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Friday, October 9, 2015

Recently, when I was writing a description of my ride around the Cabot Trail, I decided that I would post it, unedited... basically a first draft. It was to save time, and I wanted to be able to go back and read it, raw.

The risk in doing that was, among many things, I would miss things that I should have captured. And I did... I want to right that today...

When I quit the ride after starting up French Mountain it was with mixed thoughts... my knee was paining like almost never before (except when I originally blew the ACL at Snowmass in 1999); I had promised Lynnda and myself to stop riding if there was a chance I was doing more damage that would end my riding; I was tired, and doubted I could finish the ride... even whether I could get to Cheticamp. All of this needed to be sorted out... and after consideration, I stopped riding up the mountain. When I came back down the hill to the rest stop, on reflection, I realized I didn't 'try'  hard enough, to go further... I quit!

As I sat in the VW Golf riding up the mountain I felt somewhat bitter... the pain was gone, I was rested a little, I had hydrated a little, and so on. Also I had time to be thinking deeper and clearer. Some of the questions that came into my mind were like these... what would other people think... what would other people do... what would I do given different circumstances and so on. I do sometimes make my mind up based on putting myself in other people's shoes and looking back at me from their perspective... from the impact my decisions will have on them.

One of the people I have more recently come to know is Jonathan Henry. Jonathan has overcome more hills than many of us... certainly me. He was born with an extra chromosome and has Down Syndrome, a genetic disorder. His ability to overcome challenges caused his Dad, Peter to coin the phrase "Powered by an Extra Chromosome". While I drove over the two mountains, Jonathan's aura came to mind... what would Jonathan do. I am not, to this day, certain if I concluded the answer before or after I met up with Chris and Heather Kidd, and decided to ride with him to Cheticamp and beyond. But I am sure that I was thinking that he would have been on the bike riding no matter what... and I was sure that he would be laughing all the way to the end if he were on my shoulder egging me on... he has stimulated me to chase down new things and ideas... as he is accomplishing new goals.

Another thing that occurred to me, either during the ride, or in the months that followed it, was how important it is to set goals, and 'strive' to accomplish them. While folks who don't ride may not know just how hard it is to do 50km or 100km or 180km or in this case, 300km in a day... each of us who have, know! And we didn't do it the first time. I didn't accomplish the 300km on my first try, this ride, in 2015.

I don't know whether I will get to try it again next year, or even if Give To Live will have the ride in 2016... but I do know what it is like to get close, and to train for it, and to meet others who also tried... it is in the trying, the striving, where on the ride I got my satisfaction. Losing the weight allowed me to climb, better. Training on the stationary spin bike, when the weather didn't let me train on the road, allowed me to test my knee while standing in the peddles for up to 20 minutes. These things I was  proud of during the ride... and that will allow me to strive to do the ride, the whole 300km again next year.

Friendships are important... I didn't really get to that in the memoir I wrote... sometimes they are more important than others. Absent distant friendships that are activated occasionally when G2L rides happen each year... I would never have trained for the ride, raised some money for cancer research, and found a new upper limit in my riding capability. My friendship with Ron Allen started out on a rocky interface when we were both being our normal selves... we argued during our ride from Vancouver to Austin. That has developed into an annual handshake and a knowing smile... there are and will be more. Like with Chris and Heather Kidd, Eileen Burchill, Sean LeMoine and so on.

Other friendships that have developed, just from riding, are those of years past... Chad Robertson, Jason Stoke, Rodney Sallman, Danelle Titus (all from Team 5, Van to Aus); Paul McQueen, Ashley Ward, Todd McDonald, Chris MacDougall... also from Van to Aus. Here in Mexico, cycling is different... but friendships with Pablo Voigt, Ron Starr and Marilyn Praeter, Jim and Erica Pierce, Willem and Monique Asselbergs, Glenn Duskey and others would never have happened... absent the bike rides. On the ride, I did think about friendship along the way...

Its easier to write these things now... in retrospect... but no less meaningful to my reads of this in the future, when I can't ride any more... and I have the friendships intact. I am sure I will think of other things to add... my blog, my adds...


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Blueknowser

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Grad. Saint Mary's University, 1975, got into the medical device business initially in sales, then various management positions up to president, all in Medical Devices. I prefer therapy products over diagnostic, but they are all fun, and in a way have defined my life. I have now evolved, with help from my 35 year partner Lynnda with whom I now share every hour. I am into staying healthy, photography, kayaking, bicycling, gardening and two books a week. I wish I had gotten to this stage earlier!