Some fun facts…

Here’s what happened over the course of 4177km:

  1. Number of flat tires: 0
  2. Number of tires replaced: 1
  3. Number of chains: 2
  4. Number of broken chains: 0
  5. Number of nights indoors: 16 (8 in motels)
  6. Number of times I was asked if I was retired: too many.
  7. Number of people who saw my bike and asked me if I was selling stuff: 1
  8. Number of people who offered me money because they thought I was a vagrant: 1
  9. Number of times motorists yelled at me: 2
  10. Number of close calls: 1
  11. Relatedly: number of skunks that almost got me killed: 1
  12. Ratio of electrical tape to bar tape: greater than 1.
  13. Number of tornados/tornado warnings on the prairies: 0/0
  14. Number of tornados/tornado warnings in northwestern Ontario: 1/3 (it might have just been a plough wind though.)
  15. Number of times the OPP went looking for me: 1
  16. Percentage of Bell payphones I tried but didn’t work: 100%
  17. Number of litres of water I started with each day: 6
  18. Number of days I ran out of water: 1…because I shared.
  19. Number of times I saw a bobcat: 0
  20. Number of times a bobcat saw me: no idea. (Coco had a bobcat walk through his campsite one evening while he was wild camping. So what’s the guy do? He pulls out his phone and video records it. I guess if you’re going to be eaten by a bobcat, you might as well let others know what got you! Coco is fine, by the way.)
  21. Number of times I was chased by dogs: 1…miserable creatures.
  22. Number of times I used my bear spray: 0
  23. Number of times I had to pedal downhill because of headwinds: too many!
  24. The top speed I hit climbing a hill (in northern Ontario) because of a ridiculous tailwind: I topped out at 24kph near the top. And it was a respectable roller, too. (When I stopped to switch out water bottles, I had to brace myself against the wind…it was pushing me around.)
  25. Number of nights I heard trains: 30 nights (every night from Saskatoon, SK to Spanish, ON. I hadn’t really thought about it before…the major train routes follow the major highways.)
  26. Number of times I got a lift: 4
  27. Weight lost: lots!
  28. Number of times I cursed climbing up steep mountains and hills: uncountably infinite.
  29. Number of times I was ready to give up: let’s just leave this blank.

 

I have no regrets ending my trip where I did. On my original plan, I was only going to get to Halifax (you know, time and budget). But now I can plan a proper tour of the maritimes when I complete my cross Canada journey. I’m not sure when that will be…but  I’m excited about it!

 

Aug-09-2019 14-20-55

Tour in a nutshell (fixed)

Essential Statistics

Days on tour: 59 Days
Days off: 9 Days
KM Pedalled: 4,177.20 KM
Time in Saddle: 257h 46m 6s
Average speed: 16.2 kph
Total Metres Climbed: 26,423 metres
Metres Climbed in BC: 9,866 metres
Metres Climbed in ON: 1,1103 metres

