The day started off with an amazing breakfast at the Casino that allowed us to use their parking lot for the night and washrooms. Lynn Fast was able to hook us up with stop because she had family out here, for whom one of which works as a head chef.
Now when I say “family”, I’m referring to “not of blood relations”… it is the type of family forged in friendship dealing with the stuff life throws at you, and in many cases can be much stronger. Her “family” came to visit, and it was inspiring to see… especially little Logan who just happened to be wearing an orange jacket like “Grandma” Lynn. We did our best to recruit him as a future rider, so I’m guessing that will be a number of years away. This stood out for me because alumni keep talking about their “Wheel family” and I can understand and see why…. the circumstances are similar in a way… individual people who are not of blood relation coming together for a cause, and returning as something stronger… something to aspire to…
For the morning dedication, a volunteer named Gerry passionately and deeply from the heart read the story of little James who passed away way too early for his time… he loved Thomas the Train engine, so when you see a picture posted somewhere in NCKR’Land with Thomas, it is in James’s honour.
I have met some amazing people so far in such a short time that I apologize for not listing them out… they have been breaking down my wall and peeling back a layer or two but I want to say a few words about Gerry. This guy is absolutely hilarious, but it also helps hide a lifetime of horrible s#%t he has lived through as an RCMP officer, working on UN assignments at the Killing Fields, and services he has done for our Country that would put us civilian sissies to shame (that is the tip of the iceberg… you could write a book!). Jack Nicholson in a movie shouted out “Truth… you can’t handle the truth!!!” and you know what?… Gerry would have every right to say the same but he doesn’t throw it in your face… he did his duty out of passion and love, carrying those scars and channeling it here for us to support the cause in honour of his niece who is alive because of cancer oncologists/surgeons/doctors …
Picture this… we had a pretty rough ride today with the head/crosswinds… I’ll get back to that in a bit, but I’ll zip forward to our destination at the RCMP headquarters… we were exhausted, and were finally able to make it to the mess hall to eat. The cafeteria is pretty full with cadets and Gerry leaps up to address everyone…I would KILL to have gotten this on video, but I’ll do my best to paraphrase…
With a commanding voice, he bellows out “EVERYONE LISTEN UP! I’m Gerry Donald White, number: 13243 and I’m a retired RCMP officer… “lists credentials…” and I want to tell everyone about this group of riders from the Coast to Coast sitting right here who are riding their bicycles across Canada to put a stop to Childhood Cancer! So when you mutts finally get out of here and start making babies of your own… and if they get cancer it will be because of these guys that they will get cured, so you better show some love with some applause”… and they did! It was loud… and I can’t speak for the other riders but I was feeling pretty proud…. and it was the shot in the arm I needed because I really struggled today….
My ass was definitely not my friend this morning, and the first 80km was the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been… between that and being in the second day of head/cross winds I honestly didn’t think I could finish the day… After lunch the butt got a bit of a second wind but my legs were toast.
They new I was struggling a bit, and I was “half” honest about how I was feeling…I’m ashamed to say that if I hadn’t been riding in the group, watching everyone push through I could have thrown in the towel any number of times… they may have been struggling too (the ride was no picnic…but it’s tough to tell what a person is working through when they ride) but I definitely felt I was the weakest link whether or not I was or not… confidence is a fleeting thing, and like today’s wind it got blown all over the gosh darn place.
It’s an honour to ride with this group, and I want to do better not just for myself but to help them achieve their goals… tomorrow is a 200km day… forecast is rain and wind so it is going to be one hell of a ride and my ass and legs better cooperate!
Thanks for reading, and appreciate the support !