July 8

July 9th, 2007

I left Sudbury with a big smile on my face. I’m really glad I took the time to back track to the city. At one point people were telling me to either skip Sudbury, or just drive back to it and skate from there. But me being me, I refused to take the easy way out. After all, people who fight cancer can’t take any shortcuts. So we headed back to the highway and back toward Espanola. But this time I wasn’t stopping in Espanola. I was heading for Sault Ste. Marie.


And early morning e-mail from CBC radio in Sudbury lead to a roadside interview about 20 km out of town. Erik White had head about me and took the time to drive out to meet me on the side of the highway even though it was Sunday. He recorded the interview and then made an unusual request. He wanted to capture the sound of my wheels as I was skating. It’s a good thing I was wearing my rain skates because my dry skates hardly make any noise at all. It wasn’t raining at the moment, but the sky was threatening. After one attempt of me skating past the micro phone, we thought it would be better if I held the recorder and skated with it. I dangled the micro phone down near my ankles and skated up the road about 20 meters. As if skating on the highway isn’t difficult enough, now I was concentrating on not kicking the device hanging between my legs. The micro phone, that is. But it seemed to work out and Erik went on his way.


I was about half way back to Espanola when my life flashed before my eyes. The traffic seemed unusually thick for a Sunday morning, but maybe people were on their way back from a weekend getaway. I was surprised to see so many transports on the road, too. The truckers are typically great with respect to giving me a lot of extra room. But one particular trucker today didn’t seem to care that I was on a narrow shoulder. Perhaps he was bitter about having to work on a Sunday, or maybe he just didn’t care about why I was there. When he snuck past the RV he came up so tight to me that I had to stop my stride and was almost forced into the gravel. If I hadn’t had my arms tucked down by my sides, the truck may have taken one off. I could almost feel the metal from the truck shaving the hairs off my arms. I don’t understand why he did it, but it scared the daylights out of me. That was by far my closest call with a vehicle to this day.


Something about this road felt familiar. I was having another deja vu. And for good reason. Just like when I went to Halifax, I had skated along this road just the day before. Although something felt a little bit different than I remember. But what was it? Was it the weather? No. Was it because I was going in the other direction? No. I know! This time I’m not hungry! What relevance does this have to anything, you may be asking. Well, it just so happens that today was the first day since I began this journey on May 5th that I swallowed a bug. This was not your ordinary little bug. It was a mammoth horse fly! I don’t know why I swallowed a fly, but I didn’t die! This sucker was so big that I literally choked on it and gagged. I had to stop and signal for my dad to bring me a bottle of water (because I’ve heard water goes well with insects). I coughed and spat for a few minutes before I felt that I had sucked enough of the nutrients out of the fly that I could continue on.


I arrived back at the outskirts of Espanola where I was greeted by my entourage of Goodman’s. Keith, Penny, Amy and Emma were all at the side of the road waiting for me. This was the first time I’ve met Amy (Kim’s sister) and her baby, Emma. While I ate lunch and had my afternoon power nap, Keith and Penny wandered around the Esso gas station collecting donations on my behalf. I woke up to find that they had brought in nearly $200! Fantastic! Thanks guys! And thank you to the Esso gas station for the donation of water and fuel. Much needed and appreciated.


Overall, I made incredible time today. It was after 9am when I got on the road and I had completed 101 km by the time I stopped skating at 5:30 pm. We were fortunate to have another campsite donated to us just outside of Spanish, Ontario. We pulled into Waterfalls Lodge just before a severe thunder storm opened up above us. Since moving to Vancouver, I haven’t experienced the crazy thunder and lightening storms that Ontario frequently gets throughout the summer. I almost miss them! This one produced some great visual effects and some huge rain drops. Hopefully I’ll wake up in a dry bed tomorrow!


Earlier today, someone asked me if I thought rollerblading was harder than running or biking. That’s a loaded question. Of course I’m biased to rollerblading. So personally I’d have to say it is harder. When you’re blading, you constantly have to be aware of the tiniest cracks and variations in the pavement in front of you. And when you’re going up a hill, you don’t have the luxury of changing gears. Runners and cyclists can both travel on gravel if need be. Sure, blading is faster than running, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easier. That’s just my two cents, though.

Posted in Daily Journal | 1 Comment »


One Response to “July 8”

  1. Laurie Says:

    Hey Rich! Sounds like things are still going really well. Jane and I will be eating at the BP in Brampton tomorrow so that we can leave a small donation for you! We’re also going to look into having a work social there when we get back to school in the fall so that 5% can go to the Skate for Hope. Hope you and your parents are doing well, take care of yourselves!

    Laurie from Georgetown

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