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.

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