PLEASE WATCH BOTH VIDEOS-THEY ARE BOTH TRULY INSPIRATIONAL!
The Spirit of the Sport
First off, I would like to acknowledge three local Comox Valley athletes who have all qualified for the Olympics coming up in a few weeks time in London, England. Geoff Kabush will be making his third Olympic appearance for mountain biking and will be a heavy medal favourite. Young Cam Levins, who has shattered the dreams of myself, Ry and Scotty year after year in the Comox 4 mile race, will be running in both the 5,000 and 10,000 metre races. I actually think he comes from Kenyan descent! Finally, a personal friend of the Mackinnon family Martin Reader claimed one of the last remaining Olympic spots last week in Beach Volleyball. Marty graduated with Sean and also coached Ryan’s Senior Volleyball team to a 4th place finish at Provincials. The guy is a freak of nature and I wouldn’t be surprised if he came back with a Gold medal around his neck. All three athletes should be saluted for their perseverance and dedication to their sports and we Mackinnons and the rest of the Comox Valley are behind them all the way!
This Olympic shout out leads us perfectly into our day, which was full of excitement. To refresh your memories let’s remind everyone of the Provincial winners thus far. Scotty has won 3 Provinces (Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba), Sean has won 1 (Quebec), I have won 1 (Saskatchewan) and the youngest, fittest Mackinnon has won 0. Ry “the Ox” Mackinnon has claimed the yellow jersey town after town, but us brothers have realized that it doesn’t matter who wins these meaningless places. The Provinces are the only ones that matter! And I know it has eaten Ryan up that he hasn’t won one yet.
So we started our day biking from Rivierre Ouelle, a small, but beautiful little campground placed right on the St Lawrence. I actually can’t remember the last time we have had rain. It seems so long along now. Scotty has actually thrown his yellow, ripped up rain gear out. He has challenged the biking gods and I hope they don’t respond with a Maritime Hurricane. Other then the continuous rolling hills that the end of Quebec had to offer the ride went relatively smoothly. Scotty and myself had come up with a perfect plan on how to win New Brunswick, which of course ended with us completing screwing over Ryan. I actually am starting to feel badly, we have not given him an honest chance to win any Province as of yet.
Our plan to win was simple. We stop 15 km from the border to get groceries and as Ryan goes in, we take the air out of both Scotty’s tires, hide the pump and Scotty rides Ryan’s bike to an easy victory. We figured Scotty would have a big enough lead after Ryan pumped up both the tires to win the Province. Our plan to say the least didn’t pan out. Ryan has learnt a ton over this trip and one main thing is to never trust anyone. The minute we stopped for groceries he knew something was up. So he decided to stay outside to watch the bikes, which didn’t give me the opportunity to take the air out of Scott’s tires. However, Scott grocery shopping inside didn’t know this. He thought the plan was still on. So he snuck out of the store, and seeing that Ryan’s bike was balancing perfectly upright on the sidewalk he decided to go for it. I was sitting there with Ryan when all of a sudden Scotty did a full on superman jump onto Ry’s bike and was in perfect tuck position, pedaling away in a millisecond. Needless to say, Ryan and I were stunned by this bold, but extremely athletic move by Scotty. If you have ever seen a classic cop move where he has to run, jump and slide his rear end against the hood of the car, this was impressively similar to that. Not to be anti-climatic at all, but Ryan jumped onto Scotty’s bike (who’s tires were supposed to be deflated by me) and caught him in the first 100 metres. Scotty quickly gave up and they were back to the store a few seconds later waiting for us.
So finally the battle for a Province would have to be won honest and fairly. All four of us went stroke for stroke for about 12km when Ry finally felt it was time to take off. When this happened I officially bowed out and stayed close enough behind the three to watch this suspenseful finish. Neville was pedaling faster then I had ever seen him pedal, looking like a young Elvis Stojko with his hair gusting in the wind. With about 100 metres to the “New Brunswick” sign the guys were still side by side by side, taking up the full shoulder, pumping their legs at warp speed. Then all of a sudden IT HAPPENED. Without any warning at all Ry aggressively swerved right into Scotty, sending him flying into a bed of bark maulch and flowers. Scott’s bike went flying 10 feet into the air and his old, frail body went head over heals as he landed awkwardly on his right leg. I couldn’t believe what I had just seen. I immediately pulled over to see if he was ok. Neville, who was still going neck and neck with Ryan looked back and saw what had occurred instantly jammed his brakes turning around for his eldest brother.
What happened next is what sport is all about. Scotty who was in excruciating pain, held his knee shouting and screaming. Neville and I tried to help and console him, but Scotty wasn’t having any of it. He still wanted to finish. I can honestly say I have never seen so much determination on another mans’ face. Scotty hobbled on one leg trying to get to the New Brunswick sign. Neville and I couldn’t let him do this on his own, so we grabbed both his arms and walked him towards the sign. People must have thought we were crazy, but we continued walking arm and arm. As we arrived to the sign all three of us embraced each other in hugs and felt a feeling like no other before. This was truly what sport is about!! Ry Mack had won the Province, but at what expense. His three brothers could never look at him the same again!