Who does Team Tundra Tour For?

Team captains Blaine Barnes and Ashlee Upton share why Team Tundra gives back to Albertans facing cancer.

Blaine Barnes has been with Tundra Process Solutions for almost 20 years. In that time, he got to witness the journey and evolution of the company and recalls how when the opportunity came to support the Enbridge Tour Alberta for Cancer (formerly known as the Enbridge Alberta Ride to Conquer cancer), there was no hesitation on their part as it aligned with their core values as an organization – of giving back to the community.

Blaine BarnesAshlee Upton

Blaine started Team Tundra in 2016.

“There were only four of us riding the first year, but even then we’ve always had additional support from staff. If you’ve done the ride before, you’ve probably seen or heard some of our trucks, decorated with a ton of spirit, or loudly pumping music out of speakers in the box as they drive alongside you on the route,” he says.

Ashlee Upton, Client Liaison & Sales Support Lead at Tundra, takes pride in being a part of an organization that comes together for the greater community. “The culture at Tundra Process Solutions truly raises the bar. We are a strong group of individuals who thrive off our connections and genuinely enjoy doing things together. Because of this, the team organically created itself and has been evolving ever since!” she says.

Why Tour?

Ashlee will be riding in the memory of her Uncle Gary, who passed away in 2018 from pancreatic cancer. “Tour Alberta in and of itself is an incredibly inspiring fundraiser. Just looking at photos from years past, I cannot help but get emotional. The energy and love that resonates from this event are above any I have ever seen and has fueled my desire to participate and get pedalling finally,” mentions Ashlee.

Uncle Gary

A personal connection to cancer also motivated Blaine to start team Tundra and continue supporting the event every year. “Cancer has affected us all in one way, shape, or form. I lost grandparents, an uncle, and Tundra teammates to cancer. I’ve also been fortunate to see family members and friends fight it and beat it. But I’ve also watched friends and teammates lose loved ones to cancer. It sucks, and it’s heartbreaking. The Tour is just a great way to give back because it’s helping the people and the communities that we serve every day. It’s also helping our friends, our families and our team. It might be cancer research, or it could be one of the community cancer centres in rural areas, but we know that what we make a difference right here in Alberta,” says Blaine.

Starting a Team

Both Ashlee and Blaine’s advice for those looking to start a Tour team with their friends or colleagues is to get out there and start.

“Get the ball rolling, be the advocate of inspiration, and people will join – sometimes a first voice is all that is required to generate involvement!” notes Ashlee.

“Just sign up. And then ask others to sign up with you. But don’t procrastinate. Taking the first step and signing up is a great way to kick things off. If you don’t have a bike, no problem. Sign up and find one later. If you don’t feel like you’re in good enough shape to do the ride, no problem. Sign up and start practicing and doing training rides. And when it comes to fundraising, just ask. Just reach out to your network and ask. So many people are so hesitant or nervous about asking for help – and you shouldn’t be – because it’s for an amazing cause, an amazing organization, and will produce amazing results right here at home,” says Blaine.

Gearing Up

This year, Team Tundra will cycle along the Foothills in Calgary, “We love the scenery and the challenge of some of those hills. We’re planning on a ride that’s at least 80 kilometres in length,” says Blaine.

This year will be Ashlee’s first time participating in the Tour. “I am one of the folks taking on this challenge for the first time, and to be honest, I am going full tortoise; slow and steady. I purchased my first road bike and have been touring my community and local parks as often as possible when it is not 30+ degrees outside. I am just going full gusto with kindness in my heart and a goal of making it to the end no matter how long it takes me!”

“As a first-time rider, I am following in the footsteps – or should I say cycle tread marks – of all the incredible participants on my team who have the experience and route knowledge that I lack. I am excited to get out there and show that route who’s the boss!” says Ashlee.

Blaine encourages first-time riders to train at their own pace and gradually build up their distance over time. “The Tour is not a race. Riding a bike is all about enjoying the scenery, enjoying the challenge of a good hill climb, and the feeling of cruising down a hill after you just climbed for too long. Make sure your bike is set up properly. Then go out and enjoy the ride,” he says.

Blain and Ashlee are grateful to everyone involved in making the Enbridge Tour Alberta for Cancer a success.

“Getting the Tour Alberta up and running was no small feat. Due to the events of the past year, the Alberta Cancer Foundation had to find a way to make this happen, and they did. I want to give a huge shout-out to all the people behind the scenes who are making this Tour a reality. It takes a huge effort to create something this big, so a big thanks to everyone involved – whether you’re on a bike or not,” says Blaine.

“My gratitude to all those involved with The Tour, from conception to ongoing components that keep this fundraiser alive. To everyone fighting for themselves or fighting in the name of others, I commend you,” notes Ashlee.

We thank Ashlee and Team Tundra for their constant support and contribution to the Enbridge Tour Alberta for Cancer. Thank you for supporting cancer research and care delivered by Albertans for Albertans.

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