Daily Breakdown

Date End Point Time Distance Metres Climbed
Wed, 05/06/2019 June 5: Hope, B.C. 5h 11m 8s 75.62 596
Thu, 06/06/2019 June 6: Mission, B.C. 4h 59m 47s 87.24 507
Fri, 07/06/2019 June 7: Sunshine Valley RV Resort & Cabins, B.C. 2h 48m 33s 21.49 611
Sat, 08/06/2019 June 8: Manning Provincial Park, B.C. 5h 3m 39s 60.29 939
Sun, 09/06/2019 June 9: Princeton, B.C. 4h 37m 43s 60.69 630
Sun, 09/06/2019 June 9: to campground 7m 1.76 5
Mon, 10/06/2019 June 10: Keremeous, B.C. 3h 42m 47s 65.65 221
Tue, 11/06/2019 June 11: Penticton, B.C. 3h 19m 16s 42.61 554
Wed, 12/06/2019 June 12: Kelowna, B.C. 5h 24m 58s 72.51 736
Thu, 13/06/2019 June 13: Whispering Pines Tent and RV, B.C. 6h 52m 55s 114.23 664
Fri, 14/06/2019 June 14: Revelstoke, B.C. 6h 22m 59s 95.77 887
Sat, 15/06/2019 July 15: In Revelstoke 26m 13s 4.88 79
Sat, 15/06/2019 Day Off
Sun, 16/06/2019 June 16: Stealth Camping 6h 1m 25s 68.12 1213
Mon, 17/06/2019 June 17: Golden, B.C. 5h 56m 35s 86.83 854
Tue, 18/06/2019 June 18: Field, B.C. 4h 58m 49s 57.25 882
Tue, 18/06/2019 June 18 from restaurant to campground 22m 58s 5.78 39
Wed, 19/06/2019 June 19: Lake Louise, AB 2h 39m 53s 25.98 449
Thu, 20/06/2019 June 20: Exshaw, AB 5h 52m 34s 99.35 457
Fri, 21/06/2019 Day Off
Sat, 22/06/2019 June 22: Drumheller, AB 6h 26m 7s 105.88 620
Sun, 23/06/2019 June 23: Youngstown, AB 8h 2m 37s 128.71 589
Mon, 24/06/2019 June 24: Eatonia, SK 6h 51m 44s 149.82 681
Tue, 25/06/19 Day Off
Wed, 26/06/2019 June 26: Rosetown, SK 4h 50m 9s 86.32 337
Thu, 27/06/2019 June 27: Saskatoon, SK 7h 37m 38s 117.50 213
Fri, 28/06/2019 Day Off
Sat, 29/06/2019 Day Off
Sun, 30/06/2019 Day Off
Mon, 01/07/2019 Day Off
Tue, 02/07/2019 July 2: In Saskatoon 7m 6s 1.52 10
Tue, 02/07/2019 July 2: Painted Rock Campground, SK 2h 41m 38s 54.55 282
Wed, 03/07/2019 July 3: Wynyard, SK 6h 58m 47s 135.66 358
Thu, 04/07/2019 July 4: Theodore, SK 5h 16m 57s 106.83 270
Fri, 05/07/2019 July 5: Churchbridge, SK 5h 33m 52s 98.99 209
Sat, 06/07/2019 July 6: Russell, MB 3h 13m 17s 49.73 231
Sun, 07/07/2019 July 7: Shoal Lake, MB 5h 15m 22s 77.54 401
Mon, 08/07/2019 July 8: Minnedosa, MB 3h 54m 54s 67.47 185
Tue, 09/07/2019 July 9: Neepawa, MB 2h 1m 15s 30.74 56
Wed, 10/07/2019 July 10: Portage la Prairie, MB 5h 22m 1s 104.31 224
Thu, 11/07/2019 July 11: Winnipeg, MB 5h 39m 8s 95.29 304
Thu, 11/07/2019 July 11: To campground 38m 21s 9.51 27
Fri, 12/07/2019 Day Off
Sat, 13/07/2019 July 13: Prawda, MB 4h 34m 49s 94.63 157
Sun, 14/07/2019 July 14: Kenora, ON 6h 15m 2s 109.64 582
Mon, 15/07/2019 July 15: Redden’s Store 45m 34s 13.11 97
Mon, 15/07/2019 July 15: Rushing River Provincial Park 48m 10s 11.54 121
Tue, 16/07/2019 July 16: Wild Camping! 6h 24m 48s 109.22 842
Wed, 17/07/2019 July 17: Emo, ON 2h 41m 10s 45.98 214
Wed, 17/07/2019 July 17: Fort Frances, ON 1h 58m 4s 34.36 144
Thu, 18/07/2019 July 18: Atikokan, ON 8h 28m 4s 152.99 925
Fri, 19/07/2019 July 19: Quetico Provincial Park, ON 2h 39m 36s 44.80 258
Fri, 19/07/2019 July 19: to Campsite 13m 31s 3.35 23
Sat, 20/07/2019 July 20: Shabaqua, ON 5h 32m 5s 101.33 636
Sun, 21/07/2019 July 21: East of Thunder Bay 4h 30m 21s 80.40 575
Mon, 22/07/2019 July 22: Nipigon, ON 5h 43m 49s 89.41 704
Tue, 23/07/2019 July 23: Rainbow Falls Provincial Park, ON 5h 40m 6s 77.72 833
Wed, 24/07/2019 July 24: Terrace Bay, ON 2h 11m 51s 28.90 324
Thu, 25/07/2019 Day Off
Fri, 26/07/2019 July 26: Marathon, ON 6h 1m 1s 82.33 976
Sat, 27/07/2019 July 27: Esso on #17 31m 55s 5.80 105
Sat, 27/07/2019 July 27: White Lake Provincial Park, ON 3h 45m 6s 60.92 473
Sun, 28/07/2019 July 28: Wawa, ON 8h 9m 3s 126.33 884
Mon, 29/07/2019 July 29: Bruce Mine, ON 3h 31m 59s 66.12 243
Tue, 30/07/2019 July 30: Spanish, ON 6h 59m 16s 125.47 707
Wed, 31/07/2019 July 31: Batman’s Cottages and Campground 7h 17m 25s 113.55 674
Thu, 01/08/2019 August 1: Tobermory, ON 3h 7m 19s 52.16 275
Thu, 01/08/2019 August 1: Ferry to Campground 16m 4s 3.76 35
Fri, 02/08/2019 August 2: Wiarton, ON 4h 19m 53s 76.96 296

July 18: Not quite 100 miles

Bingo word: Soooo much rain!

Okay let me start with some stats for today:

Distance: 153 km

Duration: 8:29:02

Average speed: 18 kph

Metres climbed: 925

I am super happy with my day, even though I didn’t quite make it to 100 miles. I could have ridden loops around the campground…but I didn’t have the will to do it. Besides, another nasty storm was coming up hard. Fortunately I was able to set up before it hit…and when it did, the heavens unleashed another deluge. There was soooo much rain! I escaped pretty well, but Coco got a lot of water in his tent.

