Check out this wonderful post by my riding partner and good friend, Brian Kaplansky.
As most of you already know, the original Spirit Ride 2015 which was a 7000 km cycling journey from Inuvik Northwest Territories to Point Pelee, Ontario was terminated on day 3 of the ride when my cycling partner Don, the visionary of Spirit Ride 2015, crashed just outside Dawson City and broke his hip and shoulder. He was airlifted to Vancouver and had 2 pins placed in his right hip and is now back home in Mississauga recuperating.
The cause however is very much alive and well and the funds raised have created biking and leadership programs in 10 Aboriginal communities. All youth need tools to help them shape their future. By supporting these programs, you have provided many Aboriginal youth with confidence-building tools that all children need to feel inspired about their future.
I was planning to fly out to Winnipeg to meet Don and his nephew Rob and ride with them for 2000 kms from Winnipeg to Point Pelee. When the planned ride was cancelled, my wife Nancy came up with an alternative to keep the spirit of Spirit Ride 2015 alive.
Along with Nancy and her sister Jo-Ann (the world’s best support crew mandated with the responsibility of driving the van and always keeping within 20 kms of me, responsible for outstanding photography, and keeping me well nourished and hydrated and safe), we flew to Calgary and our 6 day journey took us 1500 kms. from Banff to Lake Louise and along the Columbia Icefield Highway to Jasper and back to Lake Louise. We then tackled the Golden Triangle from Lake Louise crossing the Continental Divide to Radium Hot Springs B.C to Golden B.C and then to Field B.C through the famous Kicking Horse pass.
I cycled over 600 kms in 4 days and climbed 18,000 feet which included the 4 main passes in the region; The Bow Valley Pass and the Sunwapta Pass on The Columbia Icefield Highway, the Vermillion Pass just outside Radium Hot Springs, and the Kicking Horse Pass between Golden and Field B.C. The longest pass was 16 kms of a steady 7 % incline with the last 4 kms varying between 8% and 11% incline. The scariest moment was when I reached the speed of 71.4 kms per hour (crazy Canuck) going downhill on the Bow Valley Pass.
We journeyed alongside the forest fires of Maligne Canyon just outside Jasper (which forced us to take a day off in Jasper due to poor air quality to canoe and hike and indulge in vast amounts of delicious food); biked in temperatures ranging from 9 degrees to 32 degrees (requiring constant change of gear); brilliant sunshine to torrential downpours (requiring constant change of eyewear); chased by a wild coyote (luckily I was cycling downhill and outran him); personal escort out of Radium by 2 Longhorn sheep; wildlife sightings of bear (not close enough to give me the opportunity to try out my recently purchased Bear Spray that I always carried in one of my 4 water bottle holders ); more wildlife sightings of elk and caribou and fox and bald headed eagles; 13,000 calories burned in 4 days of riding( and way more consumed to keep me fuelled and happy); a whole lot of stretching of every muscle and joint in my body; and best of all, not even a scratch or a bruise (well, except for the numb testicles that required constant adjustment)
Thanks to all of you who supported me on this journey through generous donations, and to my trainers and therapists who helped prepare me for this event, and to Don Patterson, who single handedly has changed the lives of hundreds of Aboriginal youth through his tireless effort to establish, what has now become, a self-sustaining program to give the Aboriginal youth a better chance to build their dreams and realize their potential.
And, last but not least, a big thank you to my wife Nancy for putting up with my compulsive training and for coming up with the ‘ Alternative Plan A ‘ ; and along with Jo-Ann, helping to make it happen….
Kootenay National Park
Mississauga gas station in May: Brian and Don refuel with chocolate milk after a long training ride