Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Awe of the Wind


Wind

In our vast country we are blessed to experience many different climates, diverse environments and a variety of different weather. We’ve already seen the Pacific coast, mountains, prairies, desert, and the boreal forest of the Canadian Shield. Of all the different things Mother Nature has thrown at us, wind presents the biggest challenge by far.

A little reminder of Mother Nature and her wind here as told by Brad

Must always be ready for Mother Nature!
Whereas a mountain looms high above you, its imposing stature striking fear into your heart, it has a summit. Get to the summit and your legs stop burning and you can bask in your accomplishment on the descent down the hill. Wind, on the other hand, does not give you a preview of what’s to come. There is no summit to strive for, not an indication of gradient to tell how hard the next section will be, just a brutal soul-crushing force working against you, making every pedal stroke a battle. Imagine balancing all your weight on two points of contact no bigger than a few square inches and then trying to get where you’re going and there is an invisible force pushing and pulling you at over 70 km/h. A headwind can make it feel like you’re towing a tractor trailer behind you and crosswinds feel as if an invisible team of strongmen are having a tug of war and you are the flag in the middle of the rope.

As with many physically demanding feats, when battling wind the rider must look within to have the strength to succeed. There are a few techniques that may help get a rider where they need to go while in the grips of a gale:

1.    The Lieutenant Dan: Remember that scene in Forrest Gump when Lieutenant Dan “makes his peace with God?” Yelling and screaming with each torrent thrown their way, Lt. Dan Taylor begs for more, insisting that the storm isn’t that that bad. In riding terms it translates to refusing to shift to a lower gear, gritting your teeth and attacking into the wind as if you’re trying to catch Mother Nature herself to give her a piece of your mind. Swearing and yelling may accompany this technique as well, though passing motorists may alert the authorities that a crazy man is on the loose.
2.    The Little Engine That Could: Let the power of positive thinking wash over you. Click into a gear you can spin in comfortably, don’t let the lack of speed get you down and push play on the imaginary reel of inspirational movie quotes in you head. It may be hard riding and it may take you a while but you set a goal and through positive determination you’re going to make it.
3.    I Doubt I Will But I Might: This technique usually rears its desperate head towards the end of a long ride. You’ve eaten all your bars, your bottles are almost empty, you have no money and you’re feeling so fatigued you’re seeing spots. At this point you’re considering ALL your options to get you to the end of your ride: I could fake a mechanical breakdown, I could knock on a stranger’s door (despite his mean looking dogs), I could rob a convenience store for sustenance, I could call a cab, hop on a bus, call my roommate or friend or even a hated enemy. In the midst of weighing all these options, you’ve fought the wind the entire time and you now find yourself close enough to your destination and you’ve made it, barely.
4.    The Quitter: You’ll never need to know any of these techniques because as soon as you see the wind blowing, you aren’t leaving your house. You will certainly have a great excuse like, “I had a big day yesterday,” or “I won’t be able to train in my appropriate zone in that wind,” but everyone knows you’re too chicken to willingly put yourself into that kind of difficulty.

Anything you can do to get you through the wind is a good thing. Every day you fight the wind should bring you closer to the exhilaration of a tailwind. For all the times you can hate the wind with every ounce of your being, they all seem to fade away when you turn that corner and the wind is at your back. With that glorious blessing at your back, you can fly faster than your legs alone could ever take you. Whether you’re 10 years old or 50 years old, you can’t beat the feeling of pedaling your bike and going fast.

Erik Marsh (Co-Pilot) 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

From the Ferry and More

Team Marsh recently entered Brad's home province of Ontario and as he heads toward his hometown of London Ontario, also the home of the London Knights Junior Hockey Club where Brad played out his junior career, Brad shares an update from the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry to Tobermory here 




Brad Marsh as a London Knight
Brad made a stop in Durham, Ontario, hometown of best friend Dean Hopkins. Brad and Dean played junior hockey together with the London Knights and have remained best buddies. Dean's mom hosted Team Marsh for the night! Shouting out a big thank you for the great hospitality! Watch here

Team Marsh

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sault Ste. Marie and the Power of Lake Superior


'Friends' along the way!

