Calgary Ride to Conquer Cancer cancelled due to smoke

Click to play video: 'Calgary charity bike ride cancelled due to smoke'
Calgary charity bike ride cancelled due to smoke
WATCH: The Ride to Conquer Cancer was called off mid-race because of bad air quality. Michael King reports – Aug 18, 2018

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.

“We will have buses at pit stops to transport riders safely back to the start line. Please note that there is no medical support along the route and that if riders continue [to] ride, they will do so at their own risk. Camp at Sundre will remain open with all amenities, however medical support will not be present.”

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.

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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.

READ MORE: Alberta cyclists hit the road for the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer

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.

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“People are disappointed, but they’re not angry. They’re angry at the smoke and the weather. They understand why we’re doing this.”

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