015

This is a guest blog post written by Avanade alum, Ashley Knowles.

As part of Avanade’s commitment to community awareness, my fellow colleagues and I recently participated in the 2015 Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer, a 200 kilometre cycling event held over two days, with proceeds supporting QIMR Berghofer, a leading cancer research institute in Australia.

I always loved cycling. Especially as a child, but as an adult, it became more of a distant memory. After a number of years consulting interstate, it was time to get fit again, and cycling seemed to fit in with my priorities. I began riding to work, taking a brief hiatus over the sweltering Brisbane summer weather, and I renewed my efforts when I heard about The Ride to Conquer Cancer. Initially, I struggled to get out of bed every morning to ride to work, but it became more of a routine, and I have noticed an improvement in my athletic ability, as well as my productivity – getting up nice and early and getting in to work before the crowd is rewarding. Not to mention, it’s faster than our public transport!

Luckily, I’ve been quite fortunate with my own health, and the health of my friends and family, and but being involved in this ride was very important to me. I support the cause because some day it could be me, or someone in my family – the Australian Cancer Council has projected 126,800 new cancer cases being diagnosed in Australia for 2015 – that’s a little more than 1 in 200 people being diagnosed! The biggest challenge I faced was simply finding the motivation to start training, not having ridden more than 50 kilometres in one stint until a month before the event – mentally, seemed like an impossible feat!

The first day of Ride to Conquer Cancer was quite amazing – we started our ride at The University of Queensland, at St Lucia in Brisbane, and riding through quiet backstreets and then some not so quiet main roads, to our destination at Canungra, behind the Gold Coast hinterlands. Along the way, we stopped at our pit stops to refuel, with plenty of supportive volunteers along the way cheering us on and making sure we were kept safe. The first day was challenging mentally, not knowing how far we had to go – the end was surely just over that hill, right? No! We had to keep pushing, and eventually we made it to our camp and we were entertained and inspired by stories from cancer patients and survivors, and QIMR Berghofer’s CEO Professor Frank Gannon.

The second day started with a renewed sense of confidence that I could complete another 100km, having slept well and not feeling too sore. I personally rode my fastest 40km that morning, which may have been a little too ambitious and short-sighted – the rest of the second day was the hardest thing I’ve ever done – mentally and physically it pushed me to my limits!

Unfortunately, QIMR Berghofer announced to us that this would be the last Ride to Conquer Cancer that they would be involved with in Brisbane, so it is uncertain whether I will get the chance to participate in this event again!

In the meantime, I am participating in Avanade’s Australian Red Cross Red25 effort, another first for me, donating blood. Did you know you can save three lives with each donation?


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