The Ride to Conquer Cancer in Calgary has been cancelled because of wildfire smoke drifting into Alberta.
“Due to a decline in air quality, we have advised all riders to stop riding, get to a pit stop and be swept to Canadian Olympic Park,” said Harriet Hann with the Ride to Conquer Cancer.
The ride was supposed to go all weekend, with cyclists pedalling 200 kilometres from Calgary to Sundre, Alta. and back again to raise money for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
The event supports 17 cancer centres across the province and has raised $74 million over the last decade for clinical trials, research, and efforts to improve environments for cancer patients, said George Andrews, president and CEO of the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
This is the 10th anniversary of the ride, with this year marking the most money the group has ever raised — over $8 million — and the highest amount of participants at 1,900 riders.
“In many ways it’s been one of the best years ever except for not being able to complete the ride,” Andrews said.
They’re trying to manage the hundreds of people “scattered” along the route and are shuttling people to Calgary to collect their belongings.
“As I look down the highway here, the smoke is settling in heavier and heavier so we’ve made a decision to cancel the ride,” Andrews said.
The group was advised by medical supervisors that the Sundre campground is unsafe since it’s beyond high risk on the Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) scale.
“I can tell you from talking to the riders, they appreciate that we’re putting their safety first but I think they’re all understandably disappointed,” Andrews said.
“People are disappointed, but they’re not angry. They’re angry at the smoke and the weather. They understand why we’re doing this.”