At this time last year, Burns Lake resident Linda Saugstad was walking with two canes while she recovered from a hip replacement surgery.
The 67-year-old is now preparing for a 250-km ride from Vancouver to Seattle to raise money for cancer research.
Saugstad has been practicing every day at 5:30 a.m., right before she goes to work at A&W, where she works full time as a manager. Just last week, she rode her bike from Burns Lake to Fraser Lake, and the week before she went from Burns Lake to Houston.
The reason she will be doing the ride to conquer cancer is because she’s been personally touched by cancer. She not only had cancer herself at the age of 32, but she’s also lost her husband to cancer in 2010.
“I know how hard radiation and chemotherapy can be,” she said. “Although I’ve done things to support cancer research, I’ve never really given back; it was time for me to do something.”
Saugstad will be joined by A&W staff from across B.C. during the two-day ride that takes place on Aug. 27-28. Her goal is to raise $2500, which will support leading clinicians, scientists and researchers in the search for new discoveries and improved patient outcomes.
She said the fact that she’s still able to ride long distances after a hip replacement surgery is a “miracle.” However, her lifestyle shows that her determination and stamina have had a lot to do with it.
Saugstad started biking long distances when she was 50 years old. After the first few rides, she said she was “hooked.”
Since then, she’s been on a solo ride from Burns Lake to San Francisco, she’s ridden from Burns Lake to Prince Rupert, and she’s done the Burns Lake to Vancouver route numerous times.
“I’ve ridden every possible route to Vancouver,” she said.
When asked about the things she’s learned while riding solo, she said the most important thing she learned was about the meaning of safety.
“Safety is not about locks and doors, safety is about intuition, knowing your surroundings and paying attention,” she said. “If you lock your doors and you’re oblivious to the noise outside or what is going on around you, you are no safer than if the door was unlocked.”
Since 2009, the ride to conquer cancer, presented by Silver Wheaton, has raised $70 million for the B.C. Cancer Foundation and is B.C.’s largest cycling fundraiser.
People can make a donation in her name by visiting www.conquercancer.ca. Her participant ID is 301370-6. If anyone is unable to donate online, they can contact Saugstad directly at 250-692-0334.