Well, a couple of weeks have now gone past since my ride and I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and some extra sleeping to try to catch up. First of all, I think the most important thing to talk about is the amazing impact that this ride had for the Alzheimer Society and the amazing amount of funds raised. Even after the day, funds have continued to trickle in, and with a couple of last minute donations, the cash donated on the day, and the proceeds of cookie and lemonade sales, the grand total stands at $22,527.86!
That is an amount of money that I never dreamed I could raise. As I said elsewhere, $10,000 wasn’t a number I thought I could actually raise, and then to more than double that is beyond amazing. Numbers are great, and that sounds pretty impressive, right? Here’s another number which is even more impressive: 275. Two hundred seventy five is the number of families that this donation will allow to access the First Link Program. Somehow putting the total into that metric really brings it home for me.
The other amazing thing about this ride was the fantastic support of all the people who came out to cheer, and who came out to ride support laps with me. 280 laps were ridden in support of me. That meant that I rarely had to ride alone, and when I did, it was only for a couple of laps at a time. Some rode a lot of laps with me, some rode a few laps with me, but each of those laps was so gratefully received. I went back to the book where we recorded laps and here are all the people I have a record of: James, Ken, Danielle, Janice, Charlotte, Gwen, Lynn, Jeevan, Elliot, Paul, Amber, Ryan, Nicole, Mike, Anita, Mike, Tanya, Shymmon, David, Holly, Donna, Wayne, William, Sasha, Steven, Trish, Pat, Kat, Peggy, Pam, Chantal, Duncan, Matthew, Logan, Jarett, Aleta, Darren, and Pierce. I think there were a few others who didn’t make it on the list, so if I forgot you, please email me!
I didn’t keep track of all the people who made an appearance to cheer me on, but I want to say a particular thanks to those who manned my feed station and fulfilled my occasionally strange requests – bottles of skratch, of gatorade, of water, of vanilla coke, eat more bar, chips, fruit, gummies, crepes, and later in the night a hamburger. These kind souls are: Paul, Donna, Brian, Kelly, Parnell, Tessa, Elsa, Julie, Jackie, Nicole, Darren, Mike, Dawn, Rachel, Sue, and Jan. Thank you! Again, the list may not catch everyone so if I missed you please let me know. I am grateful to every single person who came out in support and for all the applause and cheers I got at the top each time. An extra special thanks to those who were there in the night – in Calgary in June it has to be pretty late/early to be out in the dark so I appreciate all the people who stuck it out in the wee hours. Also, to those who came out after night shift – I know how post nights feels, so thanks for hanging with me.
I should probably have started this article by thanking Aleta, but here it is in this section. She put so much effort into this event on my behalf, and I would not have been able to complete a fraction of what I did without her patience, support, and love. While I was off “training” ie, riding my bike (which is fun) she was at home with our platoon of children holding down the fort. I know that the spouses of many endurance athletes are long suffering souls, and Aleta is no exception.
While I’m thanking Ambroses – I have to say a huge thank you to my in-laws, Hilluary and Sally. They stepped in and pretty much ran the kids while Aleta and I were at the ride. They also did lots of supporting in the days leading up to the ride. And, last but not least, the delicious eat more bar was courtesy of Sally. Again, I could not have done it without their support. Thanks!
I’m going to answer a few questions that I’ve been asked several times so that everyone who’s been wondering but is too shy to ask can know the answer. No, I didn’t have any chafing – chamois cream is our friend. No, I didn’t want to sell my bike after. Yes, I’ve ridden my bike since. Yes, the massage the next day was incredibly painful. No, I may not drink skratch mix for a very long time. And lastly, I’m not sure what’s happening next year.
The everesting is legit, and all signed off – you can view the infographic of the ride here. I feel a bit compelled to talk about this part because all in all it’s a little bittersweet. I joined one pretty amazing club – I am number 4 in Alberta and number 31 in Canada to complete an everesting. And yet, the higher goal was so tantalizingly close – I did literally 89% of my 10,000 m goal. Something feels unfinished. I won’t say I failed, because the bigger, more important and more meaningful activity was the awareness and fundraising activities, but, as I said, I feel like I didn’t achieve part of my objective. A lot of people have asked me if it was harder than I thought it was going to be, and the answer is no, it wasn’t harder, because I knew it was going to be tough. I feel disappointed that after all the preparation I didn’t execute properly to get myself enough sleep before hand. I think we all have things that are a bit bittersweet, and for me this is one. I keep playing it back in my head – if I’d gone faster would I have not run out of sleep? If I hadn’t stopped as much, would I have been in better shape? What if I hadn’t slowed down to ride the lap with Charlotte and cheer her on? I guess I could torture myself forever with what ifs.
If you recall my post on the history of everesting, you will remember that George Leigh Mallory’s grandson was the one who came up with this crazy activity. George Leigh Mallory, among many others, has a quote which I think is fitting to this situation:
Have we vanquished an enemy? None but ourselves. Have we gained success? That word means nothing here.
On both counts, the fundraising, and completing the everesting, I did something that on several occassions, I thought was impossible. Around midnight I ran out of steam – of food, of sleep, and of hope. James the Sherpa, my other friends, a stranger or two, and my family all helped me pull through that moment. I pushed on when I thought I couldn’t any more.
I’m proud of that, and I’m grateful that there are those around me who support me.
As a last thought to leave with you with, I want to challenge, and to support each one of you to go out into the world and do something amazing. Do something that raises your personal bar of what you think you’re capable of – you’ll be amazed at the results.