Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 269, Coquitlam to Burnaby, B.C.

Day 269, back on shuttle 3 with Jake as the medal bearer host. A first for me on the relay, our meeting point was at Westwood Honda in Port Moody. (this is definately more than our usual sponsor stop) 

definately one of the more open meeting spaces, and lots of shiny new cars for distractions!

Yes, we are ready to go! This was not going to be an ordinary day in the medal world of the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen relay. Today we have a lot of young student difference makers on the shuttle bus. ( we will get to the reason soon)

In the meantime, the medal bearers watch a video on the bus. We usually start with a message from Rick Hansen, welcoming and thanking them for their participation in the relay.
As we wait at the insertion point for our medal bearer group, I can see the pilot vehicle and one of the other shuttles approaching.

and here comes the convoy led by a police  escort.

What/s the fuss? We are on Thermal Drive in Coquitlam. 25 years ago, Rick Hansen climbed a very steep hill on the last day of his 2 year 2 month and 2 day trip around the world. Apparently it was a mistake the original tour picked Thermal drive as part of the route. It was no mistake today that Rick wanted to conquer this hill one more time. A lot of students from surrounding schools came out to support the man in motion and 4 students from the area chosen as difference makers. Here is one of the many stories circulating after this historic event.

Hundreds of Tri-Cities residents turned out Friday to cheer on Rick Hansen as he tackled Thermal Hill in Coquitlam, as part of the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay.

Hundreds of Tri-Cities residents turned out Friday to cheer on Rick Hansen as he tackled Thermal Hill in Coquitlam, as part of the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay.

Photograph by: Jeremy Deutsch , NOW

COQUITLAM - What started as a mistake 25 years ago ended with a triumphant return for one of the nation's most recognizable heroes.
Flanked by hundreds of Tri-Cities students, Rick Hansen conquered the Thermal Drive hill in Coquitlam Friday, a quarter century after completing the task for the first time on his Man in Motion Tour in 1987.
Hansen, who considered the hill to be the biggest challenge on that tour, admitted Thermal was chosen by mistake all those years ago.
Five months prior to the first climb, crewmembers on the tour suggested he change his route away from Thermal Hill because they didn't realize it was so steep.
"When they told me about it, I said 'You know, the whole tour has been incredibly challenging, what better way to culminate a graphic example of how challenging it's been then to go up that hill and give it our best shot?'" Hansen said.
The hill has remained a symbol and focal point of that challenge ever since.
Starting in Newfoundland last August, the Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary Relay is winding down into its final stages and will wrap in Vancouver next week.
However, the most anticipated portion of the relay was Hansen's second crack at Thermal Hill.
The Man in Motion also hinted he might give the hill another try to mark the 50th anniversary.
"If I'm around in 25 years, I'll be here," Hansen said.
"I may not be doing it with my arms, but I'll find a way to get up this hill."

This was reminiscent of the Olympic Torch relay, with the crowds and the hype.

there were students lined for most of the entire length of Thermal Drive. (about 2 kilometres)
Our job was to place medal bearers every 250 metres along Thermal Drive until we reached the summit.

One of the many school groups along the way.

A sign was put up after Rick Hansen's original journey back in 1987.

the energy was tremendous!
as we drove by, all the students were fascinated by the relay vehicles, giving us all a great cheer as we went by.

every picture is a different part of Thermal Drive.

at the top, you can barely see Rick Hansen, and our endurance athlete Tyrone (the young 18 year old from Ontario that has been with us 3 times before) as they reach the finish line. This was a close as I dared to get. I didn't want to get swallowed up by the crowd, we still had medal bearers to get to their segments.
after they finished, there were so many people and media, it was hard to ssee anything.

The stage could of been higher, it was hard for everyone to see,

after the Thermal Drive celebration was over, Jake and I had to head to another medal bearer meeting point, this time at Capitol Hill eleentary school in Burnaby. ( they let us use the kindergarten classroom!)

All those toys were tempting, though.
briefed and ready!

Our insertion point was on Hastings St., here is one of the stickers we look for that tells the medal bearer that they are in the right spot.

Our job for day 269 is done, (we missed the end of day celebration in Burnaby), time for the next shuttle to take over a starting releasing a new group of medal bearers (120 in total today)

a bonus shot of Kevin and his unique coice of headwear (we prefer the 25th anniversary toques, but it is definately not manditory!)

a stand-off between medal bearer escorts? no, Steph and Marilyn are just bringing the two together for their moment to exchange the 25th anniversary Rick Hansen medal.

  (courtesy of Sam from the office)

1 comment:

  1. I pass that sign on Thermal & Mohawk every week and think of Rick.

    It was a sea of humanity on that hill-I got swept up in the crowd as it came by and when we got to the top, we were nowhere near the stage-couldn't see it, in fact. Crazy!

    I've got 4 posts about the day on my blog. :) Going to the concert tonight! I bet tomorrow is going to feel weird when you don't have to get up and meet medal bearers.