We had initially pegged this section of our tour as 1500 km of boredom and we couldn’t have been more wrong. This rugged part of the Canadian Shield has been difficult and challenging but above all, beautiful. Our ride yesterday took us through the scenic Lake Superior Provincial Park and up and down a lot of rugged climbs. As we rolled into town with my legs burning from all the climbing, my thoughts turned to our days in the Rockies. Were those days this hard? Have we climbed like this before?

As soon as we got in I checked my trusty Strava cycling app and learned that in 135km I had climbed over 1 200 meters. After some clicking around I discovered that’s not far off the amount of climbing Pat and Dad had covered from Revelstoke to Golden in BC over the infamous Rogers Pass. I was surprised yet it did seem appropriate. Rogers Pass was the final and most difficult section of the Trans Continental Railway to be completed and the ground we just covered near Lake Superior was the final and most difficult section of the Trans Canada Highway to be finished. Crews had such trouble forging the way through the dense forest and rock that the final stretch of highway wasn’t even paved until 1967. For all its hardships however, cyclists are rewarded with breathtaking views of Lake Superior and the various coves and bays along the shoreline.

The storied Lake Superior is massive. The world’s largest lake by surface area, biggest of the Great Lakes, it stretches on beyond the horizon as if you’re looking across the ocean. I passed the Chippewa River and for the rest of the day I had Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” in my head. While I tucked into the breathtaking descents that seemed to go right into the lake before turning at the waters edge I kept hearing the line, “Superior, its said, never gives up her dead.” Needless to say, I took extra care to keep my tires on the road and the bike upright at those spots. I learned later that the reason they say the lake “never gives up her dead” is because the natural water temperature is so cold that a body in the water sinks as opposed to eventually floating as would happen in most other bodies of water.
New friends Matt & Berny are biking & camping. Check them out at
 www.berny-matt-velocanada.blogspot.ca

The big lake they call Gitchee Gumee has served as an incredible backdrop to our riding in Northern Ontario. As we’ve travelled west and south on Highway 17, one look to the right over the blue water glistening in the sun or lush forest growing atop the rugged rock faces is a great reminder of the natural beauty of our country. It can be enough to put that little extra into your legs to get you over the rolling hills or that little push you need to throw it into a bigger gear to race around the corner to see what vista might be there to greet you. Northern Ontario has truly been a highlight of our trip so far and I won’t soon forget the unbelievable rides we’ve had in this great part of our country. 



Erik (Team Marsh Co-pilot) 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Phase 2 Ride Update & Phase 3 Intro from Brad!

Brad @ The Terry Fox Monument!
Team Marsh has finished Phase 2 of the Brad Marsh 90 Day Challenge to Bike Across Canada in Support of the Boys and Girls Clubs.
Now entering Phase 3 and Brad's home province of Ontario!


Listen to an update from Brad Listen Here

Friday, May 18, 2012

My Hardest First Week of Training Yet by Patrick Marsh


Son Patrick with Brad!
When my pops first mentioned to me that he planned to ride his bike across the country in support of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada I must admit, I thought he was joking. But after many subsequent emails and phone calls I knew it was something he was dead set on doing. Having ridden with him many times over the past few years I was a little worried how he’d make out. After many nights attempting to plan the logistics of the ride and hearing him say many times “the ride is actually going to be the easiest part” I was very concerned that he may have been underestimating how hard the ride was going to be, particularly the high mountain passes. Even though over the last number of months my dad had been transforming so much of himself into the best condition since his playing years, he was still no Andy Schleck. Furthering to my worry, I’ve seen my old man ride steep roads in the past, particularly at last years Penticton Gran Fondo. I witnessed his unique climbing style: a combination of foul language, pedaling squares, nearly bonking, and zigzagging across the road. Fast forward to April 29th of this year and I was truly set up for some serious surprises.

Due to training and work commitments I was (and am) unable to join my pops for extended periods of time to ride with him. However, I managed to time my first week back at training in my 2012-2013 speed skating season with a week off of work. I was planning on riding with my dad through some of the hardest high mountain passes on his journey. Meeting him in Revelstoke, BC on the 29th of April my brother and I joked that ‘the super-domestique’ had arrived to ferry my dad across the mountains. To be honest, I was expecting just that. I was expecting to be dragging my old man up and down mountains while never putting myself in too much physical strain.

