C2C Final Journals

Link to these journal entries for today:

  • Jeff RushtonC2C 2003 for me represented a physical, emotional, and spiritual journey with a VERY clear goal in mind: cycle 7200 kms in 10 days with 6 cyclists to raise $500,000 for the two charities we are supporting: Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation and The Lance Armstrong Foundation.
  • Coast to Coast ReportIt’s a fitting end to the Coast to Coast Ride and this coast to coast journey. As Jeff embraces Dianne, Brooklyn and Skylar he is taken back years to the moment he first conceived this Coast to Coast idea, the reason he decided to do it in the first place: his children, his wife, his family. He feels the love.

Jeff Rushton

Final Update – C2C 2003 In Perspective and Next Steps

C2C IN PERSPECTIVE

It has been a few days since we finished our arrival our day 10 event with the magnificent finish in Halifax. Words cannot describe the feeling that I still have from completing this journey. Although we still have a black tie dinner and the on-line auction to complete in July I feel it is time to reflect specifically on the 10-day event.

C2C 2003 for me represented a physical, emotional, and spiritual journey with a VERY clear goal in mind: cycle 7200 kms in 10 days with 6 cyclists to raise $500,000 for the two charities we are supporting: Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation and The Lance Armstrong Foundation. When we started this event on June 14th none of us really had any firm understanding of what we would experience. After all none of us had ever cycled that far in any one day [averaged from a low of 280 kms to a high of 425 kms each and every day], and certainly all of us are pretty new to the sleep deprivation that resulted.

What emerged from this trip for me was a personal transformation and a bit of a "community of compassion". It showed me the true power of having a clearly defined goal. It showed me the true power of having a cause that is truly beyond anyone person. It showed me the true power and compassion of the human spirit. From my 5 fellow cyclists, to the support team, to the sponsors, to the wonderful Fujitsu employees who helped us, to the thousands of people who followed us on the web and gave us feedback on the comments section of our website THANK YOU. All of you had a dramatic and profound impact on this event.

We did this ride to raise money for children and their families impacted by cancer, and to extend that message to all families impacted by cancer from any age group. The personal stories told by childhood cancer survivors on our website and in our events in Toronto and Vancouver left a permanent impression on me. The grace and confidence these young people showed as they described their battle with cancer and smiled as they talked with conviction of their hopes and dreams for the future left me with in awe of the power that a positive attitude can have in the battle against cancer.

The gift that Coast to Coast Against Cancer 2003 gave me above everything else was freedom to focus ALL my physical, emotional, and spiritual energy on this event. I laughed AND cried more than I ever have as an adult in a two week period. I experienced true joy in seeing the impact our event was having on the spirits of some of the people who have been impacted by cancer. I experienced deep sadness at the loss of my aunt to cancer exactly half way through the ride. I connected with the C2C team in ways that I did not consider possible before we started this ride; I left with a team of acquaintances and friends, and finished with a true team bonded by an unforgettable lifetime experience.

There are so many special moments along the way that I am a bit uneasy even attempting to list them all. There are however a few special moments that I want to highlight. The media events in Toronto and Vancouver were very special to me because of the childhood cancer survivors who spoke about their experience and their hopes. It touches you to the core of your being to think through what these individuals and their families went through. ANY discomfort we felt on the C2C trip simply does not compare to one hour of what these outstanding your people have had to endure.

Night rides another amazing experience. With no traffic and little to no noise or outside sensory stimulus, they allowed you to focus your mind on the reason we were doing this ride. The special moment riding with Jamie across lower Manitoba to a full moon, the northern lights, AND magical fog where we talked in depth about what we were really trying to accomplish with this ride. To the touching 5 am memorial at a tree and plaque Fred planted in London commemorating his parents passing; this was the most emotional part of the journey. To the 6 am welcome in my home down of Woodstock with several of my family members. To the night time rides and dedication to Dr. Pat Hewitt’s family who lost their battle with cancer and having him sing 60’s and 70’s songs in our ear radios to keep us awake! And finally probably the most powerful single night time event was when Julie MacNeil, the driver of the 18 wheeler that was part of our team brought her entire family out after midnight in Gananoque and allowed me the honor of reading a dedication to her father who passed away from cancer after a very long battle. How can you possible capture the power of these moments?

