The day started off with organized chaos and excitement as riders, volunteers, and coordinators packed up and headed to White Rock to start our journey.
Everyone started off going about the task of finding two beach rocks to carry along with them across the country… the first rock is to be thrown into ocean in Halifax, and the second to be kept as a keepsake along with a new rock we will collect when we arrive… these rocks are not randomly chosen… they symbolically represent something deeper within ourselves … some connection to our fears and hopes for the ride… something that can only resonate uniquely within each of us.
We heard from Patrick Sullivan about the journey of his son Finn, and we saw his ‘Beads of Courage’ representing all aspects of a child’s cancer journey from the beginning… chemo / radiation treatments, blood transfusions, IV hookups, and so forth. The beads can represent the good and bad for which as we all know not all journeys have happy endings… this is why we ride.
Sharon Andres gave an inspirational speech to remind us why we are here… it’s not just about “hammering out” and screaming down the roads… it’s about being an ambassador, it’s about working through our own demons to push through our good and bad days… to find strength in places within us we never knew existed both emotionally and physically… to remember that the kids are our inspiration and to do our best is all we can do to honour them…
We dipped the back wheels of our bikes into the ocean to begin the journey, and we will dip the front wheel in Halifax when we arrive.
The Gods/Universal Spirit/whatever works for you smiled on us this day with great weather and high spirits… We encountered a few “reality checks” from a variety of “drivers”… but largely we were met by friendly honks and waves… and people asking us what we were riding for and even donating on the spot… a toonie, a 20, whatever they could…
We were met by people at rest stops who out of the kindness of their heart gave us food and beverages to support us on our ride… some have been doing this for years, and are a reminder that people truly care and give back to the world.
We hit a stretch of road, and when looking down a fellow co-Rider and I saw a single “dime” on the road… there is a special significance to what this means and maybe I’ll pass along the story but leave it at “people in Heaven are looking down upon you, are with you, and approve”.
We road 149km today, and wrapped things up with a group photo at the Hope welcoming sign, a shower, and a hot glorious meal served up by a special set of volunteers who have a deep connection to the ride.
We are shuttling to Vernon to get some sleep and gear up for tomorrow’s ride!
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