Month: July 2010
Ok, so it’s been over a week! It’s time I posted my results on the Heartland Tour. 8 communities 8 days, 81.81 kilometres per day average, so that’s a grand total of 736 km! Not bad for a slightly over-weight (ok, ok more than slightly) 40 year old politician.
Three years ago I was the Minister of Health and that kind of activity would have been impossible. I was over worked, stressed out and a candidate for a heart attack, hell I had already suffered a number of episodes of atrial fibrillation. Time and time again I spoke of taking care of our own health, so that we would not be too much of a burden on the Nova Scotia health care system. As a government we worked hard to find new ways to incite this change in the population with the creation of the Department of Health Promotion, and all the great programming that went with it. This didn’t make me any leaner, or fitter though.
Three years ago this July, I had the opportunity to meet a band of cyclists led by Dr. Nick Giacomantonio that stopped into the opening of the Festival International de Par-en-bas in Tusket. He was leading twenty or so folks from different background around a number of communities in Nova Scotia for bicycle rides of 100kms. That day I committed to riding with the team from the Yarmouth lighthouse to the waterfront in Yarmouth, about 12 kms. Core member Ron Allen, a resident of Bridgewater and Ironman, thought I seemed like a nice guy, but didn’t believe that I actually come out. I did! On the way into town I spoke to Nick, well really he spoke, I tried not the pass out and listened. I was sold with his message of healthy communities.
After lots of consideration, I decided to walk the walk and volunteer for the core team and commit to a week of cycling. 2009 was year one, and this year was number 2. I had a great time and survived lots of kilometres and even one crash.
Every community was different, no just is ride, but in how the community looks at the message of well being. Halifax saw a number of folks come out for the two rides, one to Peggy’s Cove and the other around to Herring Cove. Plus the support from the District Health Authority was great. Pictou had us in our first Parade as the community was celebrating it’s Lobster Festival.
Bridgewater had a great ride, but also a great afternoon for children that saw a number of bikes given away as prizes. Then it was Truro, Sydney, Antigonish, Kentville and then home to Yarmouth. Yarmouth in my mind has it all, a great ride, a great committee and great connection to the community. We were able to ride in the Seafest Parade and have a ton of kids turn out to hear the message of physical activity.
All in all we touched the lives of thousands of Nova Scotians, and even if just a handful folks change their lives, we’ve done our job! I really need to thank the core team for their support and help during the week, Dr. Nick for his friendship and taking on this little endeavour and all the companies that support the cause.
Now that the 2010 Heartland Tour is done all that is left is to maintain the fitness that I have achieved and build on it. 60 lbs gone in 3 years, 30 to go! All I ask is for you to do the same, take back your health.
Here’s my links to the community rides.
The time has come again to put on the spandex (ick) and hop on my trusty road bike and tour around the province on the Heartland Tour, an awareness bicycle ride for Cardiac and Cancer health.
I got roped into this a couple of years ago by some friends while I was Minister of Health, Dr. Nick Giacomantonio and Ross Haynes, QC. I was a tad (means lots) overweight and suffering occasionally by the occasional bout of Atrial Fibrillation (a fancy cardiac term), I was impressed by the teams commitment to living better and trying to get people off their couches.
Each summer the core team of 25 – 30 riders visit communities around Nova Scotia and invite locals along for a ride, mostly from 30 to 100 kms. The response has been incredible and hundreds of people have joined in, from young fit whippersnappers to 70 year old young at heart whippersnappers and everyone in between.
From this has blossomed into programs and bike clubs around the province. As I have said many times in speeches, in order to help the Health Care Crisis, we need to create societal change, we need to get fitter and healthier, and we can only do it one person at a time. I started with myself and since that time I’ve lost close to 60 pounds and seen others follow my lead.
Saturday the ride begins in Halifax on the Cunard St. side of the Commons and then on to Pictou, Bridgewater, Truro, Sydney, Antigonish, Kentville and Yarmouth. Drop by and see us, wave as we go by, but hopefully we will entice you to join us for a little ride around your community.
This year I will, rain or shine, racking up over 800 kms and going to have a ton of fun doing it. Follow my twitter @ChrisMLA or Facebook to see how we are doing or check out the website at www.heartlandtour.ca.