We dragged a picnic table into the men’s washroom so we could cook dinner while we waited for the storm to finish hating on us. There are only 2 other campers here…in RVs…so we figured we wouldn’t be inconveniencing anyone.

Not sure what tomorrow will look like. We’re still 200km from Thunder Bay…and there isn’t much by way of stores or campgrounds along the way. As in…there is one store and one campground between here and Thunder Bay. And they are 40km from here. I suspect I’ll be getting my century ride soon enough.

June 10

Sunday, June 9 was a brutal day. I climbed over two summits. The second one crushed my spirits. But once the terrifying descent off that second summit was done (a couple of km at a 8% grade) I coasted into Princeton and filled my belly and then found a campground. Finding campsites as a cyclist is really easy so far. I don’t get a site per se…but I do always get a patch of grass somewhere.

Today (June 10) was going to be my first scheduled day off. But I decided to push on to Keremeous.

Local: Which way you headed?

Me: Keremeous.

Local: You won’t want to take the highway.

Me: Oh?

Local: Nah. Take the old Hedley road. It’s up in the mountains. Lots of ups and downs. And the scenic views are breathtaking. *pauses* Though you’re not on a mountain bike, so it might be a little more difficult. *pauses again* Nah…don’t take the highway. It just follows the river downhill.

Me: *takes the highway *

I’m glad I did. The ride was absolutely glorious. It was pretty much all downhill. There were a few short climbs…but I handled them with ease. I can tell I’m getting my cycling legs.

My goal tomorrow is Penticton. I’m 48km behind my planned schedule.

Avoidance…but at what cost?

I don’t like conflict. I really don’t. I need to stop avoiding it. When an asshole racist starts being an asshole racist…I need to just call them on it. Boldly and with confidence. Instead, today, I just blinked stupidly in disbelief at what I heard.

I hired a local service to drive me to the airport this morning. The conversation was going fine…until we were pulling up to the airport. That’s when the asshole racist—who was also my driver—said some incredibly vile things about refugees fleeing war. I kinda want to report what he said, because I want everyone to know what a horrible person he is. But even reports of racism can harm. So I won’t. But let me just say, fuck that guy.

As I was standing outside Terminal 3 watching the Airways Transit van drive away, I was kicking myself for not having said anything…for not telling him to his face that his racism is unacceptable in a civil society.

Later, as I sat waiting to board my flight, I wrote a terse email to the company and described in detail what the driver had said. I also said that I would be sharing my experience with my friends and colleagues. I know that sending an email does not amend for my cowardice…but I want to believe it counts for something.

To the company’s credit, they replied to my email within minutes, profusely apologizing and assuring me that corrective action would be taken. I hope they are good for their word.

I teach business ethics, and in class we talk a lot about how important it is for a company to have a code of ethics that is enforced. A loose-lipped employee who publicly unleashes a racist rant can do incredible harm to the company real quick. I hope Airways Transit has that figured out.

A proper send-off!

Thanks to everyone who came to Arabella Park Beer Bar and made my send-off an amazing thing! There was much laughter and imbibification. There was also a raffle for prizes, which raised $365…with all the proceeds going to GiveWell! Amazing!

Thank you everyone for enabling my folly!

 

 

 

 

So many what-ifs

What if I just give up?

What if I quit in the mountains? I climb Allison Pass on day three. I’m only riding 70km that day…but it is a whole day of climbing. There is nothing like that in southwestern Ontario and at best I can train by riding into a stiff headwind. I feel completely ill prepared for the mountains. Or what if I get to my mom’s in Saskatchewan and decide after a week off the bike that I’d rather spend the rest of my summer on the beaches of Lake Huron?

I’m not one to give up easily. My last Ironman 70.3 race was in 2015. I couldn’t really train because my IT band was giving me so much grief. I did the race anyways and ended up walking 19km because I couldn’t run. The pain was intense, but I wasn’t about to give up…I really wanted that finisher’s hat!

Am I the only one that finds it hard to detach ego from a bucket list item?

What if I need to end my trip early?

A lot of things can bring a tour to a quick end: a major mechanical failure, being hit by a car, injury, my rig is stolen. The list goes on.

There is only so much that I can do to avoid such contingencies. I can wear high visibility kit. I can put flashing lights on my bike. I can lock my bike. I can vigilantly maintain my bike. And so on. But there is nothing I can do if a motorist decides it is more important to send a text than it is to not hit me. And if someone really wants my rig, no lock is going to stop them.

What if I get stuck in snow on a mountain?

Snow in June (it’s a great album, am I right!) is a thing. And if it’s true for Saskatchewan…surely it’s true on top of a mountain.

I have no problem with hitchhiking off a snowy mountain. Doing so will not detract from my claim that I cycled coast to coast.

What if I’m attacked by a bear?

Bears gotta eat too, I guess. But I sure hope my aim with the bear spray is good!

What if I am killed in an accident?

I find it is really helpful to deny my mortality and simply refuse to think about it.

Keanu Reeves said it best recently when he responded to the question of what happens to us when we die:

“I know that the ones who love us will miss us.”

 

So many what-ifs.