Patrick & Brad bonding on the bikes!
However, starting my first ride of the training season on April 30th we set off to climb Roger’s Pass. Besides riding in snow and rain the ride was actually quite enjoyable. I’ve said it many times, but riding your bike is truly one of the greatest ways to see the country and despite freezing rain and snow, we were actually making great time. Every time I seemed to push the pace, Dad followed no problem. Then around 50k into ride and after many waves and honks from the national speed skating team en route to a training camp in Penticton, BC, we set up the final kick to the top of Roger’s Pass. Two things stood out to me. First, climbing Roger’s Pass on your first day of training is hard. Really hard. Second, my old man was not showcasing the unique (and hilarious) climbing style I had witnessed the previous summer. He got into his own rhythm, focused on staying in that rhythm and began to make his own way up the final kick. Once we got to the top I had truly noticed the biggest change in my old man. Waiting for a hilarious and likely politically incorrect statement about how hard the climb had been he rolled into the parking, unclipped and said, “That was sweet!”

Surprised, hungry and cold, I joined him and my brother for some lunch at the top of Roger’s Pass before finishing our ride to Golden, BC. Over the next few days, we would be climbing several other mountains, getting rained and snowed on much, much more, battling some of the worst head/cross wings I’ve experienced and being spoiled with one of my most memorable moments on a bicycle yet: a police escort through Calgary. One thing never did happen in my days with my old man though. Never did I once get the sensation that I was ‘dragging him through the mountains.’ Every time I felt as if I was pushing the pace, he’d surprise me again by taking the lead and pulling for a while himself.

Once arriving in Calgary and getting the chance to meet everyone at the Boys and Girls club I saw first hand the absolute best part of this entire journey: little kids running circles around my dad.

Pat Marsh (Team Marsh Member and son)




Thursday, May 17, 2012

Brandon & Bison & More, Oh My!




Young fans surround Brad for an autograph & some road hockey!
There are always parts in a journey that stand out more than others. Some places make their mark on you and some people make a lasting impression on you that you know you won’t soon forget. Even though the trip isn’t even halfway done and by no means do I mean any discredit to the places we’ve been and the people we’ve met before but our time in Brandon has been truly special.

We arrived in Brandon coming off one of our stronger riding days yet. Team Marsh rode 360km in 9 hours and 45 minutes, Dad riding 280km and me riding 80km. We rode hard and enjoyed our reward, a cold beer and some great food at Joe Beeverz in Brandon.
           
It's a bison's life.
The next day we headed over to our hosts house. P.J. and Sheila Crane are friends of ours through Visalus and they kindly offered to take us in to their home while we were in Brandon. That night we had plans to meet up with more Visalus friends of ours at their bison ranch just outside the city. I’ll admit I was expecting a great bison BBQ and a fantastic home cooked meal but I was completely overwhelmed with the hospitality our friends showed us. With a handful of families assembled at the ranch, Trev, the owner, loaded us all up onto a trailer behind a tractor and set out to show us the lay of the land. His son Bailey, an aspiring bull rider, drove us out and opened the gate leading onto the range where the bison were kept. Bison are not small animals. Some reach a hulking 2500lbs or more and there were over 100 in the section we were headed into. Needless to say driving into the middle of the herd was not what I had in mind when I found out we were going to a bison ranch. We came remarkably close to the huge beasts and while Trev explained what a day in the life of a rancher was like we all snapped photos of the bison. The dog bravely played with one of the bison, seemingly fearless facing the huge head and horns of the much bigger animal.

New momma Sammy with brand new calf!
One of the most interesting stories Trev told was of Sammy, their “pet” bison. Sammy was abandoned as a calf (when bison have twins they choose one and abandon the other) and Trev and his family took the young bison in and bottle fed her and cared for her until she was old enough to join the herd. Due to her upbringing, Sammy was unusually friendly around people to the point that you could stand with her and pet her. Later in the evening, we went back out for a photo op with Sammy the friendly bison to be surprised that Sammy, who was pregnant, was about to give birth to her first calf. As she calved we were there to watch the miracle of life right then and there. Trev, who had grown up on the bison ranch had only seen such a thing a handful of times in his life and never this close. It was such a special moment to see the newborn calf take her first wobbly steps into the world. It certainly was pretty fitting for Mother’s Day.

