When Diana Nyad, the 64 old woman who swam from Cuba to Florida, climbed out the ocean last week she made a breathless speech to the waiting media: “I have three messages: one is we should never ever give up; two is you are never too old to chase your dreams; and three is it looks like a solitary sport but it is a team.”
Now I am back on dry land (and face the prospect of a warm bed in Montreal tonight), I hope you will allow me the indulgence of sharing my three messages:
1 you lack nothing if you have enough determination (and M&Ms)
2 always cycle with the wind
3 this may have looked like a solitary adventure but I could not have made it all to way to Halifax without you.
Let me expand on message 3. The last leg of my journey was in some ways the toughest. I was tired, I ached, I frequently went to bed at 8.30pm, avocado had lost its appeal, it rained more and the hills in Cape Breton were ridiculous. If I have cycled farther it is because I was supported by the legs of others. You got me on the road and you kept me going: thank you.
(I won’t mention names but I did think it would be highly amusing to post photographs of all your legs.)
Thank you to the people who hosted me, gave me food, and helped me launder my pongy socks. Thank you for the stories you shared, the eggs you fried, and the kindness you showed me.
Thank you strangers for coming to help. Thank your for pulling over in your car on the hot days to ask if I had enough water. Thank you for the pizza, for the car keys, for turning up on the roadside with a track pump, for letting me sleep in the hut when I was too tired to pitch my tent. Thank you for the small gestures that made my day.
Thank you friends, family and followers for cheery and amusing tweets, emails and blog comments. Thank you for putting up with me talking about nothing else except cycling across Canada for such a long time. (And apologies in advance for the large number of sentences I will now begin with “when I was cycling across Canada…”)
Thank you to all who helped me with my preparation, planning and training. From getting my body (and lumbar spine) in shape to telling me that I could do it when it all felt like too much. Thank you for beautiful practice rides in the Cotswold hills, advice on kit, kit as Christmas presents, encouragement, support and generally getting me to the start.
Thank you employers for giving me 3 months off work.
Thank you fellow trans Canada cyclists for laughter and bemusement on route. Thank you for excellent blog writing, advice and campsite recommendations. For many an excellent moment of s’more toasting, hill climbing and eagle spotting. I will remember you fondly.
Thank you bears for not eating me.
Thank you Cycle with Dino cyclists for logging your trips. For encouraging my legs to keep spinning to follow your own honest miles. Thank you for dusting off your old bike, for cycling to work, from Le to Jog, in time trials, holiday spins, day rides, and early morning wildlife spotting rides. Each mile you pedalled inspired me to keep going. I imagined you pedalling with me and it really, really helped. You cycled 11,724km – that’s all the way across Canada and halfway back.
Thank you web master for creating the coolest blog map and for updating the dinomometer.
Thank you Monty for being a true and trusty steed. Thank you for not developing any mechanic problems that I could not fix. Thank you for spinning in the sunshine and persevering in the rain.
Thank you Canada for an amazing adventure.
Together we cycled from sea to sea.
Oh, and the moment you’ve all been waiting for! What do legs look like after they’ve cycled 7,500km?