Psychologically I'm really tired, fed-up, dying to finish. it might just be the frustration of being so close and still not finished.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Psychologically I'm really tired, fed-up, dying to finish. it might just be the frustration of being so close and still not finished.
Grand Forks -Greenwood - the first pass, long and gradual (at least for this area), then at Rock Creek a 21 km climb that ends in a picturesque peak (with a viewpoint motorists stop at to peer into the valley), and the drop dead descent into Osoyoos. The last one, every Ironman Canada finisher knows, it Richter Pass which is easy by comparison at 11 km and has a downhill dip in the middle.
It is sooo hot, I miss the morning chill. (Had to wear a vest), now I regret not appreciating it more. There are lots of hotels/motels ( and tourists) , but forgot it's the long weekend so there are ZERO vacancies. Have to pop the tent on the grass behind a gas station. There's also an RV parked overnight, the owner says no problem. Even get to use the washroom (but no shower). By now I don't care, two days and counting.
179-9 hrs 23 minutes-6,556 Total
Friday, July 30, 2010
Grand Forks, B.C.: The last Thursday ever! The count down continues. It was another grueling day in the mountains (can you hear Phil Liggett?) with no shade, no help and no mercy. Outside of Salmo the climb up Bombi Pass to Castlegar is another 38 km climb. It's not as steep as the Kootenay Pass but it's longer, B had to stop twice on the way up to catch his breath and a drink. Relief at the top but the descent was equally gruesome since it was recently paved and with the rain it was a slippery, scary drop into Christina Lake. It's supposed to be 35 degrees again on Friday, (but at least it's a dry heat), he'll start earlier in the morning for the
Winnipeg Hotel- B's staying at a landmark hotel in GF, the "Winnie", and visited my dad's grave to take a photo. My dad would have approved of his trip, he loved sports (esp. hockey) but as my mother would say, "that man would watch any sport on TV"137 kms- 7 hrs 17 minutes- 6,377 kms Total
Brendan wants to see the" skeleton get off a bike" in Vancouver, Jenny wonders about "bedraggled glory", and Peter thinks B's mind will go next. It's like torture, continuous pain can cause madness right?
C: Queens Stage: Kootenay Pass -6 thousand feet of continuous climbing? This is why I am in TO and NOT cycling with B. If it's the single hardest thing he's ever done (and he likes pain), I would have been crying at the bottom. Like Yellow Lake in Ironman Canada, there are some times it's okay to walk your bike; (outrageous!! Ironman keeners say), but if you can walk the marathon (or parts of it), you can walk the bike. That's my theory. Now suddenly B wants a granny gear!! ( Brenda & I told him to get one at the begininng). However at least he got a standing ovation at the top from a bunch of bikers (B.C. is hog heaven), they had stopped to recuperate and couldn't believe a cyclist could make it to the top without stopping. They asked for his autograph (he loved that!) and took his picture.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
194 kms-9hrs 26 mins. Total to date 6,240km.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Now the end is tantalizingly near and painfully far at the same time. Maybe Grand Forks by Thursday, Keremeos by Friday, Manning Park Saturday, and Monday Vancouver and the ferry to Victoria.
Can't get over how much traffic there is RVs by the dozen with retired drivers! Constant trucks and cars packed with kids. B.C. is a tourist magnet. Its so stressful have had to put away the ipod to concentrate totally on the traffic. The shoulder is so bad,littered with rocks, cracked and uneven, so have to ride on the road. It's tense.
Heath wise good thing its ending. Have permanent numb spots on both hands and blisters on both cheeks! IE saddle sores. Knees and quads are aching and takes increasingly longer to warm up in the morning. I've noticed my legs cramp easily even when I'm not on the bike.
168 kms-6 hrs 58 minutes- 6,046 kms Total
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Found a bar(empty as usual) and ordered the only thing on the menu-a personal pizza and wings. (Then watch the bartender undo the plastic and throw them into the microwave.) Still starving, I look for a corner store, nothing, BUT find another bar. Again it's empty BUT has a better menu so I order a burger n'fries. First time I ate dinner TWICE in the space of an hour.
Deathly silence, it seems unfair that after riding all day with no one to talk to, I arrive in town and there is NO ONE in the pub. Who would imagine I'd be desperate to talk?(with complete strangers - anyone? which is totally unlike me). It turns out there is such a thing as too much of a good thing (solitude). (C:Now I know why B is so annoyed when I don't answer the phone! And being out of town at a conference this week I haven't been around. A crime! Who knew.)
