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I signed up for a 600 km ride this past summer with the Ontario Randonneurs, the local chapter of an international cycling organization which organizes long distances rides with time limits for completion. I joined the ride because I knew it would be a good training experience for the Lake Erie ride. I fully expected to ride alone because I didn’t know anyone and because people ride at different paces which especially makes a difference on longer rides. But, out of the 10 riders that showed up, 4 of us did end up falling in together and had a great time sharing the ride and supporting each other through the tough spots, and swapping stories since we were all into outdoor adventures of one sort or another.

At one point we tried to figure out what it was that attracted us to doing a 600 km ride and the only definitive answer that we could come up with was the personal satisfaction we felt at completing a challenge like that. That’s how I feel tonight! In spades! I really questioned last night and many times today if I was going to be able to finish. The spirit was great. The legs were great. It was just that unexpected but rather serious thing with my neck. I’m relieved (and grateful to my body) that I could.

And of course, there really is all the other stuff… the incredible scenery, the people who go out of their way to give you directions when you need them, the servers in restaurants who see you come in wearing your dusty biking gear and a tired look on your face and are extra helpful and friendly, the 100 or more people on riding lawnmowers that you exchange a smile and a wave with, the many many hours when you are riding along with a partially endorphin fueled grin on your face because you’re so happy to be travelling on a bike, the two police officers who pull you over and grill you (mail theft?), and all the many other small adventures within the adventure. Right now I’m so happy to be done and back home, but tomorrow I’ll be missing the road. Okay, a little bit of distorted thinking but…

Thank you to everyone who has supported this ride through helping with the fundraising and/or organizing, through donating financially, through offering support and encouragement before the ride – and during the ride! It is all hugely appreciated. Thank you to the Fundraising Committee and all my supportive colleagues at work. Thank you Tsehaie and Keesha for all of your amazing communications and moral support! Thanks to the gang that showed up on Thursday a.m. to give me such a great send off and to Tsehaie, Hugh and LoriAnn (straight from the airport) for being back at Christie Pits tonight to welcome me (and Carol) back.

Thank you Carol for putting up with these escapades and for driving out and providing such incredible moral support today. All those times you snuck in an extra drive by to make sure I was ok…

A big shout out to Tom for being at Christie Pits Thursday morning, in Grimsby and then Niagara Falls later to that day to take some video of me and then in Detroit much later to drive me across the border. I’m so grateful for your generosity. Please keep an eye on this blog for the next few days because we’ll be posting links to some of those videos – they are so much fun!

Thank you Sweet Pete’s, as always, for making sure the bike could make the trip!

Thank you ibuprofen!

Thank you SPOT for being so cool!

In the end though, the ride was really about raising awareness and funds for the United Way. The fundraising part of the fundraiser continues for a few more weeks yet so please continue to spread the word. We’re thrilled about our success so far and look forward to meeting our goal of $30,000! www.unitedwaytoronto.com/albertrides

And, Bill, this ride was for you! You’re missed!

Cheers, Albert

(Tomorrow: Chiropractor. Next year: Lake Huron?)

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About lonepiraterides

An adventurous spirit, passionate about cycling, traveling, camping and the outdoors - especially when I can combine all of them. I work in social housing - work which brings me rewards every day.
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