Saturday, June 30, 2012

Hot Sand On Toes

Marathon to Wawa - 189 km

Basically there is not much between Marathon and Wawa so I decided to try and make the long jump to Wawa in one shot.  The road mellowed out a lot after Marathon so I was able to make good time.  The wind however was confused.  One moment it was in my face and the next it was pushing me along at a solid pace.  There was not much as I was told other than some huge mines.  It was forest, forest, forest...GIANT MINE...forest, forest. Some of the mines were gold mines I think, as one of the roads to a mine was called the Yellow Brick Road...Maybe I could have gotten a brain there.

About 120 km in I was sitting at a random gas station having a water and  cooling off in the shade.  I was feeling really run down from battling the wind and needed to recharge a bit.  I couple of kids rolled up on a dirt bike and a quad.  We ended up chatting for about a half an hour about the area.  Nick's (left) family has a cabin in the area but lives in Subury and Brenden (right) was from Wawa.  They were on their first day off since school ended and I think they were at the point where they had no clue what to do first. Naturally when talking to 14 year old boys the conversation turned to hockey and Nick is a goalie and Brenden's favorite player is Makin.  These kids were awesome and I totally wanted to bomb around on dirt bikes with them just like when I was a kid growing up on the farm.

After leaving them my mood and energy was a lot better so I tackled the last 70 k.  The wind turned on me however with 40 k to go making a very painful day in the end. I rolled into a camp ground right outside of town.  Finally met some other cyclist while camping! Three dudes coming from Hamilton heading to Vancouver and eventually San Francisco.  They had just graduated from Waterloo with software engineering degrees and decided to ride to their first jobs in San Fran. Made some dinner with them and chatted about the road coming up then passed out in my tent.

What I learned yesterday:
- The start of summer vacation is a great feeling.
- I think every restaurant along the #1 has roughly the same menu
- Mines destroy a lot more than I thought they did

Wawa to Sault Ste Marie - 227 km

So I got up this morning really early because I was not sure where to stop along the way to the Sault. The first part of the ride after is actually very hilly but once into Lake Superior Provincial Park I was very much distracted by the incredible views.  I am going to say that this section of road has been the most stunning part of my trip.  Part of this was the weather today with clear skies and the sun shinning off the lake everything seen to pop out at you. I found myself climbing harder to get to the next scenic view of a beach or the lake as a whole.

About 70 k in I stop for a snack at Katherine Cove.  I sat at a bench with the inscription "Tom Gillespie Boy Explorer for 85 Years"  The bench looked over this beautiful beach under the shade of some trees.  It was a perfect spot and as I ate my bagel I wished I could have met Tom.  With a little more mental fuel I headed back on the road.

I have only ridden over 200 km a few times. One was last week with Bill and the others were all in races which is a very different thing because you have people to draft and things are happening all around you. When racing you are not so much concentrating on how far you have to go but more on the race itself, who is attacking and how far the break is etc.  When you set out to ride 200+ km on your own its a bit of a mental battle in the beginning.  Today after riding for an hour and half and seeing a sign that says 180 km to your destination is really a slap in the face. My first thought was 'but I have done almost 50 k already?!?' So from there I tried to break up the day in 20 k chunks because it made the day more manageable.  I have aim for something smaller first, like just get to the 100 k point and see how you feel.  Ok once there get to the 150 mark and see how you are doing. At about the 160 mark the wind picked up behind me today and pushed me along at about 35 km/h WHICH WAS AWESOME!  Really made making it all the way possible as I thought I had to use the wind as much as possible because tomorrow it might be in my face.  That and breaking the day up with a couple of swims helped too. I got to the Old Mill Bay Campsite at 175 k and thought whats 50 more k.  Finished at about 7 pm. I will admit that I am more than a little destroyed right now and doing over 400 k in two days might be a bit of a mistake.  I will have to see how tomorrow goes.

Here is what I learned today:
- If you spend 12 hours in the sun you are going to burn some things no matter how careful you are
- I am very good at sweating
- No matter how old you get, you can still be a boy at heart

Beard Report:
Still itchy and I have noticed some things that are not fun.  Walking to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night means that you are going to walk through the odd spider web. Spiderwebs do not get out of beards easily and then it feels like there is spider on my face for the rest of the night.  I also think that when I do shave this thing off I am going to have one wicked beard tan line. This will be in addition to the t-shirt with nipples, watch tan, multi level sock tan and sunglass/helmet tan lines. Weeeeeeee.

If you have been enjoying what you are reading feel free to make a donation to and the James Fund. Thanks for reading and the support!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

These Legs Are For Climbing

Thunder Bay to Gravel River Provincial Park - 164 kms

The morning out of Thunder Bay was grey skies and a slight breeze in my face.  Apparently Bill Hunt brings the good weather and when he leaves the weather leaves too.  I rolled along the lake for about thirty kilometers and then hit Highway 1.  All along the way people had been telling me that the road gets hilly out of T-Bay and I was kind of brushing it off as talk.  The road however looks like a roller coaster. Constant ups and downs.  This lasted for about 40 km and then things mellowed out a lot and the sun came out.  This area of the world is truly one of the most beautiful places on the planet. It is absolutely stunning with large cliff faces and mountain like plateaus covering the landscape all with the giant lake looming in the background. At the some time its also a very harsh area to bike though.  The short steep hills are murder on the legs and every time you stop you are immediately covered in black flies and mosquitoes.  My friend Alex who I was riding with at the start of the trip would hate it here.

I made it to Nipigon and stopped at the local information booth.  The kid there did not know a thing about a place to camp between there and Rossport.  I wanted to do about 160 so I grabbed some food and water and decided to risk it.  About 45 k after that I found a place hidden from the highway in Gravel River provincial park.  I learned something huge that night stealth alway have to pay attention to where the train track are.  I was a lot closer than I thought and wow do they make a lot of noise when they roll by and they roll by often late into the night.  That coupled with getting eaten alive while cooking meant that I did not get a good sleep.

Here is what I learned yesterday:
- The sunshine apparently shines around Bill
- The locals were not lying to me about how hilly it is
- Bears stair at you the same way cows do as you ride by them.  Not sure if they are thinking the same thing though. I think cows are thinking "Is that thing going to eat me?" and bears are thinking "Can I eat that thing?"

