Saturday, August 4, 2012

Days 46 & 47 - Marathon to Batchawana Bay

by Tyler

Aug 1 - Marathon to Wawa

This hill is STEEP.
The nature of this trip has made going to bed and falling asleep incredibly easy - the unfortunate reciprocal is waking up before your body would do it naturally can be very tough. This was one of those mornings, the strain of the previous day and setting a new daily ascent record for the trip was easy to feel. However, nearing the psychological point where the end of the trip is an attainable goal provides the necessary motivation to get moving, pack up the tent adjacent to a gas station, cook our breakfast and begin the day. 

Our wonderful support crew drive us the to the gold mine 40km east and the three of us really enjoy watching the terrain we traversed by bike the previous evening roll by in less than 30minutes. After finding our bikes off the side of a road leading into a very active gold mine we take a quick stretch session to loosen the sore leg muscles and begin the day.

The road is hilly, but very manageable and though the day threatened to rain we only got a light sprinkle. Once again the scenery is spectacular and it’s very easy to appreciate how beautiful Canada is. The route today takes us through a few small northern ontario town and we enjoy a great lunch in the birthplace of Winnie the Pooh. The day continues uneventfully as the trees roll by until we make it to within sight of our end destination where we check out the Wawa RV Park where we pay for a tent sight but get bumped into a little cabin complete with a kitchen and bathroom. Best surprise of the day especially since within minutes of arrival the rain comes down HARD! The Martins pick us up after we shower and we make our way into town for a photo op with the much hyped Big Goose and a great dinner at the a “fine dining” restaurant complete with viking paraphernalia and paper menus. The food is fantastic, the conversation great and sleep...easy - of course.

On the day we cycled 142kms.

Aug 2 - Wawa to Mike’s Place (40km shy of Sault St. Marie)

Alarm set for: 5:15am
Three cyclists wake up: 5:05am

Finally, although still hard to get out of bed, especially a bed that’s inside, we all wake up before the hated alarm goes off! Although we don’t leave our beds until we hear it, we’re at least ready to take on the day...and a good thing since we’re in for a big one.

The hills of northern Ontario are constant and long and because of this we had originally scheduled a short day today - a mere 110kms, however, with the sudden opportunity to make it to the house of a random man who bought a dog off my family a couple years ago (and the promise of indoor accomodation and a fish fry waiting) our short day turns into a 178km day. A tough mental adjustment but a fish fry is a great motivator. Hence the 5:15 wake up.

The day starts off damp and chilly but stunning. The fog in the hills along the Trans Canada and the giant old trees and the lack of any sign of human habitation for the beginning of the day make it easy for me to turn off my music and just enjoy the world passing by. Perhaps it’s the air, or the sights, or the good dinner from the night before and breakfast in the morning, but whatever the reason the three of us feel good and we quickly pass 40km cycled, and then 50km, and as we approach 60km I start to think that perhaps we can set a new single ride record, until...

I could feel something go wrong with my back tire assume I caught a flat and swear, until I hear the concussive sound of bike and human hit hit pavement and gravel behind me. Jordan finally had his first crash onto pavement.
The iPod took the worst of it.

Immediately Kyle and I pull over and run back to assess the situation. The crash has left Jordan with a familiar looking bloody elbow and a nasty looking thigh, but just like with me and Kyle his head and body is mostly OK. While we sit on the side of the road the Martins drive up and help administer first aid and plan a food break at the next possible location to allow Jordan a chance to recover and better assess the damage to himself and the bike. We make it another few kilometers before pulling off to a trail for second breakfast. 

Jordan relaxes and nurses his wounds and we make sure his bike is ok. The front wheel has some bad wobble to it, and though not as efficient to bike on as possible, it’s very rideable. So after a good 2 hour stop we get back on the bikes and continue peddling.

The rest of the day passes much like the first couple hours, the scenery and road in Superior Provincial Park is definitely a top portion of the entire trip for me. Every corner and hill put us within sight of a pristine little lake inland, or the monster Superior on our right. It’s stunning and the day continues until we decide we can’t let this go by without getting some good Drift Camera footage and the three of us stop alongside a particularly beautiful scenic lookout to set up. Right as Kyle hits “play” we hear an odd phrase, “Are you guys from Kitchener/Waterloo?”

We shockingly respond “yes” and start a good 20 minute conversation with the parents of Jordan’s friend, Ann and Brian Darroch who had been keeping up with this very blog and new to look for three blue-clad cyclists in the park! A fun meeting that unfortunately used up all of the memory card for the video camera as we forgot to turn it off, maybe not the footage we originally wanted, but interesting anyway!
On Mike's deck.  Batchawana Bay, Lake Superior.

Eventually we get our groove again, and leave the park, and the sun shows up through the clouds, the winds shift and we make it to Mike’s house for dinner.

For a man neither of us know, on short notice, he is a great host. The house is spectacular and overlooks a secluded bay on Lake Superior where we have the promised shower and fish fry that turns into a potential best meal of the trip. He also has a large tv that the three of us eagerly turn on and enjoy some olympic updates before bed. Where, once again, sleep comes easy.

Oh, and to Signey - Happy Birthday! Jordan didn’t have cell reception but was thinking of you!

Distance cycled - 178kms

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