Picture perfect with some of our ViSalus family!
The next night Sheila made us a great dinner before we headed to our friend Dale’s studio for a challenge party. We met with some more friends of ours and many were kind enough to offer donations for our cause. Being in a photography studio, a simple group photo was upgraded into a full on photo shoot thanks to Dale, the owner of the studio. After a nice relaxing day we headed back to the Crane’s house for a good nights rest.

Brad speaking with students at Kirk Caldy School
The following morning P.J., Chad and Kyle took me out golfing at one of the premiere courses in Manitoba. While I was having a good walk spoiled (hardly spoiled, the course was beautiful and I hit the ball pretty well!) Dad went to the local elementary school to talk to the kids. There isn’t a Boys and Girls Club in Brandon but its great we could still reach out to the local kids and Dad could share some stories. He told the kids all about the importance of working hard, doing your best and having fun. The kids surprised dad by having a hockey jersey day, where all the kids wore their favorite hockey jerseys to school. For our final night in Brandon our friends arranged a fundraiser for us at Joe Beeverz. We all came by and had some great food and great laughs. We had such a great night and the outpouring of donations was genuinely overwhelming.

Our friends in Brandon had taken us in, shown us around town, taken us to their ranch, fed us, entertained us and supported us, and they also donated very generously to our ride. It goes a long way when you’re travelling when someone makes you feel at home and from the bottom of my heart Brandon sincerely feels like home. In a city that was so devastated less than a year ago by extreme flooding, its easy to see how they’ve bounced back so quick with such amazing people so eager to help in any way they can for a good cause. Thanks so much to everyone in Brandon, and a special thanks to the Crane family, we won’t soon forget our time here and your amazing generosity.

P.S. Happy 22nd Birthday Tory Marsh!

Erik (Team Marsh Co Pilot)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Everywhere Else In Between


Canadians are known around the world for being friendly and accommodating and the last few days we’ve seen where that reputation was born.

Brad with Kelly from United Cycle &
Stanley Cup replica that lives outside the shop
We left the outskirts of Edmonton with the intention of riding hard to get to North Battleford Saskatchewan but a strong headwind changed our plans for us. We ended up in a town called Maidstone. The small town has only about 1000 residents and as we rolled into the only hotel/bar in town, the Flyers game was on and before long we had a few locals chiming in on their thoughts on the series.

Words of encouragement from former NHL'er and Sens Alumni Shaun Van Allen here 

Leaving the outskirts of Edmonton we knew we had the prairies in front of us with not much else but livestock and the odd small town to break the monotony of the long road and open fields that lay ahead. Highway 16 between Edmonton and the Battlefords is a far cry from the familiar 401 with its rest stops spaced every hundred kilometers or so and millions of people living within spitting distance of the road. Our intention was to ride hard over the flat terrain and make it to North Battleford for the night.

As we set out on the road however, a hard cross wind and head wind changed our plans for us. Dad was battling hard through the wind a few hours in when I tried to find a place for us to go to the bathroom and grab a sandwich. I rolled into Mannsville and after a few circles around the tiny town I was cursing and frustrated, as there seemed to be nothing around. Finally I walked into the grocery store. The woman at the cash noticed the RV I just parked and asked where I was headed. I filled her in on what we were doing and without batting an eyelash she asked, “Well can I give you twenty bucks for your cause?” I gladly accepted and walked out thinking maybe these tiny towns aren’t so bad.

Erik reaches Manitoba!
As the grueling day went on ad nothing seemed to go right (i.e. missing dad on the road and rode for an additional 30km needlessly), the unrelenting wind did not sympathize with our struggles. We rallied in Lloydminster (an interesting town that straddles the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan, also where Scott Hartnell is from –“Go Flyers”) and decided to ride to Maidstone, SK, catch the end of the Flyers game and tuck in for the night as that seemed to be the only town with a hotel from there to the Battlefords.

All things Saskatchewan! 
Another 60km and one flat tire later, we arrived in Maidstone and were somewhat skeptical of what the night would hold for us. The bar downstairs doubled as the front desk for the hotel and the sign on the front door said, “Please remove all muddy and oily boots” and the “curtain” in our room was a Saskatchewan Rough Riders flag with a Pilsner beer logo on the other side. We dropped our stuff and decided to grab a bite to eat downstairs. Though we were a little apprehensive at first, small town courtesy surprised us again. Everyone in the bar was friendly, the food was awesome (I never thought I’d have amazing Spicy Korean BBQ Pork in the prairies!) and aside from the outcome of the Flyers game, our night was actually really awesome.

