DAY 12: SALMON ARM TO FINISH LINE/CRASH SITE (East of Sicamous)
With great excitement and anticipation I sprung up and messily threw my gear on the bike for what was to be the final day of my challenge.
It was a late start which wasn’t much of a concern as it was going to be a short, easy day from Salmon Arm to my finish line 71km away.
I peddled off full of excitement and feeling stronger than ever!
The day started with a series of climbs out of Salmon Arm, on the steep side but short and nothing to worry about. The weather was overcast with a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon so I wanted to crush out the day hopefully before I saw any lightning.
Having spent 10 days in the area after my crash, I had become quite familiar with the terrain and any hazards that were ahead of me. I pushed through the first 40km of my day and made it to Sicamous just as the rain started.
I hid out in Blondies Coffee Shop for a while, warming up with a latte and hiding from the rain, hoping it would pass over.
After 45 minutes of downpour I was pretty confident it wasn’t going to blow over, at least not before I reached my finish line, so I bit the bullet, threw on my rain jacked, pulled up my socks and set off.
Though you might think ending my journey in the p@&$!?g rain might have been somewhat disappointing, it was actually quite the contrary.
It had been raining last time I was riding through these valleys. I had been soggy and wet when I crashed the bike a month before. It was almost as if nothing had happened In between.
Even when I was completely saturated, rain cascading from my helmet, face, fingertips and feet I was happy, ecstatic!
as I wound around the twisty highway I peered around the corners with great anticipation, wondering when I was going to come across that all too familiar stretch of shoulder where I had wiped out.
Over bridges and train lines, passed the lush, green peaks of the Monashee Mountains, the road wrapped around the valley as it plunged to the basin below, the Eagle River running alongside it the whole way.
Things were beginning to look too familiar!
I was so close!
All of a sudden I rounded a corner and and knew, without a shadow of a doubt, I had made it!
I looked around, I looked around again!
I studied my map and compared my surroundings to the photos I had taken the month before, just to make absolutely sure I was where I thought I was.
I was so meticulous about it I even lined up the cracks in the road and trees in my photos with what I was looking at.
It was over!
I had finished!
1200km, wind, rain, snow, searing heat, insanely steep climbs, long winding drops, rivers, streams and mountain tops.
Broken bones and phone calls home.
It had all just ended in an instant and in that moment...I realized just how much my arse hurt!
But It didn‘t matter. Not even a little bit!
I knew that if it wasn’t for the pain that had come along with this adventure it wouldn’t have been the same.
The broken clavicle had allowed be to rest and reconnect with great friends and make new ones, had allowed me to experience places a would have otherwise blasted through in a hurry.
The tender derriere had slowed me down. Allowed me to take things in in more detail. Been a fantastic incentive to stop and take photos and the niggling ache, oh the niggling ache, had almost forced me to swim in a lake or two just to soothe the pain.
With every wall I had faced, an adjacent door had been opened and had led me to experiences and in turn, memories I will never forget.
I remember every kilometre of this journey with fondness!
It has taught me patience, taught me to improvise, it has taught me resilience and to believe in myself.
The didn’t just follow a road to the pacific, I followed it to places of self discovery and self understanding.
I have worked through my own mental traumas and come out on the other side unscathed and free of my own mental restraints that had held me back for the majority of my life.
This may all seem very corny but for me it is all true!
As I stood on the side of the highway with my bike at my feet and my thumb out, I was finally ready to go home!
To all who helped me along the way, there are too many names to mention, thank you.
Thank you for the messages of support when I felt most down!
Thank you for the couches,
the friends, old and new
the hospitality you gave me!
Thank you for the memories I made!
I couldn’t have done it without you!
Thank you Mum for being my biggest cheerleader and knowing just what to say when I was vulnerable, stressed or strained!
And finally, thank you for the donations you have made to Save The Children Canada!
It all means the world to me!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
ALL THE BANGERS!
If you feel that all children deserve to be loved and nurtured and want to donate to a great charity go here