This will be my final blog post about WRWR2019. Months later and it still resonates with me, and the incredible experience lives on in memory, and in conversations with other riders. It was such an amazing thing. I still can't believe I did it!!
This post is about a woman named Donna, who is quite incredible, and a real warrior.
I met Donna in Sault St. Marie on one leg of the WRWR2019 ride. She was riding from the Soo to Parry Sound with the group. The incredible things about Donna are:
She just got her license in July
She beat cancer
So, we have a new rider who wanted her first group ride to be with a group of women. She couldn't have picked a better time to join up in one of the most epic world wide journeys, and world wide sisterhood of riders. She had only been riding a couple of months, and was going to ride some really twisty, challenging roads with the group. Her skill level wasn't a beginner, that's for sure, and her resolve and determination were inspiring. Not to mention she BEAT CANCER.
Along the way I got to learn her incredible story. She had spent a year battling the Big C, and winning. There are many of these incredible stories just as there are many who lose that battle. Donna decided that life was waiting for her, so she went out and got her motorcycle license, and a motorcycle and went after life with zest and an incredible spirit that is testament to the warriors out there who are in this battle right now. And she smiled, just as in the pic with the two of us, throughout her ride, challenges and all.
As we headed out of Sudbury (one of our stops on the way to Parry Sound), darkness came, and challenges with it. There were many areas of construction and single lanes with oncoming traffic, and Donna struggled a little, as most newer riders do. I remember being a newer rider and really having trouble with oncoming traffic, especially transport trucks, or having to pass other vehicles, especially transport trucks. But attempting something like the ride from Sault St. Marie to Parry Sound would have been the most unlikely thing I would have done as a new rider. Flat, straight roads, with lots of daylight and little traffic were my routes in the beginning of my riding career. Her absolute bravery just amazed me. But, as it grew darker, a few of us could see her struggling, so we decided to flank her and make her feel safe and confident. Tracey, Ashely (see the other blog posts to find out about these amazing women too) and I flanked Donna. Tracey leading, Ashley just behind her in staggered formation, Donna behind Tracey, and me bringing up the rear. Like this, we rode to Parry Sound, arriving safe and...sound. (No pun intended). That's where I learned that Donna would be riding back to Sudbury on her own the next day - not gonna happen! I decided to ride back up to Sudbury, and then on down to Barry, where I met up with my hubby and we rode to Hamilton to meet up with everyone there. That was the end of my journey with WRWR2019 - in Hamilton.
Donna is just an incredible woman, with warmth and humour, and grit and determination. This post is to celebrate her, and others who are real warriors. Who face cancer, battle it, and with incredible resolve, win the battle. This post is also for all the women who go into this battle and lose. Riding with Donna and getting to know her really made me realize just how fleeting life is, and how precious it is, and how we must remember those who lost their battles with this terrible disease. Riding with Donna was honouring those who are no longer with us, and remembering them. It also made me realize how lucky I am to not have had to face this battle down, but that if I should ever find myself on that battlefield, I'll know there are so many others who have gone before me, will be there for me. Her story is an example of the fighting spirit of women, the incredible community we have, and the endless support for one another, as women, that we have.
I wish I had more pics of her and I, but this summer I plan on riding up north again, and I'll be sure to contact her so we can ride together again. I promise I'll update everyone with pics, and her story.
The ride never really ends. So many minutes that are stored in my brain and my heart that I could write a novel about everything I experienced and learned. If you ever have the opportunity to go way outside of your comfort zone and challenge yourself, I would highly recommend that you DO IT!! The connections you'll make will last your lifetime, and the memories will be shared over and over again! I'd rather live with fear of trying new things than regret.
Ride on Donna, ride on! See you soon!