It’s an understatement to say that Rick Plovie enjoys cycling.
And he’s found a way of taking his passion for the sport to a new level, by fundraising for a cause in which he believes.
For the third year in a row, Plovie is busy training and fundraising for Ride2Survive, a one-day Kelowna to Vancouver cycling challenge that raises money for the Canadian Cancer Society — $2.5 million since the first race 10 years ago.
“I was drawn to R2S for two simple reasons: I enjoy cycling and R2S’s purity of purpose,” he said, while taking a break from his intense training regime. “R2S raises money for cancer research, with all money going directly to the Canadian Cancer Society; there is no administration, overhead or advertising fees for this event — 100 per cent of the funds we raise goes to cancer research.
Like all families, Plovie’s has not been immune to cancer. His grandmother had lung cancer, his uncle colon cancer and his brother a childhood tumour. And his mother is currently in remission from cervical cancer.
Ride2Survive is 140 riders on a 400 km journey with 12,000 feet of climbing, and Plovie’s goal is to raise $5,000. He raised $5,700 his first year and $6,800 last year. All riders pay their own costs to participate, and work tirelessly months before the ride to raise sponsorship.
“Teams of volunteers give generously of their time and their spirit to ensure this ride is successfully supported,” said Plovie, who works in mine maintenance at Teck/Highland Valley Copper in Logan Lake.
He works 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., gets home at 7:30 p.m., hits the gym and trains in the dark. As he works four days on and four days off, it gives him not only time to train, but time with his family.
“I plan my time so I’m effective with the family,” said Plovie, who usually trains at 6 a.m. when he’s home in Vernon and enjoys heading out on group rides with the Vernon Wheelers. “I was a mountain biker for years but always wanted to road bike. People think I’m a nut, but if you want to be the best, you have to train hard.”
And, while training takes up a good deal of his free time, Plovie makes sure he spends plenty of time with his supportive family: wife Samantha and kids Mackenzie and Spencer.
“The devotion and support of the family is crucial,” said Plovie, adding that he also manages to find the time to enjoy his other favourite pastimes, hunting and fishing.
While Plovie is busy training to take part in the June 21 ride, cycling has also become a way of life and he is a passionate advocate for safe cycling.
“Cycling is about safety and health and it drives me nuts to see people out there riding without helmets — you have to be safe on the road,” said Plovie, who averages 6,000 to 7,000 km a year on his bike. “I want to get more people involved in cycling. People here don’t seem to respect or understand cyclists, whereas in Vancouver they’ll slow down, they let you in. Here, I’ve had bottles thrown at me or people trying to cut me off.”
But as he gets ready for Ride2Survive, Plovie blocks out all distractions and looks forward to helping to keep the other cyclists motivated.
“We have people who are cancer survivors join us on the R2S team, we want to support them even if they can’t do the entire 400 kilometres.
“When riding a bike at this level, you have to block out the physical and mental pain. But when you get to the finish line and there are 2,500 people waiting to cheer you on, it’s very emotional.
“Everyone needs a reason to be connected to their community and sometimes we need to stop and say what am I going to do for my community?”
To make a donation towards Plovie’s fundraising goal, go to www.ride2survive.ca and click on donate now and scroll to his name on the R2S team list.
“With months of preparation, sacrifice and training from myself and those around me, I am now ready to take on this challenge. Your generous donation and strong words of encouragement will fuel me as I cycle up and over the two Coquihalla summit peaks, knowing we can make a difference.”