We’d been planning the ConnecTour cross-Canada cycle-touring ride for 16 months. Had it ever crossed my mind that one of us would be injured and off the ride for more than seven weeks?
I know I certainly didn’t. Ever the optimist, I was excited to start on the four-month ride to discover our beautiful country with Doug and our friends, and meet people from all walks of life.
Disappointment doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling of being sidelined after a fluky fall off my bike on a secondary road south of Saskatoon in which I broke my collar bone and was unconscious for several minutes. Every day, I am grateful I didn’t end up with a brain injury.
Life is all about adapting to surprises, good and bad. And after spending five hours in the emergency room getting a battery of tests, I left Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon with an arm sling and a plan. I’d fly to southern Ontario to stay with my mother and see my three sisters and heal up until I could rejoin the ride.
I was reminded how lucky I am to have a family who will drop everything on a moment’s notice, pick you up at the airport, help you get dressed and even open a bottle of Prosecco for you at cocktail hour. (Thanks, Mom!) Not to mention, let you swim in their pool and pick ripe tomatoes from their garden. (Thanks, Karen and Chris Abraham!)
Naturally, everyone was at first alarmed and worried about me but were more than delighted with my plan to hang out and heal up. For the next six weeks, I tried not to feel sorry for myself but rather look at this as a way to spend time with my 83-year-old mom, my three sisters, brothers-in-law and get to meet some grand-nieces and nephews I hadn’t yet met.
I also had a plan to rejoin the ride down the road, but nothing solid. Until a couple of weeks later, I woke up in the middle of the night with an idea. I would buy a used minivan (I was in Windsor after all, the minivan-making capital of Canada) and drive to meet the gang in Tobermory, about six hours north.
With the help of one of my sister’s friend’s connections, I would end up buying a snazzy 2016 Grand Caravan Crew at a reasonable price. (Thanks Craig Lanoue, owner of Amfar Auto Sales and Leasing
in Tilbury!) Then we’d sell it in St. John’s or drive it back to Calgary. We will cross that bridge later.
Meanwhile, I am thrilled to be reunited with Doug and Rick and Tanya McFerrin – even in my support vehicle role. (Side note: I hope to be back my Surly bicycle in a couple of weeks, in time to ride the beautiful Eastern Townships of Quebec and beyond to Atlantic Canada.)
No, driving the van is certainly not the same as getting up every morning and cruising down country roads with the sun on your back or sweating up endless hills on your bike. But I’m here in the company of good friends – and more to meet along the way.
Two big thank yous: To all my friends who reached out to me on Facebook, by phone and email and invited me out for dinner and drinks in Windsor. And to my family, I can never repay you for your warm welcome, everyday help, and just being there when I needed you.