C2C 2003 also has some unexplainable events happen. First, take the weather. Immediately before and immediately after our trip the weather was terrible with huge storms, rain, and in some areas hail. But for us on C2C 2003 we got less than 2 hours of rain in a 240 hour trip with mostly perfect winds. Other than having The Weather Network as a sponsor, a very hard thing to explain. Second, as a wrote about earlier, I guess another surreal moment came when I was climbing a large hill and Ron Mitchell began reading over the radio an incredibly beautiful message my wife Diane had sent me on the website. Literally 10 seconds after he finished reading me her best wishes, the headwinds that Kevin and I had been battling for over 2 hours switched directions and was on our backs for the rest of the day. Coincidence or just another set of powerful events going on to support our cause.

THANKS

How do you even begin to thank everyone involved? I don’t know if I can as I will forget some individuals but here is just a partial list.

To Dr. Pat Hewitt who prepared all our food and nutrition, as well as, doing chiropractic adjustments as required. He was an indispensable resource without who’s help we could not do this trip.

To Mitch Kennedy, and Erik Jensen who took turns driving the RV and generally doing whatever was required to keep the cyclists going what can I say but WOW!! Your contribution and involvement will not be forgotten.

To Lon Minott a big thanks for your help driving the RV and for me the invaluable support you have as a registered massage therapist; I can think of two days that without your help I am not sure I could have continued with as little pain as I did.

To Ron Mitchell, I will not forget your tireless effort driving the RV driver AND doing all you did on the updates and the media support.

To Julie McNeil who drove the 18 wheeler donated by Concord Transportation acting as an "advanced billboard" in the next major city and provided food and supplies for the riders thanks for your personal involvement and for the honor of riding for your family.

To Gerry Wallis and Hal Brown from Geismar your help shuttling the rotating support crews and support for the riders needs [laundry, new supplies, etc] was invaluable. I look forward to getting your advice on the route next year!!

To Dan Dimopoulis thank you for your tireless support in taking pictures and in shooting & producing the follow up video. I can’t wait to see all of it!

To Jim Sondel and Alan Sweet, thank you for building the applications that made our route trackable and gave us the opportunity to share our incredible experience with all of you. Jim, your 5 days on the road with us was a great help!

To Lucie Cousineau who graciously jumped in to help with many aspects of the project. She pitched in on route planning and single-handedly rallied community celebrations in Mississauga and Halifax. Lucie sought corportate
donations and arranged for an amazing finishing party in Nova Scotia. Thank you for all your efforts.

To Ashley Kirk for building the website and incorporating instructions and requests thrown at him from a multitude of people. For months he worked feverishly through evenings and weekends to create the virtual heart of Coast-to-Coast.

To all the riders that joined us along the way; thank you!! Not only did you make it a little easier for us but you added some great variety and entertainment into our schedule.

To the law enforcement teams in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax WOW!! The police escorts saved us time, made us safe, and well, were pretty darn exciting!

To the employees of Fujitsu Consulting what can I say but a HUGE thank you. Your support for events in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Fredericton, and Halifax were above and beyond the call. The team AND the charities thank you. Thanks to Paul Kent, Mike Maloney and Mike's team in Halifax for setting up the arrival celebration, police escort and Lieutenant Governor's participation. A special thank you to Melissa Brown for your personal support that allowed me to focus on the ride during my one week off work.

To Susie Adelson and Dave Erskine from G2M, and Alison King thank you for all your support and guidance around media along the way.

To all of our sponsors and the firms that helped us thank you. CIBC, Fujitsu, Microsoft, NexInnovations, Give & Go, G2M, Media Profile, Corporate Impressions, First Data, Pzifer, The Bay, Gears, Boomerang, The Courtyard Group, Cisco Canada, Sundog, Dupont, Hempola, Documentum, Robson Technologies, The Pump, Geismar, The Weather Network, Tiffany Gate, Systems Graphics & 3M, Smurfit, Telus, JB RV Rentals, Carlton Technologies, Bremme, Ajilon Consulting, Jeff Goodman Studio, Dimpflmeier, Organic Meadow yogurt, Concord Transportations, The Ridge Natural Health Experience, Dofasco, Hamilton 2003 World Road Cycling Championships, are just a few of the firms whose support financially and in services was instrumental in helping us complete our ride.