Brad & Erik visit the North Battleford BGC
Maidstone to North Battleford was a quick day with a more favorable wind. The Boys and Girls Club gave us a warm reception and we had a great road hockey game in the warm afternoon sun. The clubhouse was an old building built in the 1900’s. They have plans for a new clubhouse built on the same site but they need to raise a lot of money in the next few months in order to break ground on the new structure. I can’t stress enough how important this is to the kids and how much of an impact this club makes on the community in North Battleford. This is a perfect example of why we’re doing what we’re doing. Please donate to the North Battleford club or the club in your community as every club, whether they are building a new clubhouse or not is in desperate need of more resources to continue to make an impact on the lives of kids across Canada.

Brad takes the stage at a Saskatoon
Challenge Party!
From North Battleford we headed to Saskatoon for a busy day with an interview for CTV, a visit to the Saskatoon BGC and a Challenge Party at night. The Saskatoon BGC is in a pretty rough party of town but the kids were just fantastic. It really goes to show that when given the opportunity, kids can really set themselves on a great path for the future. In the evening it was unbelievable to see so much support from the Visalus community as we shared our challenge with them. Company leader, Jason O’Toole, truly went above and beyond and personally donated $5000 to our ride.

Regina was the next stop on our Prairie tour. We visited our fourth BGC in as many days and the kids really had us running! In the evening I met up with an old friend from university and told him all about our ride and we caught up over a few beers. It was nice seeing a familiar face in a place I’ve never been before. From Regina we had a long ride out of town across a border and another time zone for our longest ride yet.

The Prairies so far have shown us that even though the terrain is flat, the days can still be harder than the mountains. We’ve learned that no matter how small or rough around the edges a town may be, the people are genuine and friendly, eager to make you feel at home and lend a hand. We’ve seen a side of Canada often skipped by the rest of the country on their way to the mountains out west or the big cities in Ontario. People may not think much of Saskatchewan and their crazy Rough Rider fans but we’ve truly enjoyed this part of our journey and I won’t hesitate to come out to the Prairies in the future.

Erik (Team Marsh Co-Pilot)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pedal to the Medal for the Boys & Girls Club

Team Marsh View of the Open Road.
When you left for work today, we were riding.

When you went on your coffee break, we were riding.

When you went for lunch, we were riding.
When you sat in traffic coming home from work, we were riding.

When you were doing the dishes after dinner, we were riding. 

360km and 9 hours 45mins by Team Marsh today Regina, SK to Brandon, MB.



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Why I Hate Edmonton

Brad Marsh with Flyers Alumni
Some feuds are hereditary. Look around at many of the conflicts around the world today; they go back decades or even centuries. The sentiments are passed down so much that each new generation can feel the exact same as their ancestors, even if the initial conflict was far removed from their own lifespan. This is the case with me and Edmonton.
           
Growing up in the early nineties, when I was in my hockey-card-collecting prime, there were a few players coveted most by Canadian kids. Eric Lindros was just starting his career and his reign as the Captain of the “Legion of Doom” line. Mario Lemieux was coming off winning back-to-back Stanley Cups and despite injury problems, putting up insane points per game. Toronto fans worshipped Wendel Clark and Doug Gilmour and every goalie had a replica of Martin Brodeur’s mask. Of all those players, however, there was still one player who was everyone’s undisputed favorite, Wayne Gretzky. Like any little boy, my list of favorite hockey players would probably look pretty similar. I vaguely knew my Dad played against all of these guys but I never considered he might have a personal opinion of any of them. As I started to grow older and talk about hockey with my Dad, it became apparent things were different any time Gretzky or the mighty Oilers of the eighties came up.

Watch and listen to Brad reminisce about playing against Wayne Gretzky (now Rexall Place) here.

Dad played on a young but talented Flyers team from 1982-1988. They had gritty scorers like Tim Kerr, future Hall of Fame defenseman Mark Howe, and great goal tending from the late Pelle Lindbergh and after that, Ron Hextall. They were talented, tough and in the mid-eighties they were a force to be reckoned with. In 1985, the young Flyers battled their way to the Stanley Cup finals against the reigning champions, the Edmonton Oilers. The Oilers were a dynasty in the making, Gretzky, Kurri, Anderson, Messier, Coffey, and Grant Fuhr all would eventually end up in the Hall of Fame. The Flyers lost the series in 5 games.

