National Kids Cancer Ride

NKCR Day 10 – Sept. 15

NKCR Day 10 – Sept. 15
Marathon to Wawa, ON

Last night the rain continued and I went to bed with ear plugs to help muffle the sound of the heavy rain on the metal trailer – it worked really well and I had one of the best sleeps of the trip… so much so that I slept through the morning wake up call, the trailer lights being turned on and everyone moving about… whoops. Once the ear plugs were out, I heard the familiar sounds of rain outside and started to pull out the rain gear for the day. Once I was out of the trailer, I was met with heavy fog and dark skies… looked like Mother Nature was not going to be our friend today.

I headed in for breakfast at the Gchi-Waaswaaganing Centre and enjoyed some oatmeal, yogurt, an egg, a few strips of bacon and bagel with peanut butter then checked the forecast. The message on the TV was “Thunderstorm – not a good day for outdoor activities”… that made me laugh a little.

After breakfast, we had a team meeting to discuss the day, the forecast and the low visibility. We decided that it would be too dangerous to be on the highway in these conditions, so we would shuttle to Manitouwadge (our first planned rest stop). Before leaving, we did our morning dedication.

Today, we rode for Daxton, a one year old baby boy who kept struggling through one cold after another which the doctors thought was croup. Eventually they became concerned with his breathing and sent him for a chest X-ray which revealed a growth blocking his airway and within hours he was on his way to BC Children’s Hospital.

After further testing it was revealed that Daxton had a neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nerve tissue. For the next several months they underwent chemotherapy which after his second cycle showed it wasn’t working and the tumor was growing. Doctors decided to remove as much of the tumor as possible and he underwent surgery.

After a 4-hour surgery doctors were successfully able to remove 98% of the tumor and decide chemo would not be necessary. When they returned a few weeks later for his check up, there was no sign of cancer left.

Daxton is one of the lucky ones and one of the positive reasons we ride.

At Manitouwadge, the riders geared up for the weather (cool and wet). Rain jackets, pants, helmet covers, shoe covers and some warmth layers… I also set up my bike with my front and rear lights to ensure that we were seen on the road today.

Heading out I was a little apprehensive about riding today – I don’t have a lot of wet weather experience, especially in a peloton formation. My brakes were not as effective as normal and the spray from wheels of the riders ahead quickly coated my glasses with water. Spacing in the group was a little more generous and we gave each other a little more room to maneuver especially on the downhills.

The road was a two lane highway, with limited shoulders, so we rode tight to the right and our safety vehicle helped to divert the traffic around us. That said, there were a few trucks passing that were a little too close for comfort… but we expected that today. The scenery along the route was spectacular and the trees are starting to change colours… now we are seeing a little more yellow mixed in amongst the green forest. As we go further east, the colours will likely include vibrant reds as well.

After approximately 50km, we pulled into White River – Home of the infamous Winnie the Pooh. At this lunch stop, we had a chance to visit with the students of St. Basil’s School. Fiona spoke on behalf of the group and told them about our gear, the route and why we are doing this ride. The kids were inquisitive and asked a lot of great questions… then we posed for a photo or two and the kids gave us hugs and high fives as we left.

Our visit was a little longer than planned and many of the riders were quite chilled from the wet start. Putting the wet gear back on for the rest of the ride didn’t help matters. The decision was made to shuttle us the rest of the way to Wawa. Given the conditions, I think it was the right thing to do. We still have a lot of riding ahead of us and we all need to be as healthy as possible to complete the rest of this ride.

Upon arrival in Wawa, we loaded the bikes on to the trucks, had a nice hot shower and a fantastic meal put on by the Rotary Club. Tonight it was pasta, Caesar salad and of course a big selection of desserts… this may be the first day of the trip that we were not in a calorie deficit at the end of the day… we will call it a recovery day. Ha.

We stopped for some group photos in front of the giant Canada Goose in Wawa and now we are back onboard the RV’s heading for Echo Bay for the next leg of our journey.