We made it! 385km (240 miles) from start to finish in one day. I will post a detailed "story" soon.
We arrived in Kelowna on Friday afternoon, and unpacked, prep'd our bikes and then began preparing the food we would eat during the ride. Once all those tasks were completed, and a few meetings (drivers, volunteers, ride captains) had happened, we had a team meeting. Everyone -volunteers, solo riders, relay riders, drivers -attended. That meeting would nomally be about rules of the ride, how to handle specific situations etc. This one wasn't. It started with an introduction from one of the ride leaders, and co-founder of the ride.
"My name is Kerry, this is my 5th year on this ride, and my reason for riding is..."
There were over 200 people in that room. In turn, we each introduced ourselves, and why or for whom we were riding. I had many friends in that room, and many more that became friends during the ride. That meeting lasted over 2 hours, and every minute was worth it. We heard stories from many of how the research this ride was funding was making a difference.
To those of you who supported this ride financially, emotionally and/or spiritually I thank you, we are making a difference. On more than one occasion during this ride my thoughts focused on the names on my legs, and your support for what I can honestly call the toughest thing I've ever done.
I had a few requests for a picture of a specific name written on my leg. I took pictures of my legs from all 4 sides, so you should be able to find a the specific name you seek. Some names, particularly those above my knees are may appear to have been written upside down, but they are right-side-up to me when I'm riding and looking down at my legs. The names on my calves are for me and for the riders behind me, and the shins are for when you collapse on the ground at a rest stop with your legs stretched out in front of you. Each of those names has a story, some have finished and some are still being written, and represents a life well lived. I know that for a fact because someone cares enough about that life to have put forward their name for this ride.
To those who donated to this cause, and for whom I have an email address, I will be sending the pictures to you, so you needn't worry about the quality of the low-res picture in this post.
As for me, it's now 24 hours...sorry 23 hours (we didn't arrive at our destination until 11:15PM) after the finish, and my knees ache a little, my thighs are a little sore, and I'll spare you the graphic details, but I can certainly tell I spent most of yesterday sitting on a bike saddle. Other than that, I'm feeling pretty good. I woke up thirsty...don't know why, I spent most of yesterday drinking and eating and drinking and eating, but if I don't have to see another banana for a while, I'll be okay with that.
The magnitude of what we achieved yesterday is sinking in, and life goes on. Tomorrow is Monday and my older son's last week of school before summer vacation. Things start returning to normal...but yesterday we collectively did something special.
I promise to post my story, and knowing me it will be a long one. Be prepared to laugh and perhaps have a Kleenex ready...I know I could have used a couple during the ride.
Thank you all, and in particular my wife, two young kids and my parents and in-laws for picking up the slack while I trained for, and participated in this ride, now please return to what you were doing and finish that "just one more row"...I have to tidy up the front hall where I dumped all my gear when I got home. My wife has photo evidence of the disaster area...