Friday, July 20, 2012

Day 31 - Cousins

Most days, a good title for the blog has been written long before the story of the day is complete. Usually, an editorial decision overrules the earlier title, but not today!

The first story is this: our cousins really bailed us out today. I know you've already met our cousins - thanks again Monica!! - but you've done enough, it's Rory's and Taylor's turns. It seems that even though our bikes are good as "new," we have left our repair kit at Cactus. Cactus opens at 9:00, but we need to be pedaling by 6:30 because we're scheduled to go 190+kms on Tuesday. Pickle...
Rory with Tyler and Kyle in Strathmore

Enter Rory. Not only does he wake up stupid early to drive us from Bragg Creek to where we suspended our journey at the McHenry's, but he also will stop by and pick up the repair kit and bring it to us on the road, somewhere on the 1, hopefully way beyond Calgary, too!

But we still have at least three hours until then, meaning, no flats? Enter Taylor. Taylor is a UC student and superstar speedskater, and cyclist too. It turns out that she cycled Canmore-Field the same day we did Golden-Canmore, faster and of course up the mountain! Anyway, as we had arranged the day before, she meets us also too early in the morning to cycle with us - our first planned guest cyclist!
Taylor and Jordan in Strathmore

Before moving on to the rest of the story, I would just like to point out that this is Taylor's rest week, and she came out on a soggy morning with us for 55km of downhill, meaning she did at least double that for the day. And, she had to get back to Calgary for afternoon practice! And we could hardly keep up. Blame it on the panniers...

And so it is Taylor's patch kit that saves the morning, when Kyle strikes a flat early in the day. He is able to barely patch what turns out to be multiple slow leaks (which we wouldn't find until WAY later), and make it to Strathmore, where Rory can meet us with the full repair kit.

What is this, flat number six?
Literally, exit Rory and Taylor from the same Sobey's parking lot, our two heroes for the day. Now we're on our own, to fight battles we haven't even begun to anticipate. Where to start?

First, with the lethargy. After a day off and two gigantic meals, I think we're all a bit sluggish this morning of a long cycle. Next, the wind. We faced a decent headwind before and after Quebec City, but this was crazy. Writing this a few days later, I can see the 10km/hr difference that wind makes. Last, how about, um, Kyle's SIX flats. What? No joke - Kyle single-handedly sets a new daily trip high with six in one day. Apparently, someone emptied their stapler on the side of the road, and these tiny little devices would haunt us for the rest of the day. He ultimately took a few-kilometres hitchhike (thanks Mike from MH) to meet up with us at one point. This would also almost completely exhaust our supply of patches and tubes. And the next bicycle shop is in Medicine Hat. Nervous times, but mostly frustrating.
Prairie sunset near Brooks AB

A new tradition develops of fast food motivation for days excruciatingly lengthened by repairs (think A&W, Merritt, Coquihalla). We do reach our destination of Brooks (195km for the day), where Wendy's awaits. Of course, the tire has gone flat by the end of the meal, and Kyle has to walk his bike to the campsite. A miracle shower later, and it's waayyy to late to change his tire. We can leave it for the morning...

So, lousy day, generous help, but we sleep well and are on schedule.

Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.