Weatherwise the mountains might bring relief. Cool in the morning and slowly heats up all day so not bad. Am apprehensive about rain in the mountains but might be lucky and miss it. On the energy front, am finding it hard to get going in the morning, generally tired, stiff, sore. Have to stretch out, and ride gingerly early on to settle the saddle sores. (Pain-free is no longer an option, but with only a week to go I can bear it). Tomorrow my mantra will be, "this is my last Tuesday", then "last Wednesday", last "Thursday". The mountains will be a distraction, now I need it.
148 kms - 6 hrs 40 minutes- 5,878 kms Total
Monday, July 26, 2010
In a first, find a women's wallet with ID, ten dollars, several pawn shop receipts, and a casino players card in it. There is a Casino here, so obviously she is a semi-regular player. Turned it into the desk and strangely she was still at the hotel (different room). Kind of sad.
174 kms-8 hrs 12 minutes-5,030 kms Total (corrected 5,730 kms Txs PN)
Sunday, July 25, 2010
One of the pics above is obviously coming into Medicine Hat late in the day... the other is a look back at one stretch of the long prairie road... click on it to enlarge and get you can get a sense of the endless roads and why this part of the trek is such a grind... I know the mountains are still ahead, but right now, this seems like the hardest part.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
177 kms-7 hrs 18 minutes- 5,332 Total
Thursday, July 22, 2010
A surprize - Regina is a polite, pretty city, nice town down, civilized (C: small?) and with a beautiful "green mile". (C: imported trees and a fake lake). Moose Jaw too is an attractive town, with good motels and restaurants. Tx G. Cause covered in mosquito bites from the last flea bag motel. First things first, find a Laundromat, The Snow Hut (also sells ice cream), fight with the single moms over washers, kids crying and dogs barking the whole time. Staying at the Travel Lodge on Athabasca and Main, so nice, so clean, so air conditioned.
143 kms-6 hrs 26 minutes-5,155 Total
226 kms-9 hrs 41 minutes-5,012 Total
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Not sure how many more big days I have in the legs though... Contrary to popular opinion, the prairies are not flat... especially going west. Even when the road seems flat, your legs tell you that you are slowly creeping uphill towards the rockies... and I'm feeling it. It's getting harder and harder to get back on the bike each morning.
Still, I'm past the 2/3 mark and it is beginning to feel like I can really do this. Time to get back on the bike though... lots of kms still to go today and it is a beautiful day for riding... winds are light (so far)... and the sun is shining after finishing in the rain yesterday.
P.S. Lesley... I love any flavour, but if you can do chocolate-orange, Carmel is out and you're in!
There were thunderstorms all day but it only actually rained the last ten minutes. As for dinner, every thing closes at 8pm. After a few days being reduced to gas station snacks, now I don't bother cleaning up, just find a restaurant. I barely made it today (ten minutes of a buffet) at the Dragon Inn. Better sweating & rushed than starving.
The other challenge is motels, I have to look up motels in the phone book ahead of time to find out WHICH towns have them.
206 kms-9 hrs 31 minutes-4,786 kms Total
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
No more bugs, tents, empty motels and snack food for dinner. The only thing he'll miss about crossing northern Ontario is the spectacular scenery, and the girls softball team he watched the World Cup game with one night. He was so starved for company he didn't mind them talking over the game and all the random unprompted giggling.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
C: As for how the rest of us are spending the summer, Leslie is keeping us mesmerized with her incredible baked treats. (Chocolate cupckaes anyone?) I'll bet B could eat ten right about now!! Leo ate 7! (Is that even possible for a grown up?)
A late night update: As luck would have it 15 km out of Falcon Lake along the hwy he stumbles across a little motel..The town? No name-no restaurant-no bar. A rustic resort (?) (C: For future reference -no place without food or a bar is a RESORT?!). Mosquito swapping is a sport-ie constant- (another reason it's not a resort!).
