Like anything we do in life, even the most memorable event, it is the people we do it with that makes the occasion special. The MS tours are no exception. Hundreds of people doing something for others and having a great time doing it.
I think of my friend Anna, who very kindly lent me two rechargeable batteries when mine pooped out on the first morning of the tour. Or her husband Edmond who took this photo of me climbing the first hill of the day. Or water-filtration Don who reads my blog and just kicks ass on the trail - I only saw him once or twice and then he was gone with the strong riders.
Then there is Brant who generously gave me a ride to my hotel after the first day's tour. Tired, wet and covered in mud, I very much appreciated his kindness. Or Al and Stew who, on behalf of the MS Society gave up their Wednesday evenings to coach us on mountain biking techniques and amazed us with stories of their many mountain biking experiences.
Or the marshall who complemented me, just before the above picture was taken, on how well I climbed that hill. I thought he was just flattering me, but when I ran into him at the first checkstop, he assured me that his comments were sincere. No wonder I look so happy in the photo.
Mirko comes to mind as a memorable personage. He went out of his way to remember my name as he felt sure he'd see me on the tour. What a nice thing to do. My daughter Jackie made Cosmic Power Cookies that tasted scrumptuous and warmed me up when I was chilled and wet.
What about those volunteers who were cheering and clapping whenever a cyclist pulled into a rest stop? Their actions always made me feel special and while I often think that what we are doing is no big deal, their appreciation makes me realise that all of us are doing something out of the ordinary.
Then there's my wife Janet who spends a good part of her year as a cycling widow and especially during the Hinton tour, has to amuse herself for hours and yet be ready to pick us up at the drop off point while not knowing when we'll finish the day's tour.
And I mustn't forget Barb who came so many months ago to our MS garage sale and whose smiling face always brightens the trail. Or Peter who is such a strong rider and has completed what is it? Twelve tours? Three or four of them Mountain Tours. And he's an awesome fundraiser to boot.
I salute you all!