In order to prepare my body for the physical demands in front of me, I had to train extensively. Looking back, I think I could have trained more :)
Before starting my journey, my parents and I had to pick up the RV in Toronto and drive it to Newfoundland. This gave us a chance to see some of the terrain I would be facing on my way through Atlantic Canada.
And so the Skate For Hope begins. I touched the Atlantic Ocean at Mile 0 in St. John's Newfoundland on May 4th, 2007 and headed towards the opposite end of the country. 10,000 kilometers to go!
The funny thing about Newfoundland is that it is much bigger than we realize! If I wasn't in shape before, this province was sure to condition me. For 2 weeks straight I was blading up hills, into the wind with rain or snow everyday!
It was such a relief to arrive on the mainland. My parents and I had been pushed to our breaking points, but it felt great knowing that the worst was now behind us. Nova Scotia was sure to be a breeze!
After a short, but much-needed break in Halifax, I was cruising my way out to another Island. But this Prince Edward Island was sure to be more forgiving that Newfoundland, right?
As much as I wanted to skate across the Confederation Bridge, they wouldn't allow me. Nevertheless, I was back on the mainland again and working my way across New Brunswick. It was nice to finally see leaves on the trees!
En Francais, S'il Vous Plait. I wasn't looking forward to skating through Quebec. I have heard many horror stories about the road conditions. But the roads weren't as bad as expected. The language barrier turned out to be the biggest obstacle.
I moved away from Ontario when I finished University and I've never looked back. I've been home to visit, but I've never been so excited to see this province than when I rolled into Hawkesbury. Even in the rain, it was a great feeling.
If I thought it was exciting arriving in Ontario, you can imagine the feeling I had when skating into my hometown of Kingston! And when I finally made it to Toronto, I was greeted by many friends and family!
One thing was for sure... Ontario is one BIG province. With such a huge population, it was taking me forever to get around Southern Ontario. The excitement of being in this province was starting to run thin.
I knew that the hills of Northern Ontario would be tough. But the black flies helped to motivate me to keep moving. After a month and a half, and having spent my birthday in the middle of nowhere, I finally reached the end of Ontario.
Manitoba brought me flat ground and extreme heat. The day I arrive in Winnipeg, there was a Canadian record temperature set just south of the city. Over 50 degrees celcius! And I was skating in it!
I came across some of the flattest, smoothest road so far! There was a section of highway that had just been paved and wasn't open to vehicles yet. 2 more borders to cross!
With the Rockies now in sight, I made my way into Edmonton where I was invited on stage at the Edmonton Folk Festival.
I rolled through Calgary and headed towards the base of the Rockies and the top of the Great Divide. I even had a chance to visit Olympic Park in Calgary.
The final province! I could almost taste the end. Just a few major passes to climb and one more island stood in my way. The weather didn't seem to want to cooperate, either.
Crystal surprised me at the top of the Coquihalla! She joined us in the RV for a couple days through the Lower Mainland and even got to skate with me for a while when we were in Victoria. It was weird arriving at Mile 0 and then continuing up the Island towards Nanaimo.
After arriving at Mile 0 and catching a ferry back to the mainland, I just had a few more kilometers to English Bay where I would finish the Skate For Hope. Adam, his brother, and Eugene flew out from Toronto to be there for my big moment.