To my Dad and Mom, to Emmi & Lou, to Diane, Skylar & Brooklyn; you were the original inspiration and remain the reason I will continue to do this

To my extended family on the Rushton & McIntosh sides; your continued support is inspirational.

To everyone who honored us with the right to ride for someone impacted by cancer through the dedications I can only tell you from the bottom of my heart how important and meaningful those dedications were. They gave us the power and the energy to continue and provided focus around why we do the Coast to Coast events.

To everyone who followed us along the way, gave us encouragement, and most important gave a donation to one of the charities my hat is off to you. This event is all about raising awareness and funding for the two charities we are supporting. With your help we are getting close to our $500,000 goal.

To Elli Overton & the staff at Lance Armstrong Foundation, and to Kal Tobias & the staff at Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation, THANK YOU for your compassion, for your passion, for your insight, and for the obvious personal commitment you put into the missions of these two great charities. I am honored to be riding for both organizations.

 

Finally, and probably most important, I want to give a huge personal thank you to my fellow riders; Fredrik Carlberg, Scott Graham, James Layfield, Kevin Wallace and Hamish Gordon. We started out as friends, and we became a true team bonded by an unforgettable personal experience. Your effort, dedication, commitment, and sense of teamwork made this very special. I will never forget this.

SO WHAT IS NEXT

The next 4 weeks is a critical time for the Coast to Coast team. We are organizing a few follow up events [black tie event at Café Brussels in Toronto, and the on-line auction] during July to try to bring our fundraising total to our goal of $500,000.

You can help by:

  1. Donating online or sending your cheques payable to the charities to the following address
  2. Coast to Coast Against Cancer
    C/O 1525 Royal Oaks Road
    Mississauga, Ontario

    L5H 3R6

  3. Spreading the word and telling your friends and corporate contacts
  4. Purchasing something from our on-line auction or our cycling clothing; 100% of proceeds go to the charities
  5. Or participating on our black tie dinner; look on the website for details
  6. We WILL be doing a C2C 2004 event sometime in June 2004 but unlike this year it will be an event designed away from 6 crazy middle age men to an event that can involve thousands of average North Americans in their local communities linked into one integrated event called "Coast to Coast Against Cancer – Communities of Compassion" Look for details in the next few months.

Until then I want to close by thanking each and everyone of you for the support you have given all of us involved in C2C 2003 and to the charities we are riding for. Thanks for making this a really special and meaningful event.

Jeff Rushton

416-525-1309

jeff.rushton@coasttocoastride.com

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COAST TO COAST – FINAL REPORT

The final day of the 2003 Coast to Coast Against Cancer ride is a short piece of riding culminating in the ceremonial arrival in Halifax. Earlier the day before, the team had achieved it most easterly point on the Atlantic Ocean on the north shore of PEI. It had taken 8 days and 19 hours. Despite that, the arrival in Halifax would have deep meaning and significance to the entire team and it’s many supporters, including family, friends and colleagues.

Another Perfect Day

The previous night’s ride and arrival in Chester, Nova Scotia ended at about 4:30 AM. Now, at 6:30 AM, The Weather Network has already set up for its final interviews of Jeff and the other riders. As a sponsor of the Coast to Coast Ride, the Weather Network was an invaluable source of weather information while the team was on the road. That was the good news. The bad news – from their perspective at least – was that the team had absolutely perfect weather every day of the ride. The sun shone every day, the winds were favourable, there was no rain, and the nights were clear and cool. In short, there was absolutely not one bit of weather drama during the entire ten days… no snow, no sleet, no torrential downpours, no floods, no hurricane winds to blow rail-thin cyclists off their path. Quite acceptable to the team, but not as much of a story as the Weather Network might have hoped for.

Rush Hour

Finally, at about 8:30 AM, the entire team is ready to depart Chester for the final 80 kilometers into Halifax. The team of 8 riders head out onto Route 3 toward Halifax. A nice casual ride along the seashore… unless it’s Rush Hour. As the entourage gets closer to Halifax, the intensity of the traffic increases. All manner of cars and trucks speed angrily down the twisty, rolling highway. Finally, as the road joins onto another thoroughfare, the team rides into the protection of the pre-arranged Halifax city police escort. Also there to grab the moment are several television and radio stations. A good sign that there is some genuine interest in the Coast to Coast Ride here in Halifax.

