A serene and relaxing 62 kilometre ride from Salmon Arm to Vernon greeted us this glorious morning.
A 7:45 a.m. start took the ALS Cycle of Hope past lush green valleys, idillic farms, rolling hills, and a glistening lake that kept our eyes glued to the scenery as much as the highways in front of us for the approximately four-hour bike ride on day three of our week-long tour.
After a challenging ride yesterday, I took the opportunity to focus on letting go of work, the stress of daily responsibilities and the pressures of life, to ride and be with teammates as if this was the only thing happening in the world.
These moments are rare and fleeting. Like most people living busy lives, taking the opportunity to relax and just https://www.acheterviagrafr24.com/prix-viagra/ be, felt almost surreal as I reflected on the past while biking the meandering highways that would take us into Vernon.
I thought to myself how fortunate I was to be cycling for a cause I believe in so deeply and remembered my friend Rick Kintzinger who passed away from ALS before getting the opportunity to see his children and grandchildren grow up like he would have given absolutely anything to do.
The days have been long, so I am weary, my saddle sore, and my thighs’ heavy from the 115 kilometre leg from Kamloops to Salmon Arm, but I reminded myself how fortunate I was to feel this way. Today, pedalling with 11 teammates who all ride this tour for the same reasons, I reminded myself that this pain is in fact a gift.
It is a gift families would trade anything to give loved ones suffering from a disease that erodes muscles to the point that those in the advanced stages find lifting a spoon to their
mouth, or tying their own shoelace challenging or even impossible.
ALS steals independence, taking the ability eat, brush your own teeth or even go to the washroom. It is a life sentence where your lungs will no longer function pumping oxygen in and carbon dioxide out. There is only one outcome for those with ALS because there is no cure.
Knowing that, while soaked in the beauty of a hot but scenic bike ride in a picturesque valley, I am thankful for throbbing legs and the sweat pouring off my forehead – I know how fortunate I am to feel this pain today and every day I choose to.
The goal is hope. For a day when that gift will be available for everyone, including those diagnosed with ALS. Having seen the alternative first hand, I know how lucky I am to be hurting as much as I am, and any thought otherwise would be an insult to those that really know what pain is.
Arnold Lim is a photojournalist with the newspapers of Black
Press and one of 12 riders on the ALS Cycle of Hope from Kamloops to Keremeos, August 6-13. Day
4 takes the team from Vernon to Kelowna August 9. For more information about the tour or to check out his daily blog posts visit cycleofhope.ca