Martha Macdonnell







Cochrane, Alberta


Family doctor

What is your bike's name?: 

-- needs one I guess!!

What is your level of experience with cycling?: 


How many years have you done the peloton ride?: 


Why are you riding in the peloton?: 

It feels great to be supporting and raising awareness for cancer survivorship. The Peloton ride is a huge physical challenge, but nothing compared to living with or dying from cancer. I've been impressed over and over by how Wellspring and the Dempsey Center have given cancer survivors their "lives back" with programs about looking forward. I have had many friends, patients and family members affected by cancer and feel it is the least I can do. The first year, a young friend of mine (21) died of cancer while hoping to be a warrior, and since then he, Owen, has been my shining light.

What are your top 5 inspirational songs you listen to while riding?: 

I don't ride with music other than what gets into my head from time to time. On long climbs for some reason an old song by Paul Simon released in the sixties by a group called Cyrkle ( who knew?!) often comes up "I Think it's going to be all right, Yes the worst is over now. The morning sun is shining like a red rubber ball."-- seems appropriate both for tough rides and beating cancer!!

Who are you riding for?: 

I am riding for Owen, who died in 2009 just before the ride to San Jose -- he was to be a warrior. And for my cousin, Patrick, who died this past April. He was to be my warrior. Father of 8 kids now on their own. But also for all the survivors -- many riding with us and showing such amazing strength and spirit!

What do you hope to get out of the experience this year?: 

Getting to know another awesome group of riders and volunteers. I have some self reflection to do, and the ride gives lots of time for that, especially at night. I look forward to laughing, and perhaps crying, a lot. And I expect the Dempsey Challenge weekend to be an amazing display of strength, heart and the power of survivorship.

What are you looking forward to most?: 

Getting to know and live with my group for 9 days -- sleep, eating, thoughts, energy get all messed up and it is really an amazing exercise in team work, reflection on individual strengths and heartaches and giving back/paying it forward. Teams have not yet been finalized, so it's still a mystery. For sure, I'll be the old mother on my team! It's also really fun on the ride thanks to the energy of the amazing volunteers driving 12 hrs at 20k an hour with us!

What is your biggest fear for this journey?: 

Bad weather! And getting a flat -- means getting alone into the back of a hot dark ambulance (while the group keeps riding) to change a tire by myself -- not my forte as I'm used to relying on Mike Newson, who'll be busy with his own commitment as a motor home driver -- his 6th year with Cancervive -- 3 as a driver, 3 rides, many years as a mentor to new riders...

How have you been affected by cancer?: 

I have watched friends and patients struggle and live or die. I have watched more than one mother's heart break holding a dying child. I have seen people do everything right and still be nailed by it. It's like a tornado that tears apart lives with no warning, and I know that I will have more chances to have it affect close friends or family, and I dread that!

If cancer walked into the room, what would you say to it?: 

Get lost! I've got a life to live and kids to see landed on their feet and I don't have time for you!

What makes you pedal harder—(when the riding gets tough, what do you think about)?: 

Just getting through it. If I'm running out of energy I think of the cancer survivors and how lucky I am to be healthy and on a bike!! Also say "dig" in my head, as in dig deeper to that stronger place. Also remember coaching from spin instructor "relax those shoulders, relax those toes"...



Martha, read your page, you are totally inspirational. Have a great day, I'll be looking at your progress and cheering for you from Nice! Big hug, Ruthie


You did it!!! What a great accomplishment. You've filled my heart and spirit. Big hugs to you. Sue

Tell Your Friends!