When Pemberton-based Jack Hurtubise tackled the Ride to Conquer Cancer last year, he was still going through treatment for brain cancer. Poor weather prevented him from riding the last 50 kilometres of the fundraising ride, but he signed up for this year's event just moments after crossing the finish line in a support vehicle. This June 18 and 19, the former Whistler Blackcomb ski patroller tackled the Vancouver to Seattle distance again, this time finishing in around 13.5 hours and averaging 20.7 kilometers per hour.
"I was diagnosed with brain cancer in September 2008," he said. "While I was going through treatment I was still feeling pretty strong and I mentioned to my doctor that I wanted to participate in this ride and he had a couple of other brain cancer patients as well who had formed a team of riders and supporters and caretakers to participate in this - they called themselves the Brainiacs - they all had survived terminal brain cancer diagnoses."
Hurtubise joined the Brainiacs and started training and fundraising. Riders must meet a minimum requirement of $2,500 to participate, with all funds raised going to cancer research. In 2010, Hurtubise raised $11,000. This year he raised $3,500. He credits his girlfriend, Jennifer Randall, for helping him organize his efforts. Overall the ride raised $11.1 million this year.
Despite the endless kilometres of highway terrain in the Sea to Sky Corridor, training wasn't always easy for Hurtubise.
"I did the Pemberton to Whistler and back ride, and it's a great ride but the road is not great," he said. "Where there is a shoulder it's all gravelly and cracked and awful and it's all locals who drive that section of the road so they drive it pretty fast because they know it."
Despite the challenge, Hurtubise was happy with his personal results in this year's ride.
Hurtubise was diagnosed with brain cancer after a golf ball-sized tumour caused a blackout while driving in 2008. The ensuing car accident led doctors to diagnose the problem, resulting in three months of aggressive radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
"I had the good fortune of, despite living in a town of 25-year-old pro athletes, I'm not old - I was diagnosed when I was 39 and for treatments I was able to walk to and from the hospital every week and I was going to the gym every week," he said with a laugh.
Hurtubise has been in remission since last December 8.