A legacy, as defined by my friend Robb Lucy, is something you create that connects you to people, enhances their lives now, and will continue to affect lives after you are gone. Over the past few days, I have been thinking about Francis’ legacies, his strong connection to his family, the IRIS team, the community, and his commitment to enhancing the lives of others through providing exceptional eye care at IRIS and through charitable initiatives, such as the “IRIS Challenge” to raise money for cancer research. Reflecting on our cycling journey and the amazing time we spent together, I will always be reminded of Francis’ legacies and the ones I want to create.
I had told Francis that I was most anxious about the Hope to Princeton portion of the ride. After conquering the ride to the top of the slide and Sunshine Valley, I could tell that Francis was glad to have been a part of my success to reach the top. For most of the first few days we were blessed with amazing tail winds; Francis laughed at my literal translation of tail winds (in French the term is ‘back winds’). On our third day I recommended a stop at Bromley Rock, a wonderful swimming hole on the Similkameen River. It was a very hot day and Francis absolutely loved it!
I was glad that I got to experience his first swim at that spot. We recorded several videos before heading out to Keremeos. Our support team, which included Francis’ wife Denise, was enthralled with the French version of the second season of Game of Thrones, and I used this time to share my day with my wife on the phone while Francis attended to his emails.
The next day we rode up to Sicamous. Not only was the ride long, but as the temperature hovered between 37 and 40 degrees, it was also stinking hot. We had lunch at an A&W in Armstrong as this is where Francis had stopped on each of his three previous trips. Tradition is tradition.
We stopped at Mara Lake and had another swim. By this time Francis was now carrying a bathing suit with him as I must admit riding in wet biking shorts isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world! We had a beautiful campfire that night and we relaxed a bit as our next day’s ride to Revelstoke would be very short and easy. We enjoyed dinner at a great restaurant and Francis toasted the athletes of the day, which were our support team. Daniel Bilodeau, our driver, had completed a very hot 114km ride that day.