Our eighth day on the road was wet and cold. A chat and a very generous donation from a friendly man as we left the hotel perked us up, then we headed into Lindsay for a departure as understated as last night’s arrival. We got the bike and the boys ready for their rainy ride, and as enthusiastically as ever Max climbed into his pod and Andrew pedaled off into the rain.
The support crew, who can usually find some sort of activity to entertain ourselves, today decided to head straight to our midday meeting spot to check out lunch options as a picnic in the downpour wasn’t very enticing. We sat by the side of the road with the rain beating down, me in the van and Grandma and Grandpa in their car. I pulled out the laptop, the camera and my iPhone and whilst tracking Andrew’s progress on Find My Friends, I exported photos to an external hard drive, sent off a few emails and texts, and tried updating our website using the painfully slow Wi-Fi connection from my phone. I barely had that done when it was time to hop back out of the van to film Andrew emerging from the bushes. I have to admit that when we set off on this journey I had envisaged a lot more time spent with my feet propped up on the dashboard, reading a book and getting a tan. Unfortunately the life of a soigneur is not as laid back as I’d once thought. Between preparing meals, buying supplies, keeping the admin up to date and driving from location to location, there's hardly any time to relax at all! You’d almost think that we had the hard job.
Over an excellent lunch at a small diner in Sunderland, Max told me that he now wants to be a ninja when he grows up having just chatted to Andrew for an hour and a half about what this career choice involves. We finished up and the boys got back on the bike to complete today’s journey to Uxbridge.
As we prepared to greet a few visitors at today’s Kawartha Dairy ice cream shop (and no, I didn’t eat another one today), we put the word out that Max doesn’t yet know about his condition so could everyone please refrain from mentioning it to him. The vast majority of people have been fantastically understanding and tactful when it comes to this line of conversation, focusing on the adventurous aspect of the ride rather than the reason behind it, but due to a couple of potentially confusing comments to our little Max, we now have to take this precaution. You might assume that he knows given the public nature of what we’re undertaking, but Max is only four and isn’t yet old enough to comprehend his limitations or the serious implications that they have.
We had a couple of significant people come down and greet Andrew’s arrival today which made his 55km slog in the rain and cold seem all the more worth it. An owner of the Hamilton Bulldogs ice hockey team came down with his family to say hello and give us an extremely generous donation – a fantastic and very rewarding end to Andrew’s hard day in the saddle. Also there was a mum to two boys who also have DMD. She was actually the first mum I’ve had the chance to speak with about the condition and the impact it has had on our families, so it was terrific to meet her and to get the sense that we’re not in this alone.
What started as a slightly depressing day ended with the feeling that what we’re doing is meaningful and potentially – hopefully – worthwhile. It has definitely been worth it to meet the extraordinary people that we have so far. So with only three days to go, we headed back to the hotel for a shower where Andrew threatened to use all of the hot water in the taps. Thankfully tomorrow’s forecast is looking more promising.