Friday, May 6, 2011

The End Of the Story

You might be wondering whatever happened to the rest of the story about the Day Two of the MS Tour?  In my enthusiasm to tell you about my training session in the river valley last Sunday, I skipped filling you in on the rest of the story.

MS Tour Day Two (Part Two)

As I tore away from lunch (and some welcome shade), I spotted my new friend Anna coming toward me and as we passed each other like two ships in the night, I realized that this might be my only opportunity to give her my email address so she could send me the picture she took of me the day before and thereby pump up my already large ego.
By the time I had turned around, Anna was already lost in the throng surrounding the lunch stop.  When I finally did catch up, she was pleased that I had made the effort.  We exchanged war stories and contact information.  I figured I could return her favour by reaching Nisku first and taking a picture of her crossing the finishline.  I needn't have worried as her man Edwin, a skilled photog. was all over it.

Once again, I came across a group of  ladies who had been shadowing the tour all day.  They would drive a short distance, stop their car, disembark and stand at the roadside cheering cyclists as they passed this happy spot.  I was touched by their gesture and told them how awesome they were as I passed.  Their efforts made me feel special and it reminded me that we were all participating in something larger than ourselves.

The last big hill before the finish line was not nearly as bad as I remembered from last year, when I did my first tour.  The trick was to choose a low gear and a high cadence combination.  How long it takes to complete the hill is not a concern as this is a tour and not a race.  Plus it would be a shame to injure yourself at this stage - when you've almost completed the whole tour.

A typical salute
 I thought about all the different victory poses I could choose when crossing the finish line.  A military salute like the one I give to thoughtful drivers?  The Churchill V for victory?  A hockey style fist pump? Two arms up like in the Tour De France?  Instead I opted out for a big smile, especially when I saw my friend Haydn (who has MS) volunteering to cheer riders completing the tour and crossing the finish line.  The fact that there was a cheering section told me that I had made better time than other tours.  Two years ago when I crossed the finish line during the second day of the MS Hinton Mountain Tour, volunteers were taking down banners and disassembling the scaffolding that made a neat victory arch over the finish line.  I was glad to have a helmet on just in case a piece of the arch fell on my head as I passed underneath!

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