Gravel River to Marathon - 148 km

I got up early because, well I was up...and after a bagel and some pop tarts I packed up my gear and got back on the road.  About 5 k down the road I was confronted with the first of three 4 km climbs that were at about 8% grade.  There was no wind however and the sun was out so the kilometers were tipping by.  I was not expecting the road to get more challenging after yesterday but it is on this stretch. You are either climbing or hauling ass downhill leaving very little time for recovery.  I made good time though and a few interesting things happened along the road.  First I came close to wiping out today for the first time on this trip.  I was flying downhill at about 50 km/h when a wasp smoked me in the neck stinging me in the process.  To make it worse it fell into my jersey and stung me on the chest.  My initial reaction was to try to squish it but that just made it sting me again so then I tried to rip off my jersey...all this while still bombing downhill. Luckily I had a full zip jersey on and I was able to unzip it enough that the little bastard could fly out.  If I had hit a bump or the shoulder changed I would have ate it for sure.  Three stings...not cool but everything is good.

Second was I finally caught up to another cyclist.  His name is Alex and he is from France.  He is riding a crazy recumbent bike from Vancouver to Niagara Falls.  His pace is slightly different from mine and the shoulder is small here so we agreed to meet up for dinner in Marathon.  Alex is super cool! He lives on boat in the south of France and has crossed the Atlantic on various occasions. I asked him why he was doing this trip and he told be he had no clue because its kinda crazy. His wife passed away years ago and he says that he is going on trips to show her the world because he knows she is with him.  Reminded me of the movie 'Up'.  His English was a bit broken but we chatted for a while about other trips he has been on as we ate our weight in pasta.  He is 60 and very much someone to look up to.

Here is what I learned today:

- Don't think that it can't get any more hilly because it can
- Recumbents are meant to ride by yourself and not with other people.
- I am 850 km into Ontario which is basically Manitoba and Saskatchewan combined and it still feels like I just started...this is a huge province.

If you have been enjoying what you are reading feel free to make a donation to and the James Fund. Thanks for reading and the support!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Half Way...

Ignace to Savanne River - 127 kms

We had plans to start out early on this morning but a flat on Bill's bike held us up after breakfast and we rolled out of Ignace at about 9:30 am.  Almost right away we were held up by some construction and then a lovely 4 km section of gravel...the day was starting off slow.  Soon after that though we ran into a Google Maps car on the highway and I promptly stuck my tongue out at it.  Anytime you get to make a face at a Google camera car I count that as a solid accomplishment so the day had suddenly taken a turn for the better.  We also got a exuberant honk and wave from a car which turned out to be my friend Mark Dewar who was heading to Winnipeg. Crazy that he saw us!

The road between Ignace and Upsala is rather boring with rolling hills and swamps all around.  We did stop for a break at a place with an amazing echo which we played with while eating a snack and dancing around to fend off the bugs.  The weather was cool though but sunny and clear making it easy riding.  We did run into a small bear on the side of the road and as we circled back to get a picture he/she had taken off. I was a bit low on energy today but Bill basically dragged me to our end spot.  Our accommodations that evening on the Savanne River were very much of the hunting/fishing camp variety.  We were greeted as we pulled in by a gentleman with no shirt and jeans who had more tattoos than teeth (he only had 3 tattoos that I could see).  He did have an awesome howling wolf on his back which both Bill and I failed to get a picture of. Very weak cell signal and a wifi that we had to walk to meant that we were just chilling in the cabin for most of the night eating pasta and re-hydrating. It was a beautiful spot however even though our cabin floor was on about a 12 degree slant and there were spiders everywhere.

Yesterday I learned:
- Google is everywhere...beware the floating head
- Howling wolf tattoos with the words 'Live Free' are coming back in style
- We discovered a new game called 'Wheel Of PopTart'.  I had put all the packages in my bag without the boxes meaning that we don't know what type of poptart.  First game I have invented that I win no matter the outcome.

Savanne River to Thunder Bay - 130ish kms

Today we got a early start as we had to get Bill's bike boxed up to ship back and it was supposed to be a very hot day so the we wanted to get some distance in the cool morning air.  The terrain was challenging rolling hills but we made good time. We were told in Upsala by the owner of the general store that it was all downhill to Thunder Bay after Raith but that dude totally lied to us. There was lots of climbing today and we cursed the Upsala General store all the way. We even lost an hour today as we passed into the eastern time zone.

We decided to take the longer route into Thunder bay to avoid some construction and check out Kakabeka Falls.  The water level all around was very high and the falls were raging!  So after a quick picture taking session and a lunch we rolled into Thunder Bay.

After cleaning up and getting Bill's bike to the bus station to get shipped back we headed to check out the Terry Fox Memorial. I did not expect that I would get as choked up as I did here.  Not only is the story inspiring but so very sad...the incomplete dream after so much suffering really got to me.  The timing was perfect though because with Bill leaving I was feeling the daunting task of heading over Lake Superior and was a little low on the amount of riding I still have to do to complete this. Getting to Thunder Bay was a triumph because I am now officially half way but holy crap....I am only half way. Being at the spot where Terry Fox had to suspend his dream was just the kick in the ass I needed to keep going.  He was an amazing inspiration and its an amazing story.

Today I learned:
- There is motivation everywhere. I have many heroes and Terry Fox is one of them.
-  There was a older dude that passed Bill and I with a hard hat and a bike that looked like something you would find a Shriner on.  It was humbling...
- Passed some cyclists going the other way today.  The conversation went like this: "Halifax?" "Yup! Vancouver?" "Yup!"  It was awesome to finally see some other people on tour.  Everywhere we have gone people tell us they have seen tons of people travelling on their bikes but I have not run into any of them.  Hopefully in the coming weeks I can run into some people going the same direction as me.

So with this post I bid good bye to Bill Hunt and me sucking his wheel for the last 700 kms.  Thank-you very much from coming out and keeping me out of my tent for a while.  Thanks to his wife Eryn Paterson for being our personal concierge! And thanks to Evans-Hunt for loaning him to me for the last few days.  Bill you are a very strong cyclist and I look forward to riding with you again. And for all of you here is a picture of Bill watering the forest to say good bye.

If you have been enjoying what you are reading feel free to make a donation to and the James Fund. Thanks for reading and the support!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lakes and Trees

Kenora to Dryden - 138 kms

Bill and I headed out on our second day with the sun in our faces. The plan today was to make it to Dryden and the word on the street is that this was a tough section of road because of the short steep climbs. It was tough to leave the cabin and I really wanted to just hang out for a week.  But after two days rest in Winnipeg I am a bit behind my goal and really need to get some km under my belt.  The next sections of road are tough because there are few places in between towns and we have to make sure that we have enough water and food to make it through the day.  Our ride worked out well though and we were able to grab some lunch at a random motel about half way to Dryden.

