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"It was the best day ever":
A Fall Islander 200 Report
by Graham Fishlock

"It was the best day ever" Nigel kept repeating when I was talking to him on the phone Monday evening following the ride. This easy 200 km brevet was filled with sunshine, warm temperatures, wonderful views and a clearness in the air that only a sense of fall can offer. The route left downtown Victoria and followed the Galloping Goose trail to Sooke and then Sea Otter Cove where Nigel, Darren, Bob, Rick, Jerome and I lingered over a second breakfast. Much talk and laughter continued as we pedaled back to Victoria below a canopy of sunlit trees along the trail.

Arriving in Sidney, we again enjoyed another sit down meal as we watched the passing street scene. Bob, Darren and Rick slipped a little ahead as Nigel and I continued talking (mostly about food) and taking in the day. At times, I imagined us as 10-year-olds out for a spin on our 2 wheel freedom machines. It was the best day ever.

Well, at least it was the best day ever until 2 km before the finish. I became conscious as I was being loaded in the ambulance and have no memory of the event. Nigel was just ahead of me when he heard a thump and a shattering of glass then looked back to see me fall back to the ground. Apparently I had launched off my bike through the rear window of a car. As I was regaining consciousness in the ambulance, I remember feeling such gratitude for the paramedics and regret for leaving Nigel with such an ordeal to deal with.

In light of the medicare debates currently circulating in the U.S., the whole experience left me feeling very fortunate and proud to be Canadian as a beneficiary of a system that considers the welfare of all its citizens. I am overflowing with gratitude for all the paramedics, nurses, technicians and doctors who attended to me. I am equally thankful for the help and concern of Nigel, Patrick, Jenny, Ray, Dave, Brynne, Mike and not to forget my persevering partner and wife, Edie.

Ah, my first DNF on the easiest brevet I have ever ridden. And yet, when you are filled with gratitude how can it not be but "the best day ever." Thanks Nigel!

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September 16, 2009