COURAGE - NSORRA's Marijke Nel takes on the Corduroy while battling cancer
Marijke Nel is the definition of tough, generous, hardworking, never-say-quit woman.
Marijke's Conquest for Cancer
Marijke came to NSORRA in 2018. She had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. She decided she needed to set a goal for herself, something that she would have to work very hard to achieve, something other than beating cancer. She decided that not only would she learn to ride a dirt bike, but she would ride The Corduroy, the hardest dirt bike enduro in Canada.
Marijke face many challenges on her way to reaching this goal. Not only did she have to deal with two years of Covid restrictions, but she also had to deal with the diagnosis of a SECOND cancer - ovarian cancer.
Through it all, she continued to train hard, working with volunteer coaches from throughout the dirt biking community, battling injuries, a broken bike…
On September 24-25, thanks to the support of many, Marijke will achieve her goal of competing at The Corduroy Enduro as part of her #conquestforcancer
In her own words...
We sit on the start line, a motley crew of riders with brightly coloured riding gear and bike designs. Helmets glisten in the sun, puffs of smoke come from the two-stroke engines as we rev them before we cut them for a holeshot start.
We rev them to get them firing, warm and all cleaned out…but also to build our confidence. The roar of the engines reminds us that our bikes have what it takes to beat any obstacle on the course - but that courage has to be echoed from inside our hearts.
We will shoot off the start line with throttles pinned wide open and bottleneck at the first corner in clouds of dust, then jostle for position as we fly into the woods.
There we will be met by various obstacles as we race on hours (or multiple days) of technical single-track trail, which will test our bodies and machines and demand a combination of endurance, skill, strength, stamina, loads of courage and a little dose of madness mixed in there too.
Perhaps I only speak for myself.
But to conquer roots, boulders, mud, logs, ruts, sand, gravel, steep hill ascents and descents, rock faces, bridges, streams, drop-offs, and one daunting obstacle after another, to sometimes fail and have to try again and again, would not go well if one were to succumb to constant fear, doubt or hesitation.
Sometimes you simply need to grab a glove full of throttle, keep your feet on the pegs and charge at something which actually scares you.
It is for all these reasons - and many more - that I find enduro riding so representative of a battle with cancer.
I have faced it twice in 3 years.
But I am still here.
I am alive.
The beautiful support I received makes me want to raise it for others.