The Distance

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We’ve come a long way.

The riding portion of Changing Gears has wrapped up and I have been thinking about this post for what seems like an eternity. It was just over a week ago that I took my final pedal stroke on my journey to cross the country. Garmin and Strava disagree on the total kilometres travelled but unofficially it’ll be right around 8000. What seemed like an unfathomable distance six months ago has since rolled its way under my tires and I’m left feeling a little unsatisfied. I wonder if – like so many experiences in my past – I was present enough in each moment.

The distance travelled between St. John’s and Victoria pales in comparison to the distance I have come in the seventeen months since getting sober. I feel like a completely different person. The broken man you see in the video before you is a distant memory, yet solemn reminder of what happens when I pick up a bottle. Karl as he was semi-affectionately known is gone and I am still trying to live by the acronym that I turned him into. A code of living, that incorporates Kindness, Authenticity, Reliability, and Love.

When I think about being present I try to relate it to all aspects of my life. Moving forward with Changing Gears I hope to be even more present when sharing this journey and to be a strong presence in a community that truly incorporates recovery and fitness. Changing Gears and Fresh Start will be making the donations to the treatment centres I visited once I am back in Calgary and the remainder of the money will be used to pilot a project getting people new to recovery into a fitness regime. I also hope to start a program that offers bicycles to people who need transportation while in treatment and freshly out of treatment.

My entire life I’ve felt a little lost. Heading in the wrong direction, on a bad path, or down a rabbit hole that I wasn’t going to be able to get myself out of. The running joke of this entire cycling journey was that I was still going the wrong way. Starting in Newfoundland – a place that would’ve been much milder had I finished there rather than started. Heading into the wind, which proved to be a stronger adversary than originally anticipated despite all the warnings from various people familiar with Canada’s prevailing winds, the jet stream, and weather conditions. Also incorporating Vancouver Island which is usually skipped on trips like this. I stubbornly moved ahead, always fighting for that next kilometre, one pedal stroke in front of the other. On one of the final days of the trip, I was cooling down after completing the set distance with a Jones Root Beer – one of my favourite post ride treats. I flipped the lid to read the saying under the seal and as if it was placed there just for me, a message of encouragement appeared.

“You are heading in the right direction”

This post is not a finale, nor is it the end for Changing Gears. I have had a hard time writing it with so much on my mind and on my heart. I want to thank everyone again for being so supportive, I couldn’t have done this without you. I love you all.

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  • TIm Williams

    Loved reading this. Keep the bottle cap,

    – Uncle Tim

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