Ever heard of: crazyguyonabike? He's a celebrity cyclist of sorts (blogger) -quit his job 4 years ago and spends ALL his time cycling-from the tip of South America (some buses & boats) but mostly leg power. He's on his way home to Victoria, it will take him two months more he says. (Unlike B 's planned 2 1/2 week deadline). Jeff Kruys-he worked with computers digitizing maps. (C: Hey Jeff don't be giving B any wild and crazy ideas-he's bad enough!)
PS -Yes saddle sores (well one big one) is now an irritant. So a planned stop at a pharmacy asap.
224 kms- 10 hrs 18 minutes-4,364 kms Total
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Likely lack of carbos, the food (including highway stop shops) has been iffy lately, but that shouldn't be an issue in Dryden. All the more reason to stop early, (if you call 165 km in 7 hrs early?), but even if he adds another hour he gains nothing since Winnipeg is still two days away no matter how you divide the distance.
In TO the running gang is BBQing at Jeff's tonight to celebrate Michael and Via's pending new addition. B might be finished and back before the baby arrives- He can celebrate then! Maybe a joint "arrival" party!
171 kms- 8 hrs 3 minutes - 4,140 kms Total
Not ideal, but after a day of brutal winds and 3 hours of rain, he wasn't about to complain or camp out. And since it rained all night, it was soooo much better than the tent option. Besides motels the great wide north is also lacking in pasta or anything besides meat. A vegetarian would starve. It's all burgers or steak. He admits - not to hunting-but to foraging (eating wild strawberries growing near the hwy). Irresistible.
164 kms -9 hrs 1 minute-3,969 kms Total
Thursday, July 15, 2010
He was happy to meet Helen and Jody, a couple of young Brits in Canada on a one year visa, cycling from Toronto to Vancouver to find work at Whistler and other ski resorts in the winter.
PS Meanwhile back home on Marlow we are enjoying a sunny day on the deck and neighors wish B well on his hair brained scheme. Even Cooper (the dog) is confused, why go that far from home? Even a pooch knows better.
He is however having happy childish flashbacks as the trains chug by tooting, (yes dear, the conductor is tooting at you), He'll easily make Thunder Bay tomorrow even though there is 11 km of stripped off hwy-no pavement-to navigate first. (I suggest walking the bike?) It'll be rattle ,rattle, bump for an hour at a snails pace, but after that it should be an easy day. Only 800 kms to Winnipeg, and it's all the back-half from there.
193 kms-9 hrs-16 minutes-3,658 Total
C: Okay - Only B would fall in love with a yellow brick road sign. Has anyone under 50 even seen The Wizard of Oz? B's a classic (old) movie fanatic: The Thin Man ? Anyone? Exactly you've never heard of it or William Powell. My first question when he finds a fabulous movie to watch: Is it in colour? At least the sign is. He's also crossed Eley Road, and a few other memorable signs.
C: Leeton B (B's podmate at wk) sends his best. He's a competitive martial arts guru, (why are all B's freinds so competitive)? He cycles too, not across the country at the moment but since it seems all the guys B is meeting on the road are "retired", I suspect its part of a future plan.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Another big day... 195k in 8 hrs 57 mins... but it seemed "easy" after the last couple of days. Get this... the marathon runner, on a marathon bike ride has arrived in the town of Marathon... and the only room available is a smoking room!!!
Anyway, it's one of those rare times I've found a computer where the USB port isn't disabled, so I can update some pics. I especially like the one with the road they named in my honour... sadly it was going the wrong way, so I had to bypass it and stay on the TransCanada.
And I just had to take the depressing pic with all the kms to various points... I think they must be measured as the crow flies... but it still makes the point... it's a long way to go!
Totals to date... 3,465km in 170hrs and 36 mins of pedaling.
By the way... if anyone is interested, I went through the home of Winnie the Pooh today... White River... If you don't know the story, google it... and appropriately, I even saw a bear by the road today... he didn't seem interested in me though... I guess there's not enough meat left on these bones!
Monday, July 12, 2010
11 and a half hours of monstrous hills, brutally slow at 20 km per hour, at once point pedalling constantly for 15 minutes up a hill. That particular hill was a drain at 9 km per hour, in and out of the saddle.
He had planned to tent it in the park, (for the first time), but it just didn't seem a good idea at the time. The woods were so dense he couldn't find a place to pull off until he hit the campground at the end of the park, and then it was only another 30 km to Wawa.
( a measly 30 kms?) The ride was only 20 kms longer than yesterday but took 3 hours longer.
