Just like that, it was Day 5 of our 5-day ride. I started seeing this image of a little green creature with red horns crying “Mommy, It’s Over!” Indeed, our trip from Port Hardy to Victoria was just about over…
Okay, before I go on, I have something to confess that’s been bugging me. I need to let everyone in on our not very well kept dirty little secret.
We weren’t ever going to Victoria!
That feels better. The guilt from that little lie was getting to me — and no, you can’t have your donation back. Our voyage was to end at the Centennial Park in Saanichton where the final bash, hosted by Headway, was set to start at 3:00 pm and our grand arrival of the Parky’s Pedalers was scheduled for just before 4:00 pm.
But first, back to the beginning of the day.
I woke up just after 6 am and looked outside. Clearing skies and no evidence of gale force winds was a welcome change to the previous day’s deluge. It was promising to be a nice ride to our destination with planned stops for coffee and lunch. In a few more hours with our sore butts on our hard saddles the ride would be done and it would be back to our normal lives.
We made the required stop at the Old Town Bakery for sticky buns and coffee and got on our metal steeds. Our first goal was to get to the Aquatic Centre in Duncan where Experience Cycle, who provided our cycling jerseys, hosted a 10 am coffee stop. This required a relatively short run of just under 30 kilometres. We had a small snafu with a bicycle chain — nothing that a half-dozen cyclists, a wrench and a can of penetrating oil couldn’t fix. Teamwork!
Around 11 am we left the Aquatic Centre for the Shawnigan Lake School. It became apparent fairly quickly that there were some serious hills that weren’t mentioned in the trip brochure. Luckily we had allotted an hour for the ride and everyone arrived more or less on time at the school — a private school with more than a little resemblance to Hogwarts. The buildings and the campus were gorgeous.
Lunch was excellent though we got pulled out part way through to present ourselves in front of the entire school during their lunch break in a collective moment of appreciation for our ride. It was humbling.
As lunch was finishing up, news came in of an accident on the Malahat that we feared might affect traffic on the Mill Bay ferry. We needed to be on the 3:00 pm crossing in order to make our 4:00 pm appointment with the crowds in Centennial Park. The ride to Mill Bay was energetic though, mercifully, it was shorter than the ride up to the school and mostly downhill. We arrived in time to catch the earlier 1:50 pm ferry, killed the better part of an hour to avoid being too early at the BBQ and, when we finally set off, paraded the final few kilometres to Centennial Park where we arrived shortly before 4:00 pm.
Friends and family were waiting, food was cooking and that green creature was playing in my head again.
The goals of our ride was was to promote awareness of Parkinson’s Disease and to raise funds for 2 Parkinson’s charities. I feel comfortable in saying that I think we had accomplished both goals, not in an earth shaking way, but in a way that may make a small difference in people’s lives. Maybe the little bit of money (somewhere around $20,000 at the moment) would help lead to a cure. Maybe the message about how lifestyle can give us parkies back a little bit of control over our disease and its progression would improve the day-to-day well being of a few of our fellow parkies who have been following our ride.
For some of us there was another goal associated with the ride, a personal parky-goal that David Peters touched on with his post I’m in Awe… and that Wendy’s Sister touched on with her post Treat me Like ‘Normal’. Despite our disease, we parkies want to be recognized as part of the team. We weren’t there to win, place or show but just to finish the ride like our parky-muggle colleagues. The Pedalers were a determined dozen not a pair of competing six-packs.
Despite missing the first day to illness and a section of the ride on day 4 to caution I am satisfied with my accomplishments. There was nothing in our goals requiring me to ride the entire 500 km.
Would I do it again? Well, I’ll leave that for another post. Stay tuned…