You see some crazy things made by random people in this area.  Art it seems is very subjective here.  We rolled into Dryden with no issues and set up at a hotel on the edge of town before a huge thunder storm rolled through the area.

Yesterday I learned:
- I have to spend more time at the cabin (anyone want to come?)
- Seeing a moose is more difficult than you think it would be (they are huge).
- Dryden smells funny.
- All you can eat Indian buffet seems like a good idea after a long is not.

Dryden to Ignace - 107 kms

We had to do a shorter day because we want to end this portion of the trip in Thunder Bay and the kms distance is a bit awkward for the time we have. Bill doesn't have camping gear so we are needing to end the day in places that have hotels.  Today the wind was odd and constantly changing.  One second it was in your face and the next we were humming along at 35 km/h.  That with the number of hills made for a challenging ride even with the shorter distance.  There is basically nothing between Dryden and Ignace so right at the end we ran out of water and were very hungry because of skipping lunch to make it here early.

The traffic here is mostly trucks and RVs. The trucks should be more scary but most of the trucks are awesome and pull over as much as they can while the RVs buzz you.  There is not much shoulder here and Bill and I had to ride single file making for a boring day.  The terrain has change a lot as well and there is less lakes and you mostly ride through a column of trees all day. There are occasionally fields of flowers.  The only really exciting thing that happened is the first flat of the trip and it was Bill...quickly fixed and we were on our way.

By the last twenty km we just wanted to be done.  We had ridden 350 kms in the two day leading up to today so getting off our bikes early was welcome. We even made it in time to check out the overtime and penalty kicks for the England, Italy game today.

Today I learned:
- The last 20 km of any ride is the longest part of the day.
- There is no place to get water between Dryden and Ignace. Must pack more water!
- THERE ARE SMORE POP TARTS!!!!!! They make me happy.

Still have not ran into any other cyclists.  We have been told over and over that there are a lot of other riders out there and many of them are doing cross Canada tours but we have seen none.  I have not passed or have been passed by anyone. Maybe tomorrow?

If you have been enjoying what you are reading feel free to make a donation to and the James Fund. Thanks for reading and the support!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ontario Greets You With Flies

Winnipeg to Kenora - 210 km

I had an awesome two days of rest where I saw friends and family and gave my legs some time to recover.  Thursday I picked up my friend Bill Hunt, who is going to be joining me from Winnipeg to Thunder Bay and I am very grateful to have him along for the next 700 km.  After some running around getting some food and picking up my super clean bike from the guys at Alter Ego we headed back to my parents place where tons of family and friends came over to see me off.  It was so good to see everyone and amazing for the support that they have given me.  My family and friends are incredible and I am very lucky to have all of them in my life.

Bill and I saddled up early Friday morning for the long haul to Kenora.  My mother was driving to the cabin this weekend so she was able to take our gear for us.  So light on weight and with a sunny day that had virtually no wind we rolled out for one of the first dry days I have had for awhile.  The first point of interest was hitting the longitudinal centre of Canada.  Kind of a moral victory here because in actual distance I had about 600 to go before I am half way through my trip but it was still fun to take some pictures by the sign on the highway.

From there we rolled along the flat straight road that are typical around here.  About 50 km into the ride we started to notice a few horse flies buzzing around us.  A few became many, and soon we were basically in a swarm of horse flies.  It was absolutely insane!  I have never seen so many flies on a bike ride.  There was no way to out run them and for the most part they were not landing on us or biting us so it was more annoying.  It was odd because the cloud of flies only occurred when we were on our bikes and the sun was out.  When we stopped we would only notice 2 or 3 flying around us.  If the sun would go behind a cloud all the flies would disappear.  It was just spooky.  We will see if this continues as we get deeper into the Canadian Shield.

After a stop for lunch at a small town called Prawda we hit the Ontario boarder. Four provinces down and three to go.  The size of Ontario however is bananas... and I am going to spend a third of my time in this juggernaut.  I have 1500 kms of Canadian shield to get through before I start hitting the dense population of the south east of Ontario.  I am going to be in this bad boy for awhile!

210 km is the biggest day so far and there is a solid feeling of accomplishment after taking two days off.  Bill and I dominated today with just under 7 hours of riding time.  No gear and sunny skies are awesome! Hopefully we can get more days like this but its going to be hilly from here on out and we will be under full weight.

Today I learned:

- You cannot out run horse flies....we tried.
- Bill is a strong rider
- Manitoba, east of Winnipeg has crappy roads and no shoulder to ride on.
- Even after 2400 km through rain, snow and wind I still really like cycling!

Currently Bill and I have been feed to near bursting by my AWESOME mother and now were are lounging around the cabin. My parents cabin is just north of Kenora on a lake called Black Sturgeon and it is one of my favourite places on the planet.  So I am going to leave you with the more than pleasant view we have to end our day.  I love this place and wish I could spend more time here...

And again if you have been enjoying what you are reading feel free to make a donation to and the James Fund. Thanks for reading and the support!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Peg...And Some Rest

Virden to MacGregor - 165 kms

Got up and immediately noticed that the wind was at my back today.  Stoked, I got my gear on and had a quick breakfast and hit the road as fast as I could.  It was raining but it was a good opportunity to cruz at 40 km/h for awhile and make up some ground.  The wind however decided to change direction about 30 minutes in and I was left again to slog it out in the rain. This day was relatively boring and I played 'Rise Against' in my head phones most of the day to keep my legs moving (you would not like it mom, lots of loud noises). Usually I have my iPod going on shuffle but for some reason it likes to land on Paul Simon every second song so lately I have been just playing albums and trying to theme it to where I am.   For example the day before when I was riding across the boarder I played some Weakerthans and then some Neal Young to 'Manitoba' the ride a little more. 

Days like this where the road is straight and flat and the weather is dark and wet, not letting you see the terrain I find myself inside my head a lot.  Cycling has always been a source of meditation for me.  A place where I can think through my problems or focus on my body and control things like motivation, fatigue and pain.  This day was very much a suffering day.  I was cold, tired from the effort the day before and boring road made it so I had to push out thoughts of quitting. Jens Voigt, who is one of my favorite professional cyclists, has a famous line where he tells his legs to 'shut up' when they start hurting (  I love that and that popped into my head on more than one occasion for this ride.  The other thing that happens to me is I start making deals with myself.  Its almost like I am tricking myself into riding further.  I will think "just to those bushes and you can take a break" or "just 10 more hard minutes and you can take a break." I always get to those spots like the bushes or the 10 minutes and think "well if you made it this far you can go a bit more." Its like I am tricking my own brain....stupid gullible!  For the most part though I ride for about an hour and then take a short stretch and eating break then get back on.  On days like this you just want to get your kms done and then get off the bike.

