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BBR23 – 80 ORTONA
Before Operation Overlord, the D-Day landings in Normandy, Canada was involved in Italian Campaign. The Liberation of Italy began with Operation Husky, the initial landings of Allied Forces in Sicily in July 1943 and led to the collapse of the Fascist Italian regime of Benito Mussolini. In the days surrounding Christmas Day 1943, in the rubble of Ortona Canadians fought their most famous battle of the Italian campaign. Ortona, the “Italian Stalingrad,” was the site of some of the fiercest fighting in WW2.
BBR23 will begin in Ortona and six days and almost 500km and 2,000m of climbing later, we will end the ride at Ravenna where the Canadians saw their last action of the Italian Campaign before being relocated to Northwest Europe.
BBR23 will be my third ride to support and fundraise for Wounded Warriors Canada. This ride will present a series of very challenging aspects for me:
- First, on 28 November 2022, I underwent total knee replacement surgery to repair an old (50+ year old) football injury. My post-op recovery is going well, but the training to get back into shape and ready for BBR23 will be a challenge. I started to ride (on my trainer) on 12 January.
- A few days before the operation, my daughter, Jaime, passed away following a long battle with a mental disorder. it was the drugs and alcohol that she self-medicated with that brought about the final call to the Emergency Room. She will ride with me in spirit for this ride.
- In past rides, I have ridden my super lightweight S-Works Venge. Not this year! Before and after BBR23, I will touring the region with my better half, Karen. First, a bucket list visit to Malta, then after BBR, an extended tour Italy. To accommodate all of my gear, I will be riding my new Soma Wolverine touring bike. The weight differential is significant. The carbon fibre Venge weighs in under 8 Kg (17 lbs). My steel Wolverine, loaded with panniers front and back tops the scale at close to 45 Kg (100 lbs). If all goes well (with my knee), I intend to ride the entire course fully loaded.
Through the next 6 months or so before I leave for Europe and BBR23, my goals for this blog are to:
- Bring your attention to Canada’s participation and achievements during the Italian Campaign.
- To keep you, my sponsors, up-to-date with my progress in training and fundraising towards my goals. My goal for fundraising for BBR23 is $20,000 and my training goal is 5,000 km. Stay tuned!
- To thank some of my corporate sponsors for their support.
- To show how WWC is putting your contributions to work to help our veterans and first responders.
- Discuss why this is personal for me.
Then while I am in Europe, I will:
- Highlight my activities before starting BBR23 in Ortona.
- Present highlights, in text, pictures and video, each day of the ride.
- Interview other riders for their opinion of the work done by WWC.
I am glad to have you along for the ride. Please make sure that you subscribe to the blog so that you will be notified by email when I post new content. Please share this with friends, family and colleagues who may be interested.
Always remember – the freedoms that we hold so dear are not free. Many of our fellow Canadians have paid a high price and continue to pay that price, so that we can enjoy our freedoms.
Honour the Fallen; Help the Living