Two days ago, we arrived in Halifax. The end of the cycling but not the end of the journey. I’m still processing all that’s happened over this last month, and indeed this past year. Previous SNKCR riders told me that doing this would be life-changing. I’m waiting to see if it was for me.
Day 17, we rode from Amherst to Lower Sackville. We began in the fog and it was cold enough to don full finger gloves, our warmest jackets, and leg warmers for the first hour or so. Our team was working hard to stay on schedule despite the terrible road conditions. It takes all the patience in the world to be kind to your teammates when you’re dodging potholes as a peloton km after km at 30k/hr. But this was not new to us. Many of our roads have been like cycling in minefields.
By the time we got to our first “rest” stop, we were told we were behind schedule (again),and would need to shuttle forward. At that point, 10 of us, without saying a word to each other, communicated through our body language, that there was no way we were going to miss a km of this day. We cycled our asses off as a team, taking care not to drop anyone, until we reached our next stop at the Stewiacke Fire Stn. We were escorted in by truck and siren and there was a small group waiting to greet us. We hardly had time to smile at them before we needed to get rolling again to meet our next time commitment – the golf course in Lower Sackville by 4:00. No later.
Over the next 2 hours, we hammered and pulled and pushed and encouraged each other through the headwind and up the hills. Our determination was strong. It was impressive. A moment in my life where I learned how important it is to recognize that a group needs people with diverse talents.
At the end of the day, we were cheered into the Amherst Sports Complex by Team 1. It was great to reunite. We had a noisy, cheerful dinner at a restaurant and The Chase group arrived as we were eating. Everyone was celebrating what we’d accomplished as riders and fundraisers- $1.2 million and $28 000 given along the roads.
Day 18, our final day we all rode as one large group. The front six riders were chosen by the two team captains to set the pace and keep the pace. Rochelle and I were asked to be ready to sub in if needed. I was asked to do that and I felt very privileged to be given that role. We left Sackville and rode to Peggy’s Cove in the drizzled with police escorts the entire way. After multiple pictures, we resumed our ride to the IWK hospital. It’s a very cheerful looking facility. Speeches thanking CTCACF were delivered but we were all chomping at the bit to get to Point Pleasant Park where we’d be reunited by family. It was a fantastic moment. My sisters, Deb and Ali, had journeyed from Toronto just to see me come in. It was surreal. We did champagne and medals, there were photos and videos, and we dipped our front wheels into the Atlantic Ocean. The ride was officially done.
We had a delicious meal as teammates, volunteers, and family and signed each others’ team photos. Hugs were held longer than ever when we said our goodbyes.
As I said, my inner journey is not over with. I’m so blessed to have started it.