Despite waking in a fog, I knew something was amiss.
Approximately 100 kilometres into transport from Tsawwassen Ferry terminal to Kamloops for the start of the ALS Cycle of Hope, something is off. I just don’t know what it is yet.
Sitting to my left, known prankster and tour co-founder Robin Farrell, looks conspicuously innocent alongside fellow riders and support crew for the 500 km journey from Kamloops to Keremeos.
A quick check in my iPhone reveals no errant moustaches or other such graffiti emblazoned on my forehead while I slept, but something tells me there is more going on than my driving mates are letting on. I let it go temporarily, because my mind is beginning to wander.
I realize it has been six months since we started training for this journey and every rider and support crew member was a complete stranger to me only a few short months ago. That has changed completely now.
A shared vision, countless hours sweating and pedalling the undulating terrain of Vancouver Island, laughing at each others silly stories and fundraising has brought us together as a team I am proud of. But it dawns on me this will exist in its current form, with the same riders for only seven more days.
On the eve of the ride all 12 of us have worked so hard to prepare for, I found myself feeling nostalgic about a journey I haven’t lived yet. Scrambling in my own mind, I look at my iPhone for a schedule a year away, wondering if I can somehow arrange my life to pave my return next year.
Looking over at the faces of teammates I have spent most of my spare time with over the past six months, I feel silly searching for ways to fill a gap in my life that doesn’t exist yet because those same people and I, will be spending every waking moment together for the next seven days.
It literally makes no sense I tell myself. Hours away from the first beads of sweat forming on the brows of 12 cyclists including myself, I already miss the camaraderie I know I will see plenty of as we embark on a ride to raise funds and awareness for families with ALS.
After taking this time to reflect, it’s then I notice the black felt dotting my ear. Little felt marks obviously drawn while I slept unsuspecting, line my left ear as I peruse the hotel mirror at the handiwork of the same teammates I look forward to seeing every week.
Instead of washing it away, I gingerly add another dot and a squiggly mouth with a marker of my own, turning the scrawl into a smily face on my ear lobe.
Hours from a journey I have looked forward to for six months, my nostalgia, however misguided or inappropriate, is smiling on my ear – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Arnold Lim is a photojournalist with the newspapers of Black Press and one of 12 riders on the ALS Cycle of Hope where 12 riders pedal from Kamloops to Keremeos, August 6-13. Check out his daily blog posts on cycleofhope.ca