He met Bob & Dale (not Doug) two fellow cyclists who'd met on the hwy and teamed up. One was going from Vancouver to Toronto, the other from Fernie, B.C. to Ottawa. Both 50 plus. (Who knew X-country cycling was so popular?)
He finished exhausted but sounding surprizingly chipper, and amazed at his output.
(me too!) His legs are NOT sore, but he's starving. Is it possible? he's getting stronger every day and is slightly nervous it can't last.
235 kms- 11 hrs 39 minutes-3,270 total (2 more good days might be half the distance done....no he's not competitive).
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Also a perk, the bike was still clean and I didn't have to spent the usual 2 hrs going over it. So far bugs are not a problem, hope that continues. What I could really use is a couple more "buffs", (the multi-purpose tube-scarf runners use to cover their faces in winter). It is promoted as having 12 different uses, wraps the neck, head, face, hairband depending on how you adjust it. I can add a 13th, I need one to stuff under each leg of my shorts to drap over my knees and keep the sun off...am getting an incredible suntan(burn?).
I passed (yes passed- do you know how slow horses are?) a Mennonite family in a cart along the highway to the delight of the kids who cheered "the race". I thought they looked pretty cool too. Made it to Sault Ste. Marie in a relatively pain free day.
208 kms-8hrs 50 minutes-3,035 kms total. (in another 3 days I'll be at half the total distance about 3,500kms).
Saturday, July 10, 2010
A beatiful day for a ride... sunny and the humidity is finally gone. I also past a major psychological barrier today by crossing Manitoulin Island and climbing up onto the Canadian shield to hit the TransCanada at Espanola. I'm finally in Northern Ontario and headed west on the TransCanada, north of the great lakes... the next big leg of my journey... and I feel like I've broken the bonds of eastern Canada and southern Ontario.
Tonight I'm staying in Massey after a slightly shorter than normal day (due to the ferry crossing), but did put in 146k for a total to date of 2,824k.
I also became an honourary member of some Long Island, NY motorcycle club, when we all lined up together for the ferry. I joked about hanging with the cool gang even without a motor and then we traded stories about our respective travels. The 2-wheel thing seems be a strange bond... I always get waves and friendly toots from bikers that pass me. I'm off to find myself a steak and a beer now...
Friday, July 9, 2010
Met a stranger on the hwy, a woman mid-forties (retired teacher) who was cycling across Canada too.....only she was doing it leisurely. C: Still a feat! B: She cycled from Vancouver to Winnipeg last year, and this year flew to Winnipeg and is cycling to St. John's. Good thing she's retired though cause she started June 12 and has only done 1,500 kms (the tourist bike tour). C: snob!
Several close calls on the road as cars speed two abreast to pass each other heading right at me. Am I invisible? On more than one occasion I was shocked when I looked up to see them bearing down on me. $%$# scary! I don't think they concider a bike -a vehicle. I've been cut so close its
chilling. C: Well it helps you stay cool then! As Larry & Dave P tell me when I'm running -head up-head up! B: Finish in Tobermory. Beautiful, scenic, romantic. (ooh forget it..focus, focus)
Thursday, July 8, 2010
C: The East Coast was scenic but B is happy to leave it behind. Now instead of freezing rain and hail, he has scorching heat to deal with; 33 plus all week. It means he has to stop for water twice as often, since the water he's packing is too hot to drink or even pour over his head.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
It's been a wild few days. After I nursed the crippled bike into Belleville, my bad luck was offset by getting to enjoy a semi-rest day at my parents who live nearby. In the end I had to buy a new wheel and then spent the afternoon working on the bike and doing a couple short test rides to make sure everything was working. Yesterday, it was back on the road, restarting where I left off in Belleville.
A long, hot 186km ride into Toronto in 8 hrs 44 mins (with another flat... but just a nice normal one) got me home just as a bbq to celebrate my progress so far was getting started. What a great evening with so many friends. I think I may have re-hydrated with a few too many beers!
I want to thank everyone for coming. It's been lonely out on the road, and admittedly, I was pretty down after all the problems the other day, so last night was a real pick me up. Special thanks to Marie, Phill, and others who helped Carmel with all the cooking and other fussing while I lazed around.
