Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Days 37 & 38 - The Schmidts

Kyle's family was incredible in Ottawa and BC, carting our bags up the Rockies, and providing us with every amenity imaginable, and then some.  I don't know where we would be without them.  Same goes for Tyler's family network in our off-day cities: Quebec, Vancouver and Calgary.  Can't say enough.  They wrote about those days in these blog posts, and now it's my turn to gush about my own family!

As you would remember from yesterday's blog post, we are expecting support again on Monday for the next three days.  New characters to the cast include my mother Julie and my littlest brother Keenan, and you already know my sister Carly, the beautiful bride, fresh from Panama (wedding pic is now up at the blog, here).  Unfortunately, the rest of the clan couldn't join, but we're thrilled that we got three, who I will uncreatively call the "Dream Team."  For a complete understanding of just how sweet this is, let me explain a little bit about my family.

We're talking about TBs of media.
Quick on the draw, running or cycling.
She's managed the food op for years.Chris couldn't get off work :(
As you might remember from one of Kyle's blogs on the trip, my dad and whole family operates the Waterloo Running Series, which organizes nonprofit running events all year in Waterloo Region.  One such event, the ENDURrun, is a week-long, labour-intensive, care-intensive, food-intensive event, where participants run 160kms over 8 days.  In this week, there is a 2:1 runner:volunteer relationship, and all lengths are gone to for excellence in athlete support.  This includes great logistical and practical effort to get cold water and Gatorade to remote places and specific times, and large but specific meals to be prepared for intense athletes.  There is also a large photo/video component.  I could go to lengths to describe these chores, but basically, if there are three people that you want to support you while you cycle from Regina to Winnipeg, it is Keenan, Carly and Julie Schmidt.  They've got nine years of specifically relevant experience, and we got all three!

Anyway, that's how excited we are.  Delayed by WestJet, they had to spend a night in their rental car, but they caught up with us quickly in the morning, high in spirits.  Into a 10km/hr headwind, we do 22km/hr for the first two hours before we are intercepted by the crew.  After a brilliant lunch, we are able to do 26s for a few hours, and ultimately up to 30s by the last several hours of the day.  No panniers is a luxury to which we won't say no.  Compared with our low 20s speeds coming into Regina, and our 30s speeds leaving Regina, on this day we are able to counteract the reversed wind with the support.  That's remarkable.

The crew in action.  Keenan is glad he's not biking.
And of course, the support goes so far beyond portering our luggage.  Carly is so quick with food which is far superior to what we have become accustomed to: bun, sliced meat, slice of cheese, and mustard.  Now, we've got vegetables (!), mayo, variety, snacks, and the list goes on and on.  It's great.  Keenan: you stop and in three seconds, your water bottle and Gatorade bottle are replaced with ice-cold substitutes.  Wow!  And mom, well in addition to the food, we feel like professionals with our own camera crew all along the Trans Canada.  The certainly know how to spoil us.

At the 100th meridian, where the great plains ...end.
We crossed into Manitoba, which brings us to 9 or 10 for the trip, depending on how you count Ontario.  This is exciting for Tyler and I, because it marks the final province feather in our travel caps.  Kyle has done volunteer work in this province previously.  We stop to get a quick pic of the sign, but right back on the bikes. 

But the real story of the day is the distance.  We set a new trip-high at 226.3kms, pushing 40kms past our scheduled stop in Brandon.  The reason why we didn't tweet our facebook about that accomplishment yet is because we wanted to make the context clear - we weren't doing that distance in that headwind without the support.  It is a total extended team effort and result.  But we're absolutely thrilled!  The previous trip high was that first sunny day in New Brunswick, 219kms into Fredericton.  Exhausted, we sleep indoors in the Schmidt's motel, where I fall asleep after typing out yesterday's blog.

Quickly now, about Day 38 - the support continues, to great success.  Except this day, we face stronger headwinds, and our total average speed on the day is 23.3km/hr, significantly slower than the day before.  This is a major challenge, but in the last hour it lets up and we are able to stretch our legs, as for the first time we had an easy 20km.  This put us in Winnipeg - exactly one day (a 70km half day) ahead of schedule.  We're very pleased - we're going to need that time in the upcoming weeks for sure.  

The other most noteworthy story from the day belongs to Tyler.  Remember the last time he went over his handlebars, he shattered his collarbone (last fall)?  Well, his technique has improved significantly, because today he rubbed Kyle's tire, and did a full flip, and landed on his head in the paved shoulder.  As he was in the back, nobody saw it, but it was surely spectacular.  Tyler will tell the story much better than I, but the gist is that he is OK, with a sore thumb and more cuts on his thigh.  The other element to the Dream Team that I didn't tell you about - my mom is a RN.  They're only short one bike mechanic!

The day ends with a sit-down meal, a swim at the motel, and wifi access.  Now this blog is current until this exact moment, 1am on Tuesday, July 24th.  These were a great couple of days, and I hope you got that same impression! 

It is supposed to rain tomorrow, the Schmidts are flying home, and we are leaving civilization.  Bring it on!

No comments:

Post a Comment