Things I learned yesterday:
- I clench my toes when I am working really hard pedaling.  How I have never noticed this I don’t know.  Maybe its my touring shoes flex more than my other shoes or that the fit on my touring bike is causing this some how.  It a mystery but I now notice it and try to relax my feet. 
- Music tends to keep me sane on long, boring, raining rides.
- The Trans Canada highway is responsible for a lot of animal deaths…

MacGregor to Winnipeg - 125 kms

Just a light wind in my face today and even though the clouds were threating I managed to stay dry the whole day.  I made it in a reasonable time and only got bit by one mosquito. I love Winnipeg.  You get a lot of slack being from here from most everyone in Canada (other than Regina…people from there are cool).  Most of those people have never spent much time here.  There is something of a shared experience and a community that you don’t get in other cities. Most people here have deep roots with the city and a pride that a lot of other cities are missing.  I always get a good feeling when I come here and it was good to be rolling through the streets again.

First mission upon getting to Winnipeg was dropping off my bike at Alter Ego Sports.  I have been on the road for 17 riding days and out of those 17 days I have had about 14 wet days so my bike is in dire need of some attention.  Alter Ego is an awesome shop in Winnipeg and James Dyker, Dave Chennell and Jeff Martin are some of the greatest guys in the bike industry.  Its always good to come back to see how the shop has grown and what they have planned.  After a bit of reminiscing it was off to home for food and family.

Things I learned today:
- I still think of Winnipeg as home even after 12+ years of not living here
- My face is tanned really funny from helmet straps, cycling cap and sunglasses.

So I have broken this trip into 4 phases in my head even before I started.  Phase one was Vancouver to Calgary.  Getting though the mountain and seeing friends in Calgary was what I was looking to get to when I started this trip. Phase two was Calgary to Winnipeg. Rolling thought the prairies and seeing family at the end were the two things I was looking to get out of this part.  The next phase is a little more daunting than all the other phases, Winnipeg to Montreal or Onterrible as my friend Jackie calls it. 2,397 kms which is basically phase one and two combined.  For the first 700 kms though I have my friend Bill Hunt coming out to ride with me and he should get here on the 21st.  Then I am solo again over the lake for 1000 kms to Sudbury.  I will start that battle though on Friday.  For now its two days of napping and eating!

And again if you have been enjoying what you are reading feel free to make a donation to and the James Fund. Thanks for reading and the support!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Mom hugs and Vanilla Pudding

Regina to Broadview - 158 kms

Leaving Regina was easy with a south west wind leaving me with an lazy ride for the day. For the most part the ride was uneventful up to Indian Head, Sk.  I stopped there for lunch and asked the tourist   info center where the best place to get some food was.  The gentleman there told me the restaurant at the Esso station was both good and cheap.  I was skeptical but when I walked in the place was full.  I stood there for a few minutes waiting for a place to sit.  The server said that Jim mentioned I could sit with him so I rolled over and met Jim.  Jim Smith is 73 and has lived in Indian head his entire life.  He grew up doing rodeo (calf roping I think) and then owned a farm with his wife for a number of years.  Now his wife runs a bed and breakfast out of his house and he works on a 19,000 acer farm.  Basically he drive tractor all day and then spends 3 months in the winter in Arizona every year.  Jim was awesome and for the whole meal I maybe got 3 words in.  It was nice to have company at lunch and learn about life in the area from an expert.

About 45 minutes down the road I ran into Hirotaka.  No matter what crazy thing you are doing there is somebody out there doing something more hardcore and crazy than what you are doing. Hirotaka is walking from Vancouver to Toronto....yup.....walking.  He had all his gear on a kart and was just strolling down the highway.  His English was not the greatest but he start out 50 days ago from when I met him.  What was crazy I mentioned this to my friend Darcy and he said that he saw him when he was going through Crowsnest Pass.  Darcy's buddy even gave him a jacket.  I tossed him some food and took a few pictures and headed on my way in aww.  Made it to Broadview and didn't see one 'broad' and went to bed after making some poor eating choices.

Things I learned yesterday:
- Sun and a side/tail wind make me a lot more happy than a headwind and rain
- There is a new level to 'going for a walk'
- Apparently 19,000 acre farms are more common than you would think
- After a long day riding one should not eat a whole 13" bacon, mushroom and pepperoni pizza to them self followed by an ice cream cone.  It will be awesome at the time but later you will not feel good. My brother stated that it will turn into rocket fuel when I mentioned it to him but I was more thinking that it was going to turn into a panic poop on the prairie.

Broadview to Virden - 137 kms

One of my favorite things about cycling is the reward for effort you get.  When climbing a mountain you get to bomb down the other side.  This makes the effort measurable and it has an goal or an end point.  Most of the rides I do we assess where the wind is coming from then start off into the wind so when we turn around we get to zoom home and feel like heroes riding with the wind to finish the ride. Effort and reward.  The thing about riding east from point to point means you are stuck with whatever conditions you are dealt.  Today I was dealt some crappy conditions.

My parents were going to meet me at the end of my ride today in Virden so this morning I was pumped to get to Mom and Dad hugs as well as vanilla pudding (I love vanilla pudding and my Mom knows this).  Getting on the highway the wind is directly in my face and blowing hard. Then about 20 minutes later it starts to rain.  The wind was blowing so hard the rain was stinging (my new facial hair did not help...stupid weak beard).  It took me about 4 hours to make it the 74 kms to Moosomin and my legs were spent. I was wet and freezing and just sat at Subway shivering.  My parents were only 20 minutes away so they came to meet me there.  We sat for an hour chatting and me resting. I gave them my bags and head back on the road for the final 65ish k to Virden.  There was no way I would have made it here today without them coming to meet me and would probably have tapped out in Moosomin.  Without the panniers in the wind and less the weight of my gear I was able to pedal the rest of the way. Rolled across the Manitoba boarder and then 20 kms outside of Virden there were lighting strikes all around me and the rain doubled its effort.  In the end I rolled in Virden destroyed.

Still a good Father's Day!

