Yesterday afternoon 25 cyclists slogged up the two kilometres of Signal Hill in St. John’s, Newfoundland, completing their journey of 7550 kilometres (about 4700 miles) across Canada. They had started mid-June in Vancouver, BC, and averaged around 130 kilometres per day. My goodness.
For at least ten years, I’ve dreamed of joining them. It’s an adventure which I will experience before I die. I can feel that deep inside. My plan was to do the ride this summer, right after retiring, but Jody’s illness prevented that from happening. I need to be at her side.
Let’s say I cross my country in 2016. I’ll be 67 then, not exactly the oldest rider to do the deed, but getting up there. As a 50-year-old, I defined myself as a slow cyclist, so what about 17 years later? The bottom line question: Would anyone in the group be willing to ride with me on the daily spin, or would my time on the bike be spent alone? I like to think they’ll be a few takers. Speaking most stereotypically, I don’t expect my companions on the road to include any 20-year-old men. I bet they’d be busting their buns to be the first ones into the next campground. Oh well. Sometimes I dream of speed, but not much. I want to see the world passing by, not be gazing at the rear tire of the rider ahead, only six inches from my front one.
Here’s some more wants:
1. To become friends with my fellow riders, perhaps at a level that I’ve never experienced before. After all, we’ll be fighting the wind, the rain, the hills, injuries, illness and our own emotions. Each of us will have off-days, times when our self-esteem hangs by a thread, times when someone else’s personality will be oil to my water. We have to take care of each other. The possible overwhelm could easily lead to tears, even male tears. I need to be kind, and graciously receive others’ kindness in return.
2. To meet Canadians all across this fair land. If I’m riding through a Saskatchewan town, past the general store, and spy an elderly gentleman sitting on the porch, pulling on his pipe … I’m going to stop and say hi. Have a nice chat about the Prairies and about riding (assuming that he’s fine with talking). I know that many communities, ones who welcome Tour du Canada folks year after year, put on breakfasts or dinners for the riders. Truly a golden opportunity to blab at length to every Mary and Bob that I can find – young, old and anywhere in the middle. I like to think that my spirit will flow into them, and theirs into me.
3. To blog my fingers off from Vancouver Island to the Maritimes. The organizer of the tour told me that most campgrounds which they use are wireless, so I can cozy up to my laptop for half an hour each evening and wax poetic about the events of the day. I’ll be sure to mention lots about the peanut butter and jam sandwiches that are a lunchtime staple.
As is the case with the blog you’re reading right now, I won’t know if I’m reaching a lot of people or just a few. Now and in the future, both results are fine. As long as someone is out there, I’m good!
As wise people often say when thinking about a life experience, there’s the anticipation of the event, the event itself, and the memories. I know that all three will be mine. As for now, Part A is a lot of fun.