The week started with two sendoffs from two very different sources.
The first was a letter from Canada’s Governor General David Johnston to the participants in the 2013 tour which marks the 25th anniversary of the Tour du Canada. You can view the letter by clicking HERE.
The second, but no less important, was a post on the TdC members bulletin board from Alan M., a veteran of TdC 2000 as well as numerous other cycling tours. Alan is a frequent contributor to the bulletin board offering sage advice, comments, information and inspiration. I was moved by his message posted under the heading “Tailwinds All” and with his permission am honoured to reprint it here:
Wishing all of you on TdC 2013 a safe and enjoyable journey…
About now you’re squeezing in the last few training rides or puzzling over how to box your bike and pack your gear. You’re checking the date/time on your plane ticket for the thousandth time. You’re agonizing over little things such as whether to take three after-ride t-shirts or two (four?!? really?).
To all those on Tour du Canada 2013 … you are about to clip in for the most amazing adventure of your lives.
Enjoy the journey to its fullest — the hot days and cold, the sunny days and rainy, the headwinds and tailwinds, the uphill spins and the downhill thrills, and most of all the elusive “no chain” days.
Remember that strong teams are built with diverse threads, woven into a strong fabric that carries everyone along. Always pay it forward: support your TDC teamies at every chance — there will be days when you’ll gratefully be on the receiving side.
Turn around and face west every once in a while to even out your tan.
Remember that you’re not out to conquer anything, rather to become one with the land, the road, the people along the way, the sun and, yes, the wind and rain.
Savour Canada in all its splendour — the peoples and places, the sights and smells, the vistas and voices, the birdsongs and the critter crossings.
Relish the incredible feeling of freedom that will overwhelm you as you spin out of Vancouver, all the other cares of the world left behind, if but for an all-too-brief summer.
When you catch the scent of freshly-baked cinnamon buns in the calm and cool early-morning, follow your nose to the bakery and stop to enjoy one, or two.
Most of all, remember that Tour du Canada is a journey, not a destination, and that each day within the Tour is its own journey to be enjoyed to the fullest.
To dream anything that you want to dream,
That is the beauty of the human mind.
To do anything you want to do,
That is the strength of the human will.
To trust yourself to test your limits,
That is the courage to succeed.
– Bernard Edmonds
In bocca al lupo!
Alan added that the Italian phrase “in bocca al lupo” (into the mouth of a wolf) came from an article in Bicycling Magazine about a rider, having an abysmal ride, being pulled along by his friends.
I also received a final list of riders for this summer’s tour. There will be 24 of us, ranging in age from 23 to 71. There will be 8 women and 16 men from the UK, USA, Australia, and all across Canada. We will be joined by 3 TdC vets who will be joining us for portions of the trip. I’m sure it will be a very interesting group and I can’t wait to meet them. It looks like most will be arriving in Vancouver on the 17th in time for the optional side trip over to Victoria and back on the 18th and 19th.
What awesome send offs Skipper! I am so excited for you and will live vicariously through your blog.
On your Mile 0 ride to Victoria, you’ll be met by John T, formerly from St. Albert before moving to the Island. John and I go way back as friends in Waterloo. Say “HI!” to John for me please!
I look forward to following your adventure, and maybe I’ll see you when our paths cross in August in Baddeck, you coming off the Cabot Trail, and me just finishing Tour Atlantic.
Trip most certainly will Alan. I look forward to visiting with John in Victoria as he is the one who first hold me about TdC.
Hopefully we’ll meet up in Baddeck!
Neil safe journey my friend – enjoy! You’re amazing!
Neil, have a great trip! I’m sure you are in for a wonderful and life enriching experience and I certainly look forward to reading your blog this summer. It won’t be the same here without you but we’re thrilled that you get to make this ride. Be safe and enjoy! James