Today I learned:

- My parents are AWESOME! (I already knew this but I thought I would state it again)
- 137 kms of wind is about all I can take
- Remember how I said I was Thor because I can ride though a thunder storm.  Turns out this Thor is a wuss and lighting and thunder makes me pedal harder...scary
- Pizza does not help you ride

It has been brought to my attention that its hard to find where to donate on this blog so here is the link again (secure form link below) I have also added a link in my description on the about section on the right had side.  So if you have been enjoying what you are reading feel free to make a donation to Peloton65 and the James Fund. Thanks for reading and the support!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Queen City

Gull Lake to Chaplin - 146 kms

So I was slightly soggy when I rolled out of Gull Lake.  I liked that little town and it reminded me a lot of the town that I grew up in.  The morning was cold but the wind was hauling in my direction so I got out on the road really early.  Took a break in Swift Current to play on my computer and then for lunch in Herbert.  Relatively uneventful day and I was off the rode in Chaplin at about 2 pm for some well need rest.  Chaplin is really really small.  There is a bar, a small store and a restaurant on the highway and that is about it.  The streets are dirt but the people seem nice.  I went to the 'store' but the pickings were very very slim.  I was hoping to get some good bread but hotdog buns were all they had.  No Veggies but they had some watermelon and chocolate milk so I bought those and had pasta for a second night in a row.  I will have to get some good cheese and bread in Regina because all that was here were hotdogs and pizza pops.  Then I slept and slept and slept.

Yesterday I learned:
- Alpacas look funny shaved...
- I am not going to get a good Brie in small town Saskatchewan

Chaplin to Regina - 162 kms

So this morning I got up to ugliness and I wanted to stay in bed.  It was pouring and windy...very windy.  I waited till about 9 am and it eased off a bit. The rain had stopped but the wind had not and the wind was 35ish km/h right in my face.  I could barely hold 20 k and hour and I suffered the 85 kms to Moose Jaw.  By the time I got there I was smashed...knees sore and hip flex-ors stiff as hell. I was wanting to pull the rip cord but I had made a goal of Regina today and I wanted to make it.  So after getting some food I hit the road again for the final 80 k.  About 20 k from there I was blowing up and the wind that had died a bit had picked up again because of all the thunder storms that seemed to surround me.  I was suffering...  For the first time on this trip I wanted to stop riding. Bonking is something that I have experienced in the pass and I was closed to the edge at this point.  For those that don't know bonking is similar to hitting the wall in running.  Basically my body was out of sugar and energy.  Luckily there was a gas station and I was able to stop and grab a coke and a few other random items I would not normally chose.  Just before I went inside a little boy and his mom were going in as I was fiddling with my bag looking for my wallet.  I waved at the little dude and he looked at me and asked "Are you an adventure?"  I was a little taken aback and asked him "What gave me away?" and he said "You have a beard and all your bags!"  He was awesome.  After a brief conversation with him and his mom I stuffed my face and was back on the road with new motivation.  I took two things away from that conversation.  First HE SAID I HAVE A BEARD!  Wooooohoooo  its growing!  and second the thought of me as an 'adventure' had never occurred to me.  It was awesome and pumped me up for the next 20 k or so...  When I think about it now I am sure his parents had told him homeless people were adventurers to avoid a difficult conversation and I looked homeless.

About 20 k after that I was getting that bonking feeling again and the wind had doubled its efforts.  I was almost in my granny gear.  Its absolutely nuts how much wind my bags and upright position push. I am used to be able to be really low and out of the wind on my race bike and it was so crazy that if I stopped pedaling for a second I would stop immediately. The other thing that was a slap in the face was I could see Regina in the distance and no matter how hard I pedaled I could not get any closer.   Three more things helped me get through that last forty kilometers.  My friend Tara is racing in Banff Bike Week and she did well and was texting me her results.  This got me thinking about racing and gave me a little bit of energy and I thought of past races.   Second was my friend Jennifer was texting me motivational pictures with saying such as "hang in there"  Cheezy but it helped!  Thanks to both of you.  The third thing was the strategically placed T.M. sticker on my bike.  Every time I hung my head from fatigue I would see the sticker on the top tube and that pushed me on.  Thanks for that Brett.

Today was way longer than it should have been and I feel like I climbed up Cycpress 15 times back to back with no breaks.  I am hoping tomorrow will be better for wind and I can ride easy to recover from today.


Today I learned:
- Pop Tarts are awesome, easy to eat and a solid kick in the pants.  Thanks David Gerth for the pro tip.
- I look homeless
- Wind in the face is not cool

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Two Down, Seven To Go

Taking a break in Swift Current at a McDonalds because they have WiFi and I am thinking I am the only person in this place under the age of 70...Not sure if its a Swift Current phenomenon or a morning McDonalds thing.

Brooks to Medicine Hat - 105 kms

So I got up in stinky Brooks and packed my things and hit the road. Brooks is stinky because there is a meat packing plant just outside of town and the wind was not in the town's favor that morning. I was to meet up with Peter Mueller (Thomas's Grandfather) and Cory (Thomas's Uncle) at about the 65 k mark of my ride. Every time I meet up with someone in full road gear I feel like an old school WWII bomber flying with Spitfire escorts.  My bike is a big lumbering mass of gear and I am pumped to get back home and jump on my 16 lbs road bike.  It was awesome to meet both Peter and Cory and have them for company on the ride into Medicine Hat.  I was staying at the Mueller's that night so I followed Peter into town and when we got to his house Pat (Thomas's Grandmother) met us with smoothies.  It was an AWESOME way to end a ride. Feeding me seemed to be a theme of the afternoon and evening as I practically ate them out of house and home.  I don't think can thank them enough for hosting me and filling my tank.  Good people through and through.  I hope that I will be able to see them again soon and hopefully go for a solid ride with Peter some day (and eat more of Pat's cookies). Thanks again! You two rule!!!

Here is what I learned that day:

- The Mueller clan is awesome!
- Brett's 89 Toyota is still alive
- Pat's cookies are slightly addictive
- Every time I chase a gopher off the road I feel like a hero.  If I see 2 gophers every 5 km (modest estimate as there are tons of them) then I will have saved 532 gophers from Calgary to Winnipeg.

Medicine Hat to Gull Lake - 175 kms

So for the most part the ride to Gull Lake was uneventful.  There was a stiff tail wind in the morning and by afternoon the wind had died down and I was left to grind the last 75 k on my own.  the skies were cloudy all day but the rain held off.  I rolled across the Saskatchewan border and was immediate confronted with a climb.  Not the longest or hardest climb in the world but it was significant none the less.  Saskatchewan is surprisingly hilly with short rolling climbs. It was another day of not seeing any cyclists but I did give a hitch hiker a high five and said that I would see him in Regina.

With about 25 kms to go I was surrounded by thunder storms which could clearly be seen on the Saskatchewan skyline.  I was able to stay dry till I stet up my tent when the skies opened up and it rained from about 4:30 to about 9:30 pm.  It was pouring so hard that the street in front of the camp ground flooded and I was worried the camp would too...All in all I am damp but not too bad considering how hard it rained.

