Each year for the past five or six years now, I actually forget, I have done a fund raising ride in support of the Terry Fox Foundation. I call it 24 Marathons in 24 Hours as I ride the equivalent distance of 24 marathons ( 1032 kms) in a 24 hour period. I always do it on July 28th, the anniversary of Terry Fox's birthday. He'd have been 57 this year. Actually I usually do it in 12 hours, gas and food stops included, so it makes for a pretty gruelling day. I enjoy riding but even for me that much time in the saddle in that space of time is pushing it.
In actuality, calling it a fundraisng ride isn't entirely accurate. I ride because I believe the legacy of Terry Fox needs to be supported and promoted. To me he represents the best of what we can be as Canadians and as people. I do believe that had he not put himself through the rigours of the Marathon of Hope he probably wouldn't be dead, so he paid a huge price so that others could benefit. The actual initial inspiration for the ride was a meeting with a little girl, Allison Hapgood, niece of a couple of riding buddies.She at that time also had osteosarcoma (she was 12 when I met her) but refused to let the diagnosis dull her spirit. I'd been involved with the Terry Fox Run for years, at one point co-ordinating the event for St. John's, so it all just came together and the ride was born. The money is nice because it helps the cause but I try not to get too caught up in that piece. Most years I reach my goal, This year so far I haven't. I puzzle at why people would not support an undertaking honouring Terry Fox, especially when this foundation gives a greater percentage of funds collected to front line research than any of the other bigger, more well publicised events. However, I have to let that go because everyone has their reasons for supporting or not, so I'm just grateful for the support I do get. I've had supporters who always come through year after year and some who support one or two years and then don't. I'm at the point now where I do the ride and the money raised is the money raised. I feel I've done my part to honor Terry and remember the spirit of a brave little girl who lost her battle.
I left at 8:00 am from the Terry Fox Monument at the harbour side, where Terry began his Marathon of Hope on a chilly April day in 1980.
Most years it's pretty routine. I ride, stop for gas as needed, eat at the turn around point in central NL, and head home. This year's ride did have an unfortunate glitch as I was within sight of the finish line, so to speak, having reached Whitbourne on the return leg and pulled in for my last gas stop. However, when I went to start the bike to head for home, within 100 kms of finishing the ride, the bike wouldn't respond. Turns out an electrical gremlin had caused a short and I was dead in the water... or on the parking lot. So, the last leg of the ride was done with me sitting in the cab of a tow truck and the bike on the flat bed behind. The guys at Toy Box who always do my servicing figured things out fairly quickly and had me back on the road the following day. I did ride out to the gas station in Whitbourne and ride the last leg "officially" but it was very disappointing to have gotten so far and have the goal of completing the ride in 24 hours snatched from me. I guess when you're riding a 15 year old bike with over a 100,000 kms on it there is always the potential for problems. However, I can't bring myself to part with the Magna, even though I do have two other bikes to ride, including the big tourer, Honda ST 1300, that is probably better suited for such a run. However, the Magna and I have been through a lot together since I bought it seven yeas ago with only 18,000 kms on it.
Weather wise, it ain't been much of what one can call a summer here in NL and I left under overcast skies, with cool temps. I rode in those conditions all the way, even had some rain for good measure. To add to my frustration with the breakdown, the only bit of sun and warmer temps I did encounter occurred when I got in to Whitbourne on that return leg. I was looking forward to riding home under blue skies and relative warmth, but c'est la vie. Terry Fox ran 143 days straight, averaging a marathon a day, often under a lot worse weather!
So this year's ride is done. I do have over $1100.00 committed or pledged, and that is good. My fund raising page is open until the actual Terry Fox Run day on the third Sunday of September, so if anyone wants to support the initiative the opportunity is still there. Here's the link: http://www.terryfox.ca/HighwayMan I am grateful I was able to do the ride again this year and am very appreciative of the support I did receive.
Until my next adventure, See Ya Out There.... Ride One!