Our day started in Kenora at the recreation centre where our convoy parked last night. The staff at the centre prepared another great breakfast for us…we are certainly eating well on this trip! After breakfast, we shuttled down the road a bit to Sioux Narrows where our ride was to begin.
The morning dedication, always an emotional start to our ride, was done by Paul, a former RCMP officer and one of the team captains. Today we will ride for Amara, the 14-year old we met at CancerCare Manitoba yesterday. She was diagnosed earlier this year with advanced osteosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. New research techniques currently allow individual genetic profiling for Amara’s cancer, to help guide her treatment program. Her oncologist has suggested an oral targeted chemotherapy regimen and if this medication shows positive results, Amara may be able to take it continuously for long term control of her disease. The family would certainly have had to seek treatment options in the U.S. or internationally if not for the research advances being made in Canada. The emotional and financial burden for the family is already heavy and would have been enormous if they had to leave the country.
We rolled out of Sioux Narrows at about 9:30 a.m. and headed due south, travelling along the Trans Canada Highway, past dozens of small interconnected lakes and dramatic rock cuts through the Canadian Shield. The fall colours are just starting to come out, and the road twisted up, down, left and right as we passed numerous hunting and fishing lodges. The sky was mostly cloudy, with the sun coming out only briefly, and the air temperature was in the low teens. After three days of riding into Prairie winds and rain, our peloton of 14 riders was energized and we were clicking along at a 35+ kph clip in a double pace line, taking our turns at the front and cycling through the rotation.
After about 100k, we arrived at our lunch stop ahead of schedule, where we were met by our RV crew who had prepared an amazing lunch for us, basically in the middle of nowhere.
It’s always hard to jump back on the bikes after a big meal…the afternoon leg of our ride was not quite as idyllic as the morning as we swung east towards Fort Frances. The wind was once again in our faces and we were chilled from the stop and getting tired. It was difficult to keep the group organized, with riders falling off the back of the peloton, requiring us to slow down and bring the group back together. We put our heads down and persevered, reaching the arena in Fort Frances where we showered and got ready for dinner.
Our dinner tonight was hosted by Tess’s Kitchen, a catering company in Fort Frances. They have hosted the NKCR for several years in their home, and they laid out an incredible feast for us! We have certainly been made welcome and well looked after as our travelling road show makes it’s way across the country.
We are currently en route to Atikokan, where we are staying tonight as our NKCR caravan rolls through Ontario.