It was a cold night in our trailer bunk house, below zero when we woke up with an eerie low hanging fog enveloping the parking lot of the community centre in Grand Falls, New Brunswick, where our caravan parked last night. We had our breakfast inside, followed by an emotional morning dedication.
One of our riders, Mike, lost his son to cancer in 2006. Michael was a bright young man, who loved the outdoors, and had a promising future ahead of him. He had just been accepted to college when he started having pain in his back. A CAT scan revealed a large mass in his abdomen, which was later confirmed to be liver cancer. Six months after surgery to remove the tumour, a scan revealed the cancer had returned and the prognosis was grim. He participated in some clinical trials, but to no avail – the cancer continued to progress. Michael passed away at the age of 18.
Today we ride for Michael.
We rolled out in the frigid temperatures and headed south on a beautiful scenic road following the Saint John River. At times we were totally immersed in the morning fog, otherwise the sun was shining with not a cloud in the sky. Our peloton was flying today, with the wind at our back and everyone working well together and excited about the long ride today…about 200k to Fredericton.
Our lunch stop was hosted by My Goodness!, a holistic wellness centre located in Florenceville-Bristol. After lunch, we stopped in Hartland for a photo-op at the Hartland Covered Bridge, the world’s longest covered bridge at 1,282 ft., crossing the Saint John River.
As we crossed the town line into Fredericton, we were met and escorted by two fire department vehicles who led us all the way to our final destination, the parking lot outside the now vacant Sears store at the Regent Mall. For many years, Sears was the title sponsor of the NKCR (formerly the Sears National Kids Cancer Ride) and we were met by a number of former Sears employees who hosted a BBQ for us in the parking lot.
Then it was off to the GoodLife Fitness facility for a shower. With no shuttle tonight, we had some time to socialize with the riders and volunteers – our “wheel family” – before heading to bed for some much needed sleep. Tomorrow will be another busy day…