Here is what I learned yesterday:

- Cows have a tendency to stare into your soul as you ride by.  It's creepy.
- You might think its a good idea to sing at the top of your lungs on the bald prairie but you will get caught and it will be embarrassing.
- Mos Def is mosly angry
- Beastie Boys will get your legs moving
- I saw a gopher eating another gopher which can only mean one thing.  Zombie Gophers!!!  If the zombie apocalypse happens then it started with gophers in Saskatchewan.

Beard report:

- Sparse with a chance of itchy

Well I still have about 90 k to go today.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Its like riding on the ocean only there are more farms...

Saturday night was awesome because Julia let me tag along to a Jazz Concert a the Banff Center with her and her friends, Erin and Neil (both champion human beings). The Banff Center has all of these amazing art programs and the Jazz director was leaving after 10 years of being there so it was a tribute to Dave Douglas. Also in attendence was Aoife O'Donavan who is a bluegrass/folk singer. She dominated and I will admit I have a slight crush on her now. Super fun night. I love the bow valley and miss having it in my back yard. Definitly one of the places I could live on this planet.

Canmore to Calgary – 104 km

Got up Sunday morning and it was not snowing. It was cold and threating but WAY better than the day before. Most of the snow had melted with the exception of the slowly dieing snowmen made in the field across the street from Julia and Mike's place. Loaded up and said good by to my host and started the short 104 km ride to the Mehrer house. The road out of Canmore is very scenic and with all the fresh snow the contrast between the white mountains and green valley was very cool. You don't really ride out of the mountains, more the mountains just end. Its quite a transition and it is literally a wall behind you and the foothills around you. After popping out on the plains the wind picked up a lot and I rolled in Calgary like a boss with a huge tail wind. The hole ride took under 4 hours which is a bit nuts on a 70 lb bike. If I get another wind like that I am going to make up some serious ground on the two days I have lost.

I ended up staying in Calgary with good friends of mine. I love visiting with the Ed and Elsbeth and their children Greta and Erik. Els feeds me and Erik and Greta are awesome. Its a great family. Ed and I did some "research" on an upcoming video game I might be working on so my afternoon was spent working on my dexterity and apparently it needs a lot of work as Ed kicked my ass all over the place.  I am going to blame it on fatigue. Bill Hunt and his wife Eryn Paterson came over for dinner with their kids, Ethan and Spencer (the “I can do it” inventor). It was amazing to be surrounded by some of the best people I know.  Ed, Bill and I have hatched a plan for them to come out and ride with me from Winnipeg to Thunder Bay.  I will keep you posted.

That night a bunch of people came out to the pub to say hello.  It was awesome to see everyone and all the support makes this ride a lot easier. I ate everyones left overs and apparently that was entertaining...I was just hungry.

Here is what I learned yesterday:
- Wind is my friend.
- You don't ride out of the mountains...they spit you out.
- Calaway park is very unimpressive but great to see...means you are getting close.
- Riding in with no rain is so much better.

Calgary to Brooks - 192 kms total

Brett Anhorn had a surprise for me this morning and showed up at Ed's with a sticker that was made from Thomas's signature.  Its awesome and its nice to have a piece of him along with me on my ride. With that set up on my bike I met up with Kevin McMahon at Calgary Cycle and we headed out.  Kevin was my guide for the first 85 kms of the ride and I am sorry that I was so slow bike is really really heavy.  Kevin is getting ready for a race next weekend in Banff and I was totally ruining his training with tank under me.  This whole trip has been and exercise in changing my riding style.  I am usually ripping around with my 16 lbs race bike and hammering out kilometers at a pace of 35-40 kph.  Now 25 kph is a good pace and I stop often to stretch, eat and take pictures (when its not pouring rain). Kevin ruled though for riding out with me and we were able to chat the whole way on the wide shoulder.  He made the morning go by fast.  

I am at heart a prairie kid.  The wide open space with horizon on all 4 sides makes me feel at ease and for the first time I was not wearing knee warmers, gloves and a jacket.  It was an beautiful day. Because of this I was cruising and made 192 kms from door to tent today.  I do have to make up some time for days lost but I think I will do this over a longer however I just felt like going far.

Here is what I learned today.
- Hang gliders land in fields around Calgary after being towed up to 3000 feet and then riding thermals.
- After 4 days with no Tim Hortons I get the shakes.
- The prairies have a lot more bugs than the mountains and they all seem to really like me.
- If you forget to re apply sun screen and chamois cream you are going to have a bad time.

Beard report
- Hot damn this thing is itchy
- It makes putting on sun screen difficult
- bugs seem to get stuck in it like some sort of venus fly trap
- My friend Tim, who has the most manly beard I know suggested "The key, as I see it, is to abandon all thoughts that aren't about lumberjackin' or trappin' or moonshinin'." I took his advice today but I see no results.  Maybe its because I know nothing about those professions. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Stuck in Canmore

So today I got up to this (see below) in Canmore.  Yup...It is puking snow here and the ground is totally covered.  Not really safe to ride so I am taking another forced rest day.

First week and I am already behind two days.  But I have an awesome host in Julia and Mike so if I am going to be stuck anywhere this is the place.  Much better than being in my tent. Should be able to get to Calgary tomorrow with fresh legs and then on to the warm prairies!  

Thought I would take this time to thank everyone who have donated  to Peloton65 so far! I can't tell you how much it means.  I think I will also need support in one more venture on this trip, my attempt to grow a beard. I like to think of myself as genetically advanced as humans are slowly moving away from hair, I am just ahead of the curve.  So what I have grown on my face in 9 days of not shaving is rather weak.  Not only is it sad but holy crap is it itchy!  What I need from you guys is two things.  If you see me please don't can laugh behind my back, I don't mind.  The second thing I need is words of encouragement to keep me from shaving.  I want to go the full month and a half.

Well I am off to take a nap and then work on my bike.  Have a fun snow day everyone.

Friday, June 8, 2012


Revelstoke to Golden - 160 kms total

Headed out with hopes of the mud slide being cleared and rolled out of Revelstoke only to be hit with a long line of cars waiting for the 12 pm opening as stated by the BC Highways site.  So I rolled up to the front and asked if I could go.  The slide was about 60 kms from Golden which would mean I wouldn't get there before it was open so they let me through.  IT WAS AWESOME!  For the next 60ish k I rode on a closed Trans Canada by myself.  Wildlife comes out when there is no one on the highway.  Saw a couple of bears real close up (don't worry Mom...I was careful), a badger and some deer. it was also the first day it was not pouring on my head so the sun was out and that really helped with the spirits.  Finally I could see the views that BC had to offer and rolling into Roger's Pass was stunning.  

