Saturday, August 21, 2010

Videos and Pics on YouTube

Just in case anyone is still checking in on the blog, I've uploaded to YouTube some videos and a little slideshow of pics from the trip.  Links below...

On the road in PEI:
A little prairie perspective:
Riding the prairies:
Rolling out from Crowsnest Pass:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Some final thoughts...

I've had a few days to relax, unwind, and think of something profound to say but to be honest, I mostly just feel numb. That cold, rainy start back in St John's seems so long ago, and so far away... and the endless miles since, are a bit of a blur. Sitting here in Victoria is still very surreal. I know I've done something special that I'll never do again. And of all the challenges I've set for myself, this was certainly the biggest... but it really hasn't sunk in yet.

Mentally, I feel a bit lost... having gone cold-turkey from the 24-7 routine of the last 6 weeks. I'd be tempted to go for a ride, if I hadn't already spent most of a day disassembling, cleaning, and packing up the bike for shipping home. Carmel and I did borrow some mountain bikes and go for an easy jaunt one day and I instantly felt better... though that may have had something to do with the several ice cream stops!

Physically, my body is suffering. Lots of little aches and pains, and I'm so tired that I want a nap almost as soon as I get up. The last week in the mountains really took alot out of me. I've tried some easy running with Carmel, but the legs are empty and not used to the pounding... It was very slow and painful. There are lots of great trails here though, so I am doing some nice walks.

Going through my pictures is fun and does help remind me of all the places I passed through and the interesting things I saw along the way. Several people have asked me what was the most beautful part of the country. I've always been partial to the mountains, but there was never a day from the east coast, to the Saint Lawrence valley, Northern Ontario, prairies, and finally the mountains, that I wasn't mesmerized by the scenery. Sometimes I had to force myself not to stop to take yet another picture! Sure, my favourite will always be the mountains (masochist that I am) but I loved it all.

I've driven the country once but you see so much more on the bike... partly because of the slower speed... but also, because you aren't cocooned behind glass in a steel shell. You feel closer to everything you pass by and can literally stop on a dime to soak in any view or make a detour that you would have cruised by in a car.

Still though, I think it's going to take some time to fully appreciate the experience. For now, I'm looking forward to getting home, seeing friends, and having another party!

Friday, August 6, 2010

C: Did he put on a pound yet? My mom is still anxious about seeing B's ribs, so it's cookies, squares, lasagna and ice cream. I'm just happy he's finished with no long term injuries (we hope) and that he wasn't hit by a car. Fortunately Victoria is cooler and dryer than normal this summer so he has lots of time to recuperate. Three days later he is still generally tired, and it's like an Ironman, finishing is kind of anti-climatic.
C: The ride is over and already he's running! B still suffers from sore quads, stiff calves, night sweats(afraid he'll wake up and have to do it again?!), and numb hands. But none of it is debilitating, (just annoying) so he is already going for short 6 kms runs up and down the hills here in the highlands (area of Victoria).It's barely 8am and he's already off on a walk/run.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Let the healing (mental and physical) begin. I actually arrived in Victoria yesterday (Monday August 2nd) but celebrating seem to get in the way of updating the blog.

My final day on the road was short... just 91km but was not without a last couple of challenges as I ended up doing 2 furious time trials... the first was over the last 10km to make the next ferry and save myself an hours wait (made it with less than a minute to spare)... and then a second all out sprint to the end through the streets of Victoria after being slowed up by some construction and knowing that Carmel and family/friends were waiting on me. I ended up missing my predicted arrival time by 9 mins... but that's not too bad after over 7000kms of riding!

The official finish was the mile "0" marker in Beacon Hill park in Victoria, where the TransCanada ends (begins?).  Carmel and everyone were there waiting and I basked in my moment of glory as I was showered with champagne.

As I sit here the morning after... I feel a little lost. It seems strange to not be doing the usual routine of packing up and rolling out for another day of pedalling. The whole thing feels surreal and it will take some time to unwind and settle back into "normal" life. I'll post some final reflections on my journey in a few days but for now, here are the raw details.  Despite what I said before I started, my competitive side took over once I got going and I did turn this into a race to see how fast I could get across the country and of course, to try and beat my birthday (which I did by 2 days!)

Number of days on the road:  42
Number of days actually riding:  40 (2 days off very early on for bike problems and visiting family)
Total distance:  7009 kms
Average distance per day:  175.2 kms  (or 108.9 miles)
Longest single day:  235km  (10 days over 200km)
Shortest day:  91km (the final day)
Total time on bike (just pedaling... not including stops):  339 hrs 25 mins
Average time in saddle per day:  8 hrs 29 mins
and finally... Weight at finish:  150.5 lbs  (start was ~165... so lost almost 15 lbs... but I'll be doing my best to drink that back on over the next little while)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

After the last 4 gruesome days in the mountains, I was finally able to enjoy myself today, knowing that there would be no more big climbs... just a relatively leisurely, mostly downhill run from Hope to the lower mainland. I even allowed myself to detour for a little sightseeing... visiting Harrison Hot Springs on the way down, and then riding along the US border road.

I'm spending tonight in Langley, within easy range of the Tsawwassen ferry for tomorrow after adding another 161km (in 7hrs 37 mins) on this penultimate day of my cross country adventure. That brings the total kms to 6,918.

I'm still pretty shattered from all those big climbs in the last 4 days. Today I had trouble getting up a baby 2km climb (admittedly it was a steep 11%). It doesn't seem like there's anything left in the legs, but part of that may just be that I know the end is near and I don't have to force myself to do anymore. I now know why no other cyclists take the southern hwy 3 route... It may be scenic, but it's the shortest route to the coast because it simply goes up and over every big mountain pass in its way. The worst part was not knowing how big those climbs were. I remember being all excited when I started the first one... picturing myself like the star Tour De France riders... but that wore off quickly with the leg and soul destroying grind of each new climb. Only the thought of the end kept me going... and maybe it was better not knowing how tough each climb was going to be... but it's all over now.

I'm so looking forward to tomorrow and the end. As I write this, Carmel is in the air, winging her way to Victoria (now why didn't I just do that?)... She'll be at the finish... the mile zero marker in Beacon Hill park... and I can't wait to see her and start celebrating.

The pics... Sasquach making off with the Kokanee is from the ridge above Osoyoos a couple days ago... the wooden statue is from my role-out in Hope this morning... and the Allison pass summit sign that marked the end to the final big climb of my trip just before a cold rain started and made the descent into Hope extra scary... a bad memory that is quickly receding and should be helped along by much drinking starting tomorrow afternoon!
Saturday: Hiding out in Hope. A day and a half and counting down. Strangely the last 160 plus km from Princeton to Hope, were rainy and cold just like the week I started in Nfld. It was a miserable day. I had to drag the vest and jacket out again as it was overcast and chilly, the cool mountain air of the Allison Pass. I was dragging all the way up, then bonked at the top, (probably why I was so cold), then it's 60 kms of flying downhill into Hope. The pavement is terrible (it's been stripped prior to repaving), and the wind- deadly. Had to stop and put my jacket on. You can still see snow on the slopes above.

Even though I can hardly walk today, (legs are dead), just knowing it's just one easy day to the end is envigorating! After this just have to head through the Fraser Valley ( the sound of that word) to Tswassen where the ferry leaves for Victoria.

201 kms-10 hrs 19 minutes-6,757 kms