It’s a Parade

The police lead the riders toward Halifax. About halfway there, a group of Fujitsu employees joins the ride. It’s quite a parade now: 8 C2C riders, another 20 friends riding along, the C2C RV, the Weather Network SUV stuffed with video equipment and operators, and bringing up the rear, the big C2C 18-wheeler, blasting it’s even-bigger horn all the way through downtown Halifax. Passersby are caught by surprise at the late-morning commotion along Barrington Street, but amazingly, some seem to understand and offer their encouragement by applauding as the team passes through.

Triumph

Finally, the parade of cars, trucks and cyclists make the last few turns into Point Pleasant Park. A long glide down toward the water and onto the big open parking lot, the riders arrive to the cheers and applause of loved-ones, friends, supporters and dignitaries. They whiz right past and down toward the beach. Finally getting off their bikes, in unison, they triumphantly walk down to water’s edge. The symbolism of dropping their front wheels into the Atlantic is overwhelming. The job is done, the impossible has been achieved. It’s hard to believe that they can actually stop cycling now. After the expected whoops of joy and fist pumping in air, they each turn and embrace one another, almost surprised that it’s over, and equally surprised at how’s it is overwhelming them. Words are lost in constricting throats, but deep understanding exists regardless. Then suddenly the beach is filled with even more people, all clustering around the team. Wives, girlfriends, children. These are the ones who have supported these riders all along in their pursuit of purpose. Pride and love washes over them like the gentle Atlantic tide at their feet.

A Royal Greeting

After the moment of accomplishment is captured on film at water’s edge, the team gathers itself and heads back toward the park. There, a reception has been arranged. Hosted by Paul Kent of Fujitsu in Halifax, several important provincial and municipal dignitaries are on hand to welcome the team. This includes The Honourable Myra Freeman, Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia. She graciously acknowledges the accomplishments of the team, noting for all gathered the magnitude of the effort in terms of days, kilometers and funds raised. She then pins a special Lieutenant Governor’s medal on the collar of each rider to commemorate the ride and the moment.

Guinness and The Royal Reception

Once the official festivities are complete the team immediately convenes at the RV, where a tub of Guinness is laid out. This is a "meal-replacement" that is much favoured over some of Dr. Pat’s concoctions. Each member reaches in, opens and then raises their prize in the air for a team toast to their success. Just then word comes through that Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor has invited the entire team and family members to Government House for a visit and refreshments immediately following the ceremonies at Point Pleasant Park. It takes some organizing, but the team finally makes its way to Government House. Each member is greeted personally by Her Honour and asked to sign the guest book. In the dining room, a few words of welcome – along with some very dainty finger sandwiches – are offered up by Her Honour. Then a tour of Government House with a few entertaining stories of its past, and finally a photo opportunity for the team on the foyer stairs with the Lieutenant Governor, carefully positioned under a painting of the boss, Queen Elizabeth II. A memorable end to a memorable day and a memorable journey.

Celebration

Finally, the team is able to retreat to Chester for some much-needed rest and relaxation with family and friends. The Chester Yacht Club plays host with an extraordinarily tasty array of hors d'ouevres and main dishes. But no one is really paying attention. All eyes are on Jeff as he personally and publicly thanks each and every member of the Coast to Coast team. As he builds his momentum, he finishes by acknowledging the enormous support and commitment of each rider. Each member has profoundly impacted Jeff in a very positive and life-altering way. He acknowledges and thanks them each for being equally committed to his dream. He then turns to the final and perhaps most important thank you of the night. He manages about three words, just enough for the entire gathering to know just who this next acknowledgement is intended for… his wife and life partner, Dianne. But he can utter no more words. His face contorts, his throat contracts and he tries, but nothing comes out. Finally Dianne rises and they embrace. Everyone there knows just exactly what Jeff intended to say all along.

Feel the Love

It’s a fitting end to the Coast to Coast Ride and this coast to coast journey. The love that fills the room, the love that Jeff feels for Dianne, Brooklyn and Skylar and the entire C2C team is clear to all. It ends with this embrace that takes Jeff back years to the moment he first conceived this Coast to Coast idea, the reason he decided to do it in the first place: his children, his wife, his family. He feels the love.

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MAIN CONTACTS

Jeff Rushton
jeff.rushton@
coasttocoastride.com

416.525.1309

Scott Graham
sg@boomart.net
905.823.1198 x222
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