Saturday, July 23 - T-minus 1 day
by Peter Harte
The past few weeks have been a bit of a blur to me when I think about them now. Travelling around Europe and leaving my job all within a two-week period can do that I suppose. But now that I've packed up my stuff and put it into the trucks, what I'm about to do is actually starting to set in. I love the feelings my body gets when I'm around Bike Rally friends. I heard it was close to 35 degrees today, but I swear I had goosebumps when I first saw the cargo trucks and people packing their things into the two bins that we're allowed to fill. Even in the heat everyone was smiling and giving tight sweaty hugs and I was reminded why I love this ride so much.
There is so much work that goes in preparation for this ride and I'm sure I don't even know the half of it. I arrived at "packing day" (Saturday, the day before the 600-plus-km fundraising ride to Montreal starts) where there were crew members in action since 9:00 a.m. and ready to help with packing tips and final details before we sett off on our 6 day journey to Montreal. The "Rubbermaid Rustlers" who spent the majority of today in the back of cube vans stacking all of the bins from riders had it the hardest. Those trucks are HOT inside! It always amazes me how much VOLUNTEERED time goes into this ride and the cause that it supports. I see the crew members doing this heavy lifting, waking up early mornings, preparing food, marking routes, and I sometimes feel like I have it easy. All I have to do is ride my bike for 6 days, and to me that is a joyful thing. It reminds me why I am doing this ride in the first place. I am terribly lucky to say that I have not known anyone close to me who has died from HIV-related causes. I am again terribly lucky to not have known anyone close to me die or suffer from any terminal illness. It wasn't until maybe two years ago that it really hit me that I have never fundraised for any cause or used the connections and resources that I have to help support those less fortunate. When I thought about what cause makes sense for me to give back to and what I could do to make a difference, the Friends for Life Bike Rally stood out like nothing else. I absolutely love riding my bike and I believe it honestly does make me a better person. If people are willing to donate because I am riding to Montreal, and if it is something that I enjoy doing anyway, then how could I not participate in this ride?
The day before any kind of endurance event is always my favourite; giving myself excuses to eat what I want, rest as much as I want, and go to bed at 9 p.m. if I want, are things that I'd like to be doing anyway. Tomorrow morning will be the first day of six doing everything I love in life. I hope you enjoy following my trip as much as I do riding it.
Peter will be writing about his journey to Montreal here on dandyhorsemagazine for the next week. This is his second time riding to Montreal with the Friends for Life Bike Rally.
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