Iíve been asked a few times to sum up my experiences on the trip, and Iíve resisted so far, not because I donít have anything to say, but because Iím a little lazy.
My body has recovered from riding over 6500km
For those of you who know me, Iím not that introspective. Therefore, itís been difficult to express what this whole ride has meant to me. Iíll try, though I assume in a year Iíll have a better answer (but donít expect another journal entry).
Obviously this trip has been a huge accomplishment for me. I had the idea a year ago, and it really was nothing more than me saying ďhmm, maybe Iíll do thatĒ. Itís taken a lot of work, mostly by other people, and some time riding to get to this point.
To do a ride like this would be impossible without amazing people helping me. First, Timothy Knowles volunteered his summer to run the ride. He did everything other than ride the bike, though I wish he would have done that a couple of times. He allowed me to focus on the actual riding, which made it a lot easier on me.
Susan Mclennan, from Babble On Communications, was in charge of getting me press on the ride. It is amazing how much press we got. One of the nice things of this ride was not only was I able to raise a lot of money for the James Fund, I raised a lot of awareness for them as well. Obviously thatís harder to quantify than money raised.
But it was amazing how much press I got. Although we all know Iím special, at least my Mom says so, but there are quite a few people to do a cross-Canada journey to raise money for charity. So to be able to get as much press as we got, both local and national is a true testament to the skills of Susan.
I was very lucky to have amazing corporate sponsors. I donít want to bore you with everyone who helped, but to highlight a few of them is appropriate. Sharpe Blackmore Euro RCCG, was the first company to come on board. They spearheaded the whole ride and through them I was able to get a lot of other sponsors. Every week weíd have a meeting at the Sharpe Blackmore office, so they got to see a lot of me in spandex as I came back from training rides.
Through Sharpe Blackmore I was introduced to Home Hardware. I will be honest and say that I am not a handy person, so I never paid attention to how many Home Hardware locations there were. Itís amazing to me how no matter where Timothy and I were, we were around a Home Hardware. We stopped at eleven Home Hardwareís across the country, and each location was great. What was nice was the way Home Hardware was such a part of the community. People would come and meet us, but everyone was on a first name basis with each other. You donít see that at many stores. I wonít get into Home Hardware stories, you can read my journal to read about each, but they were all wonderful.
A lot of people ask me how this ride has changed me. This is where me being not terribly insightful hurts. There is no doubt that this ride showed me that I am able to do anything I want to do, if I work hard enough. Itís difficult to imagine riding across the country, but I did it.
On those days where it was difficult to finish the ride, I always thought of the kids Iíd be helping. Itís hard not to do something when you realize what the kids are dealing with. As a cancer survivor myself, I am happy that I could do something to help other people. If it werenít for people raising money and funding research before I got sick, Iím not sure whether Iíd have survived.
People seem to be impressed that I did the ride. Not so much the actual riding, but doing the trip. Even friends of mine sounded a little surprised in Feburary when the plans were really coming together, that me talking about riding across the country was going to happen. To be honest, Iíve found that if you talk enough about something you start to back yourself into a corner. Itís one thing to always want to change jobs, but itís difficult to do it until you quit. As soon as we got the James Fund on board and the corporate sponsors came on board, I had no choice but to ride.
Iím certainly glad that I was backed into a corner, it was an amazing summer.
In closing, Canada is a beautiful country and the people are fantastic. If you have the chance, travel. Iíve always been to the big cities, but there is something to be said for spending time away from the normal tourist spots and visiting White River ON, or Vernon BC or many of the thousands of towns across Canada.
Click here for more information on the James Fund.