Right around the base of the climb up to the top of the pass the line of traffic had caught up to me and the road turned into Cannonball Run.  As I was half way up the hill some Japanese tourists who were stuck behind a slow moving semi were staring at me.  I waved at them and they wound down their window and one woman in a statement of shock asked me "WHAT YOU DOING?!?!?!"  I had no clue how to respond other than "Riding my bike" and then they slowly drove away.  I should of had a better answer for them but halfway through the high alpine climb my brain was all swimmy and I was breathing heavy.  Conversation was not a good thing at that time.

At the top of the pass I met up with Alex who was not feeling well in the morning so he decided to ride with me from the pass to Golden. It was really good that he did because I was an idiot and did not eat properly through out the day so by the last 40 k I was a mess and Alex nursed me to Golden. It was a long day.

We rolled though the huge decent off of the pass and then got slammed by another long line of cars as the mudslide section had been closed again.  Everyone was out of their cars and people were playing Frisbee on the road. Alex and I rode on to the front and pretty much as we got there they opened to road again.  WOW was the slide big.  Basically it was like a huge chunk of the mountain liquified in the rain and fell off in a river of mud. It was intense but because of the all the traffic I could not stop to take a picture.

From there we rolled into Golden where people were apparently getting evacuated due to flooding.  It was crazy how much water was in the low areas and the Kicking Horse river was massive and brown from dirt as it was spilling its banks.   This was my last night with Alex, Allison and Leanne who were driving his car on this trip.  They all made the first few days of this adventure amazing and I don't think I could have done the start of this ride without them around.  THANK-YOU! My trip is going to be much different with out you guys.

Here is what I learned yesterday:
- Alex can catch a frisbee while riding his bike.
- mudslides are scary.
- If you forget to put sunscreen on the back of your hands you are going to have a very bad time.
- Roger's Pass has to be one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
- Bears are cute but not for touching

Golden to Canmore - 175 kms total

Got up early because today was going to be my biggest day.  The weather was absolute poop when I woke up at 6:45 am (which was actually 5:45 because of the time change) and I rolled out in the rain to the base of the 16 km climb out of Golden.  I was stopped however because there was a Semi on fire in the middle of the climb and they were not opening the road east till 9:30 so I chilled out for a bit basically twiddled my thumbs in the rain dreading the climb with all my gear and the wet.  They opened it up and I ground it out. The semi was burnt down.  It was intense.  For the most part all was left was the rims and frame of the trailer. After that shocking incident I rolled up the road to the huge bridge over the Kicking Horse river.

About 40 k in the rain trickled off and slowly as I rolled into Field the sun came out and I was thinking the weather reports were wrong.  Huge climb out of Field and that was the last major climb in the mountains and at the top of the climb was the continental divide.  For some reason the divide was a huge victory for me and it was comforting to see the rivers flowing with me instead of against me.  I guess in my head I was thinking that now its all downhill.

I tossed on 'Rural Alberta Advantage' as I cruised across the border and made my way to Lake Louise.  I was supposed to meet my friend Julia LoVeccio in Lake Louis so I was hammering to make up for the time lost with the semi fire road block.  Made to the lake and stopped at a coffee shop for a sandwich and a rest.  After yesterday I was eating every chance I got.  While sitting stuffing my face the skies opened up again and it was really hard to get on the bike to meet Julia on the 1A. For the next 80 k we rode in 4 degrees and the pouring rain.  This was by far the coldest I have been on the trip. I would have not made it to Canmore if Julia had not come out to meet me.  She is a super hero.

Here is what I learned today:
- Even after being in the rain all day a hot shower is awesome!
- Lake Louise have an average annual temp of 1 C
- Julia makes bad ass pasta

Tomorrow is a short 104 kms to Calgary.  Hopefully the weather will break soon.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Stuck Due To Mudslide

So the tons of rain has caused a huge mudslide about 80 kms outside Revelstoke and I was forced to take a rest day.  For the most part we hung out in town and had a good lunch at a place called The Nomad which was a great suggestion by Julia LoVecchio who hopefully (if I can get through today) I will be seeing tomorrow.

So they are saying that the road is supposed to open at noon today.  The plan is to ride till they tell me to stop or they clear the road.  If I have to I will do some ninja camping on the side of the road and do a really really big day the next day to make up for lost time. At least its not raining today. Wish me luck.

In the mean time here are some pictures that I promised...I would have more but its rare to be dry enough to get the camera out.

Shot of Alex and me on the road to Merritt.
Brad, who joined us on the ride up the Coquihalla, enjoying the views at the top

The view from the top.
Me at the summit (I am much more tired than I look).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Soggy in Revelstoke

Sunday morning Alex and I rocked the Tim Hortons and then headed out on tThe Connector to Kelowna.  Immediately we were slapped in the face with a 11 km climb out of Merritt. Holy crap was there a lot of climbing on that road.  Essentially its varying degrees of up for 75 kms and then a badass 25 km decent at 7%.  It was a rough 140 kms in total and near the top of the high mountain road the rain turned to snow...yup snow.  There is a few things that we noticed on the road to Kelowna.  First we added diapers to our game of dodge the pee bottles.  For some reason there were diapers all the way and we could not figure out if the diapers were from one person with a really poopy baby or random babies in the area.  The other thing noticeable was their seemed to be a high number of biker gangs around this area and we were passed by multiple groups of Harleys.  Maybe they weren't biker gangs and just groups of lawyers or dentists...Living the dream.

This section of highway was covered with clearcuts and to be totally honest this was really hard to see.  Large sections of mass destruction where forests have been turned into empty nothingness in the name of progress.  Someone mentioned to me that some of these areas might have been affected by pine beetles but regardless seeing how humans can radically change this planet weighs heavy on the heart because I know I am part of this problem.  To the left is just one of the several entire forests that I saw removed in the 140 km ride into Kelowna.  

After a night in Kelowna Alex decided he needed a full rest day so I took the short ride to Preditor Ridge where we were staying the night.  It was nice to shoot the headphones on and just take a slow ride along the lake.  Rather steep final climb followed by about 4 kms of gravel made me very very muddy.  

