Cycling to Pay it Forward

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Ben Smith
Cyclist Ben Smith. Photo: Matt Lazzarotto

Every cyclist faces uphill battles — and then there’s cancer. Ben Smith has survived them both. Smith is one of the volunteer driving forces behind the Cypress Challenge, a gruelling 12K ride up a steep 6% incline to the top of the Cypress Mountain in West Vancouver. Over eight years, participants have raised more than $1.6 million for pancreatic cancer research.

“I beat a form of cancer and there is hope for other people as well,” he says. “Each ride or race is a test and testament to my health now as there was a point in my life where I doubted if I would ever be able to ride a bike again.”

While training for a triathlon when he was 23, Smith began feeling unwell and tests revealed seven tumours in his colon. “You think you’re invincible being so young, active and fit.”

After cancer treatment, Smith cycled to rebuild strength and fitness. Then years later he aligned his passion for cycling and the cancer cause. A member of the Glotman-Simpson Cycling Club in Vancouver, Smith helps plan the annual Cypress Challenge. On Aug. 14, he will power up Cypress alongside 600 others because: “I still can and want others to see a victory too.”

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