Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day 16&17 - The Weak Link

My recounting of the past two days is framed by my experience with my left knee. As you know, it's been a problem since Fredericton, and the last you heard, we were resting in Charlottetown for the day.

It was incredibly tough to slow the guys down for a couple of days. Part of the skill set that I bring to the team includes cutting the wind, navigating, and setting the pace. As we rolled through NB and PEI, I could feel my knee slowing me down, with pain in most powerful extensions, especially on hills. So when we wake up Day 16 in Charlottetown, after a day of ice and rest, I wasn't sure what to expect. We only had a 55km ride to Wood Islands to our Nova Scotia ferry.

That morning would turn this frustrating problem on it's head, and not for the better. First, and you would have seen this joke on twitter, no province is complete without a flat tire. So even though we extended our 120kms on the island to 3 days with the off-day, it takes until within 10kms of the port to officially complete PEI. But this leads to Problem #1 - Kyle's bike takes a tumble while changing the tube, and his front derailleur is bent, in such a way that we can't fix it. Meanwhile, another story that I don't think has hit the internet yet is that of Tyler's left clip. It has progressively worsened, to the point Tuesday of stripping the screw and wearing out the plate. So Tyler has a delicate tradeoff between not pulling up on hills, and being stuck in the clip on a potential fall. Not a great choice. More about these later.

Back to the chronological order. On Monday, we ferry to Nova Scotia (new province!), which promptly greets us with a cold rain. That, combined with the stat holiday July 2 - we can't fix Kyle's bike, lead us to take comfort at Swv Chalet in New Glasgow, a hometown favourite. After that, we decide to cycle the 60km to Antigonish to round out the day. It is wet and progressively rainy, to the point where even after I put on my safety vest (only the second time on the trip), Kyle still can't see me from behind, and we take refuge under a bridge due to the visibility. And so we waited out the rain with about half a dozen motorcyclists, some only 13km from home. As we contemplate the possibility of spending the night under the bridge, we get a text from Tyler who is already in Antigonish, and is checking into a motel. It's frustrating to spend yet another night indoors, but it's supposed to rain, so we settle for the hot shower and clothes dryer, the opportunity for me to ice my knee again, and the chance to watch Romero throw a real stinker against the Royals.

The next day is where things get tricky. By this time, Kyle is struggling along in a gear too low for his fitness, and Tyler's clip is at a point where he can't exit the pedal. And just as we're leaving mainland Canada, we make a quick lunch stop. We had a choice - Tim's or Subway - which if you haven't heard, is the subject of our facebook poll of the week Click here to vote! We make the Subway choice, primarily for the ice machine, and it turns out to be a good one. There we meet Danielle et Jorn de Chateauguay, who help us out with both of their major problems. Thanks so much! We also met Melvin and Jennifer from Cape Breton who give us some pointers. Thanks again!

I'm running out of time. We crossed into Cape Breton, and it is gorgeous. Hilly, but not difficult. The shoulders aren't as wide as we're used to, but it isn't a problem. And Tyler and Kyle are in better shape, but still knocked down a peg: Tyler can't pull up, and Kyle is back in top gear, but losing efficiency to the chain friction. So even though my knee isn't 100%, it feels better than it has in days, and now we're all dealing with approximately similar performance issues. No more weak links!

Anyways, we're in Newfoundland right now, more blogs to come soon! But seriously, if you're interested in keeping closer track of our progress, and we know there are a bunch of you because we can see the hits on out blog, check us out on Twitter here. Thanks!

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