Now I have to get back on the road before I get too comfortable here. However, after the late night and with all this heat, I'm definitely going to be dialing my effort back a notch and taking a few easier days to recover before the next big push into northern Ontario. From here I head towards Tobermory and the ferry to Manitoulin and on up to the Trans Canada.
Totals to date... 14 days of riding from St John's to Toronto...2,338 km (avg 167 km per day)... and I'm now basically 1/3 done.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
The forecast predicted it would be windy but it had to be 30 km, the bike slowed down on downhills the minute I stopped pedalling. I was so close to lying down on the side of the road at one stage. Thank God for Tim Hortons (C: thats what Brenda & I say! We always include a Tim's stop in our training rides, we also eat popsicles and have coke breaks when its really hot and sometimes we do lie down on the side of the road for a break and eat gummy bears for a sugar hit!).
B: And because a lot of the day was a scenic route, Hwy 2 and parts of the Waterfront Trail, the wind over the water was worse. It's slightly longer but easier riding because there's less traffic.
I finally had to resort to using my ipod to keep going-182 songs later I arrive at the best motel so far. No one has questioned me taking my bike into my room either, and given the dismal state of it some days thats amazing. Whats funnier is they always ask if I have a car.
There was a positive side to the heat..for the first time I didn't have to spend 2 hours cleaning the bike. Just pumped up the tires as usual and POP the rear tire blows. In some sense, good timing if it had to happen and I'm packing 8 spares so I change it. The bad news, 4 of the 8 dont fit. The valve is too short. I change the tube and tire. I'll have to pick up more spares in TO. And get more suntan lotion. I'm hoping tomorrow is an easier day, I can already taste the ribs n' beer at dad & Margarets.
187 kms-9 hrs 56 minutes-2,039 kms total
We had a good bye party for neighbors Pat & Jack last night, and thought they'd be gone (retiring to Picton) before B would see them again, but it turns out not so! We'll have another BBQ Monday night. (July 5 - 5 pm) Consider this an invite. I'll send an email with details. Phone if you need directions. Brian will love to see everyone.. he'll probably fall asleep by 9 pm, but that doesn't mean the rest of us can't stay up and celebrate a half finished epic century ride. C
At one point came to (missing) bridge under construction, (there was NO BRIDGE) but it was ten km back to an alternate route (forget backtracking) so I picked up the bike and carried it through the mud, across straw bales and gravel piles to the other side. No one tried to stop me so I guess it was ok.
Getting through Montreal was brutal. Constant road blocks, detours, and construction with no signs on alternate routes. Had to navigate on the fly. Wound up making it to a seedy motel in Cornwall. Some kind of biker's (and I don't mean cyclists) party going on, but there was no other option.
208 kms-10 hrs 4 minutes-1,852 kms total
That means I'm meeting my goal of a century a day. Eleven days of 100 miles plus (160 kms)and of that 2 days were over 200 kms. Am on track for Kingston Saturday night, Campbellford Sunday night, and Toronto Monday night (TO is 175 km from Campbellford).
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Ibuprofen is my new favorite snack. My back is better but slight tendonitis in my right knee.
H/E not bad after a monster day. First 4 hours NO RAIN finally! But then scattered showers, the rest of the day. Think straining into the wind is hurting my knee, and my chapped lips are killing me. Put sunscreen on constantly but think the wind dries it out. Will get zinc in TO. Strangely at least one thing seems improved by the weather, my skin is better than at home.
Stopped for lunch (roast beef sandwich and diet coke) at a roadside café for the first time. It just appeared at the right time out of the blue so it seemed a good idea. Still wearing all three jackets so it’s not much warmer, but not complaining since at least rain is “scattered showers” not driving sheets. Haven’t seen any sign of Canada day celebrations. (perhaps Saint. Jean- Baptiste Day last week was all there is in Quebec).
I have found a new distraction though, instead of counting kms as I usually do, am counting down the creation dates of each town I pass, from Riviere–Du-Loup 1605 to the latest one at 1704 as I move up the St. Lawrence.
Wind up having a monster day, don’t stop till Tracy, about 70 kms from Montreal. Thank you Leslie for very kind offer (to stop at her moms and do laundry!) would love it, but won’t be stopping long enough. (C: mmm for Leslie's chocolate ganoush cupcakes maybe. He might detour to TO for that! Sounds much better, amazing what a little sunshine will do.)
217 kms-10 hrs 41 minutes-1,644 total