In 1987, the two teams met once again in the finals. Both teams had essentially the same rosters, the only major difference being the rookie Ron Hextall, in nets for the Flyers. The Flyers had a long road to the finals playing 26 of a possible 28 games and injuries to key players were taking its toll. The Flyers battled their way to game 7 in Edmonton. Each game had been tight and going into game 7 it was anybody’s series to win. Despite another hard effort and an incredible game by Ron Hextall, the Flyers couldn’t finish off the Oilers dynasty. Though they had come so close to hockey’s Holy Grail, they left Edmonton empty handed. Dad lost two Stanley Cups at the hands of the Oilers and after that he never had another shot at the Cup.


Watch and listen here to Brad share memories of Game 5 in 1985 and the fight with Don Jackson which saw all of Don's equipment end up in the stands and Brad's mom hearing some choice 'words' come out of her son's mouth (watch that here) as well as a chat about his second visit to the Stanley Cup final in 1987.

The more I learned about the Stanley Cup, the dynasties and the history; the more I learned about winning and losing, the more I came to realize what that must have meant. Millions of kids around the world play hockey on the street or on the outdoor rink dreaming of playing in the NHL and winning the Stanley Cup. Twice my Dad was actually playing for the prize, and twice came up just short of fulfilling that childhood dream so many of us have. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Marshys Weather Network & Map Update Powered By Vi

Could Brad have another career in front of the camera???


You decide! Watch here and leave a comment letting Brad know what you think of his presentation and what you think his closing statement should be should he get a regular t.v. gig!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Between Calgary & Edmonton or A Rock & A Hard Place

Former Flames Captain Brad 'Marshy' Marsh

Phase one of our trip is over. We worked hard to get through the mountains, the snow and the rain. We had a great time at the Boys and Girls Club and we got ourselves off to a great start with our goal of raising money and awareness for the Boys and Girls Club. Now we start phase two and it’s just Dad and I and the prairies ahead of us. We upgraded our support van to an RV (believe it or not its cheaper than another rental car) and now we’re faced with the challenge of conquering the most monotonous part of our beautiful country.


           
Not your average size 'bike riders' Brad & Erik
After an amazing reception in Calgary and an enjoyable day off with Pat and his fiancĂ©, Annie, we re-evaluated our plan of attack. Dad is holding up pretty good but his Achilles tendon is inflamed and his foot is swollen up like a football. We’ve been asked by Trek, our bike sponsor, and the Edmonton Boys and Girls Club to swing through Edmonton on our tour. Considering its out of the way and keeping in mind Dad’s injury, we opted to drive up to Edmonton and give the tendon an extra day to heal before we continue from there. We’re looking forward t making an appearance at United Cycle in Edmonton, which should be lots of fun. It’s a bit funny that we’ll be making an appearance on behalf of Trek, and any avid cycling fan would see why. The average pro cyclist, the kind of guy they’d normally have making these appearances, is about 5’8” and 140lbs. Dad and I are both over 6’3” and tip the scales at 230lbs and 220lbs respectively. In the context of a pro peloton we’d not only be slow but also gigantic. I often wonder what it’d be like to meet Lance Armstrong. He’s a man so huge in stature yet he’s only 5’9” and 153lbs.

We’re looking forward to starting Phase two of our trip but there are definitely some mixed feelings about our starting point of Edmonton. In short, we hate Edmonton but that’s another story for another time…

Erik

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Calgary Welcome and Then Some!

Click here to see what a great WELCOME is!
Brad enters Calgary!

The ride into Calgary started out with a hard fight. A rare wind from the east negated the mostly downhill route and it was all Pat and I could do to turn the pedals. We traded off the lead to try and share the workload and despite the tough headwind we were actually making decent time. We had a deadline to meet some friends of ours at Calaway Park just outside the Calgary city limits so we had to keep up the pace. As if the day wasn’t hard enough, 30 km away from our meeting point, I broke a spoke on my wheel. We tried calling Erik in the support car but he had already parked it and got on his bike to meet us on the road. Pat assessed the situation and decided that if he swapped wheels with me he might be able to ride it into town and we’d both get there on time. Erik met up with us about 15 km from Calaway Park and with a set of fresh legs in the mix we powered on into the unrelenting wind.