Today we started out from Vernon on towards Revelstoke and the start of the ride I was having some knee pain in my right knee.  I think the cold at the top of the Connector did a number to it and I was hurting a bit this morning.  So I popped 400 mgs of ibuprofen and holy crap did I feel better!  I don't care that its destroying my liver and kidneys because it took all my aches and pains away. I have a back kidney hanging out in my identical twin anyway so I should be all good (please don't tell my brother that I think of him as an organ farm). With that taken care as, well as some Tim Hortons, we hit the road and were dry for about 20 k...then rain....and rain....and then cold rain.  Basically 147 kms of rain. Rain gear is useless on a bike because you sweat so much the inside of the jacket gets soaked anyway but I had every layer on anyway because the temp dropped a lot on the way.  Every time we passed a river the temp would drop another 10 degrees because of the cold spring runoff and soon it was very hard to stay warm.  Because of that we kept the pace up to just under 30 kms an hour and I have a feeling that I am going to pay for that tomorrow as we are riding up Rogers pass but at the time all we wanted to do was get done.  The last 2 kms I rode with a very nice lady named Tina who lived near to where we were stay.  It was nice finish to a very rough day.

The new game we have invented to replace dodging pee bombs is called Epic Pee...essentially we have to find epic views to pee in front of and take a picture of said view...then we compare photos at the end of the day and see who the winner is.  This game has been discussed but when its raining so hard that you can't take your camera out and its so cold that you lack the manual dexterity to even pee its a little hard to even play.

Things I have learned in the last couple of day:

- I am now going to call ibuprofen Vitamin I.
- I really like Tim Hortons and there is a chance that I will hit 45 different ones while on this trip.
- I have only seen 2 other cyclists on this trip and we had a brief chat while riding in the opposite direction.  Apparently I have to have a Donair in Halifax according to the second cyclist.  I am thinking that there is a reason there are not that many cyclists out.  They are smarter than me to ride in weather like this.  Hopefully there will be more.
- I have discovered the wettest I can get and that was today...
- Merino wool is amazing and basically saved my life today.

I have decided to take a rest day in Calgary on Saturday to see everyone.  Look for a heads up on a pub or something to all hang out.  And for everyone wanting to roll out of Calgary with me I will be heading out of town on Sunday morning leaving from Calgary Cycle at 9 am.  Feel free to roll with me be be warned I am riding really slow.

Alright time to get ready for the pass tomorrow.  Please think dry thoughts.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

We is high...

We had a guest rider today! Brad Bushell came out from Vancouver to ride with us through part of our leg today.  Alex and I rolled over to Tim Horton's to grab some breakfast and wait for Brad.  Grabbed a few extra bagels for the road and had a bit of a late start but we were on the road by about 11am.  Today it was a lot dryer as it only rained on us in the morning as we climbed out of Hope.  I say climbed out of hope because that is basically what we did for the first 45 kms out of hope till we got to the summit of the Coquihalla Pass. Getting to the top of the pass the temp dropped a lot and we could see our breath as we were breathing heavy with the steep long climb.  Ever time I climb a huge climb like that I think of a story my friend Eryn Paterson told me about her daughter, Spencer, ridding her tricycle on the side walk.  Spencer at this time looked exactly like the kid on 'Monsters Inc.'  She had gotten to a small hill on the sidewalk and was asking her mom for help.  Eryn responded with "You can do it."  So she digs in and with a look of determination on her face she chants all the way up the small hill "I can do it. I can do it. I can do it."   For some reason every time I and rolling up a huge climb and my legs and lungs are burning I now start chanting in my head "I can do it. I can do it."  At the summit we had reached an elevation of 1,244 meters and gained some very tired legs.  Brad left us at this point and we had 65 kms left to Merritt where the sun finally came out! Couple more shorter climbs and Alex and I were in town by 5 pm.

Here are the few things I learned today:
- Truckers pee in plastic bottles and toss them out the window. We have a new game on the road now...dodging road pee.
- You can make it through a full day eating food in bar form.
- Bagels mid ride are AWESOME.
- It appears that people that eat at McDonalds have very little regard for the environment as it tends to dominate the litter on the side of the road

Being able to draft each other today made a huge difference today.  But we have a long day tomorrow with some more big climbs so off to bed I am.  I will get some pictures up in the next little while.  Just need some stronger interweeb to do so.  Thanks for all the notes and well have no clue how much that helps!

Friday, June 1, 2012

I Think It Was Raining...

So I know I am supposed to wax poetic about the start of a journey.  I am supposed to talk about adventure, excitement and learning about yourself and your capabilities.  However I am not going to lie to you sucked.  The start of the day was awesome.  Alex met me at my place and we rode over to my friend Andrea's place to drop off a book on the way out of town.  We were lucky enough to meet her as she was heading out to work on her bike.  Mission completed we rode off to the east.  It was lightly raining and cool for the most part so we thought it could be worse outside and were happily chatting away on our way out of town.  Then about 20 kms in it started to rain. And when I say rain I mean really rain and for the next 60 kms Alex and I got really really soggy.  Add to that a slight head wind and neither of could really draft each other because as soon as you got behind their wheel you were basically gargling the giant rooster tail of spray coming off the road. I have full fenders but there was so much water that even that didn't help.  I have to admit having Alex there help a lot and we were able to laugh about how crazy this was.  

We stopped for lunch at a place outside Mission that was an homage to the fire fighting profession. Cannot remember what it was called but it had the word 'fire' in it.  After hammering back the largest clubhouse sandwich I have ever seen we were back on the road.  For about 15 minutes the rain had lightened to a light mist but then it was back to steady rain and Alex and I road about 20 feet apart for the next couple of hours 

With about 40 kms to go before hope somehow the skies doubled their effort and it was puking rain so hard that the water running down the hill we were riding up was actually stopping us.  And then que the lighting and thunder.  Two of the blasts were so close that everything lite up and Alex said "maybe the sun is coming out.." just before the loud crash which had me nervous, but I am a wuss.

All and all it wasn't that bad and I am being a little dramatic.  It was a day where if I was at home I would have gone for a run or to the gym.  It would have been nice to see a little more of the mountains as we road into them but the clouds had other plans.  Alex was a trooper and made the day entertaining and I feel pretty good for finishing my first leg of the trip.  I did see some cool stuff though and learn some things.  

- The Fraser river is huge and very angry.
- Trains are entertaining and so is the graffiti on them.
- I really really like my touring bike.  Its comfy and easy to ride but I am still getting used to the gear ratios.
- I can ride in a thunder storm making me basically Thor...

I want to thank all the people at the UX Guys office warming party who donated to Peleton65 last night and everyone messaging me on twitter, facebook and tossing me text messages.

Well I am off to do some laundry and eat my weight in pasta.  Hope for sun please!  

150 kms down 5850 to go.