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 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2GXeHbsG40).  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 brain...so 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!

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  1. are you going on the northern route? ian waters does that with some kids from PQ i think on some kind of regular basis. ian is a star and rode from winnipeg to mexico, via bc at one point. i think he wrote a blog. congrats on your current success. a big thing you have done already. hope the bike is doing as well as you are - i'd even love to read a maintenance report.

  2. Yup...doing the route over the lake to Sudbury if that is what you mean my northern...there are not that many options. Thanks for the congrats and for the most part I have not had to do that much work on the bike other than tighten a loose crank arm in the mountains. Lots of chain lube though as I have been riding in a lot of rain. touch wood that bike holds up!