Riding into Calaway Park was truly special. About 30 people, Flames Alumni and friends from Talisman Energy, cheered us on as we rolled into the parking lot. Our tough efforts riding into the wind were immediately rewarded with a tremendous display of support. Best yet, all of our friends at the park were there to join us for the last 25 km into town and to keep everyone safe, the Calgary Police Department established an escort for us. We had an entire lane of Highway 1 and every intersection along the way blocked off for us to ride through smoothly. It was unbelievable having such great company and having a chance to catch up with some of my buddies I played with in the NHL and having the police go through all that effort for us is something I’ll never forget.

Brad is presented with a $10,000 cheque from the Calgary Flames Alumni & Foundation
Just when I didn’t think the day could get much better, we turned a corner and the Boys and Girls Club was in sight. Dozens of screaming and cheering kids held up a banner for me to ride through on my arrival. People were there from the local media and after a few quick interviews, we went inside to the gym. The kids lined up along side the doorway and gave high fives and cheered as we all came inside. I can’t say enough about how overwhelming our entrance was. It was truly special to see all the support the people in Calgary have for this cause. As if all this wasn’t enough, the Calgary Flames Alumni and the Calgary Flames Foundation donated $5000 dollars each and Talisman energy donated $2500 and lots of sports equipment.

Calgary BGC, Talisman Employees
& Flames Alumni
It was truly a most memorable event and I’m so thankful to everyone who made such a special day possible. We raised $12 500, a whole lot of equipment for the club, and we sure turned a lots of heads rolling into town with our police escort. With every visit to a Boys and Girls Club I’m reminded of why we’re doing what we’re doing. After our visit today I really can’t say enough for how important the Boys and Girls Club is in every community they operate. I urge everyone to donate and get involved with the club in your area and help make an impact of a child’s life.

Brad

Friday, May 4, 2012

Calgary Welcome!

Calgary Sun -  Former Flame Brad Marsh pedals hope for kid. Article here
Calgary Flames and Talisman representatives join kids
at the BGC in northeast Calgary for a group photo
and cheque presentation
Photo by Calgary Sun
















Calgary Herald - Beloved former Flames captain 'Marshy' rides for Boys and Girls Clubs. Article here
Former Calgary Flames captain Brad Marsh arrives at the
Calgary Boys and Girls Clubs Thursday as part of his cross-
country fundraising bicycle journey

Photo by Ted Rhodes, Calgary Herald

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why Donate to the Boys and Girls Club


Brad Marsh with BGC Renfrew Calgary Club kids receives donations
from Flames Foundation, Alumni & Talisman Energ
y

It’s not always easy being a kid. Add to that the growing list of negative influences kids face today and one might even say they have the odds stacked against them. Luckily for everyone kids are flexible and resilient. A lot of times all kids need is the chance to succeed and grow their confidence in themselves. Give a child the opportunity to play in a positive environment and watch their confidence grow.

During a floor hockey game at the Kimount Boys and Girls Club in Vancouver a boy, no older than 11, tells Canuck’s Alumni Bon Murray and I between shifts, “You and Bob play forward, I have a better shot than you so pass the puck back to me and I’ll score from the point.” Bob and I were both taken aback. I can’t speak for Bob but I was taken aback with the confidence this kid had. Would he have this confidence in himself had it not been for the floor hockey league at the Boys and Girls Club? I somehow doubt it.

The kind of confidence kids gain by playing and growing in such a positive atmosphere shapes them into their adult lives. This confidence is the key to developing the attitude that they can conquer any challenge whether it is in school, interacting with their peers or later, in their careers. I love seeing the smallest kid running to the center of the floor for the puck drop instead of waiting on the sidelines. I love seeing the girls participating and more than holding their own against the boys. I love being in an atmosphere without any putdowns or negativity.

The Boys and Girls Club needs your help to provide thousands of kids with the opportunity to live up to their potential. Donations of any size can make a big difference in a kid’s life. It might be sending a kid to camp or it might be providing a meal for a boy or girl who hasn’t had anything to eat all day. It could be sports equipment or academic resources, whatever the end result, it starts with your donations. All it took for me was a few minutes with the kids to see why our ride is necessary and more importantly why you need to donate to your local Boys and Girls Club. It may not be much to you but it can mean the world to a kid in your community. 



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