Who was it that said that? Well today i’m doing something that scares me.
Today is the last of the “team 2 demons”. The 300+ km ride. I kicked the other two (Day 1’s climbs out from Merritt to Kelowna, and Day 2’s climb over Mount Olive out of Radium Hot Springs. Once I’ve done this one, I know that I I’ve faced what can be thrown at me and risen to the challenge. But that’s now what i felt when I set out. Deep inside I knew I could do this, after all, I managed a 239 km solo ride, including 2000m climbing (this has no climbing, but prairie riding is different – it’s a long, hard, continuous grind). This is a group ride and by all the laws, should be easier as I have 7 other riders to help.
We left Saskatoon, after a great breakfast, courtesy of the Jim Peterson Children’s Hospital Foundation, and the Sears Midtown associates. Thank you.
Riding out of Saskatoon was easy. We had a tailwind, and with that, our Team can shift like the wind. We reached speeds of 50+ kph, and by the first rest stop, we were riding at 36.8 kph average!!!! That’s fast. Pancakes and sausages were provided courtesy of the town of Colonsay, and they were awesome. The hospitality we have encountered so far is incredible. People feed us and are delighted to see us.
But then our luck changed. Huge crosswind for 100 km. Ghaa! This was our first big challenge as a team. And we didn’t do too well. We are good when things go well, but we haven’t had a chance to work out solutions when faced with adversity. We got there, but it was tough. But we were now 150+ km in, and alright. I’d forgotten what prairie riding was like, and i realized it’s not what i’m used to. Damn, it was a slog, and i was hurting somewhat. Gradually the winds changed and we once again had the tailwind. And it blew us into Regina. We finally arrived, tired, sweaty and hungry, but so exhilarated, 303 km later!
And who was there, waiting for me – one of my dearest friends, Kerry, who had just endured a 4-day marathon celebration of a hard year of fundraising for his non-profit organization, in Regina. He stuck around to cheer us in, despite being exhausted himself and needing to get home. It’s what we do to support family. We were also met by Tom. Tom is an amazing young man whom we met first in 2013, as he was recovering from his gruelling Ewing Sarcoma treatment and then again in 2015. Now he is fantastic, and despite many late effects of his treatment, including needing a wheelchair, but he came to see us, and to help with supper.. what a man. We ride for him, yet he comes to help us. And once again, the Sears Associates welcomed us with open arms, even though Sears is no longer a sponsor of the ride. They held onto their commitment to us.
We were tired. But we were good. We’ve done what very few people can ever do – ride over 300 km in a day. That takes guts and hard work, and a lot of pedailing.
Families and kids and parents face this every day. Each day supporting a kid with cancers just like these rides – each day is different. Each day throws up something new. Each day has a challenge and problem that needs solving. Yet there are people to help, people to support and people giving unconditionally of love, determination and help.
And now I’m tired and ned to sleep.