Sunday, 16 July 2017

Stats: Week 6

Time to crack out the big days. Some serious cycling was done this week. 833 km in five and a half days!

Total Distance: 2547.7 km
Total Time: 123:29:39

Total Height gained/lost: 21357m /-21628m

Total Calories: 83508

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Day 45: Moose Jaw to Regina

Today we find the Moose. Only the largest moose will do.
Moose Jaw is home to the tallest moose in the world, and I need to add it to my list.
A statue on the outskirts of town greets Jim and I as we roll by. The moose looks slightly comical in appearance, but we take the photos anyway.
Main Street
A short day is on the cards for me today, I think Jim may push on, depending on how he feels.
The wind made us pay for yesterday's tailwind right from the start. Hitting us on the right shoulder, it was blowing across us and slowing us down.

We were both a bit flat from putting in 176 km yesterday, so the speed was a touch under 20km/h for most of the day. Jim told me that the stretch between Moose Jaw and Regina was one of the flattest, and he wasn't wrong. Fields of Canola and Flax, yellow and blue respectively, fill the space between the road and the horizon, and I am sure you can see the curvature of the earth out here!

I was sore and tired, and the conversation with Jim had dried up. We were both in the pain cave, and were only focusing on getting to Regina.

We had heard rumours of large group of cyclists coming up behind us, and we saw some flags on the side of the road mentioning Sea2Sea. We stopped in at one of the RV's and spoke to the guys manning the station. They were supporting a trans-Canada cycle tour in aid of ridding the world of poverty. After washing our hands, they allowed us to refill our water bottles and have a few snacks. 
I welcomed the break and the opportunity to get off the bike for a few moments.

We passed another two support vans on the way to Regina, and the first of the cyclists passed us just outside Regina too. It's amazing seeing the speed differential between a loaded touring bike and an unloaded racing bike! A bit disheartening too.
I reached my turnoff and gave Jim a big hug and a thank you, he had certainly made the road a happier place for me over the last day and a half. 
I turned up Lewvan Drive and cycled up to the Whipplers, the sister of the family I had stayed with in Calgary.
What a welcome sight they were!

With very tired and sore legs, I parked my bike in the garage and went in for a lovely shower and a hotdog lunch...

Dinner was a lovely cedar plank salmon...sleep soon followed.

Distance: 81.8 km
Time: 4:13:00

Height gained/lost: 244m /-188m

Calories: 2154

Friday, 14 July 2017

Day 44: Swift Current to Moose Jaw

I headed out of camp at 0745 this morning, planning to take full advantage of the substantial tailwind that had picked up during the night.
This would be ideal for the long shot to Moose Jaw, 176km away.

Legs are still a bit sore, and I can feel a saddle sore building.

Not long after leaving town, a bike bell trills behind me. I slow down and say good morning to Jim Isaak.
He is riding across country too, aiming to finish in St John's in mid-October. It was a blessing to have met him as the road was long and uneventful today. We talked about bikes, trains, bike touring, trains, blogs, faulty phone covers, trains and the tailwind. Having him to talk to was brilliant, the time passed quite quickly and before we knew it we were nearing Chaplin, just in time for lunch.

Today was HOT so the shade and fresh water was very welcome. Chaplin sits on the second largest salt lake in Canada, from which salt and brine shrimp are harvested. The bird sanctuaries are also prolific along this stretch of road. I have seen quite a few pelicans soaring by in the last couple of days.

Caronport in the heat
The next stop was Caronport, not for food but for a cold drink. The temperature was climbing and the salt was collecting on our cycling tops. Hydration is key in this heat!
Jim measured 42 degrees C when we came out of the cafe!

Moose Jaw was less than 20km away now, less than an hour of cycling left in the day. Nice.
Jim and I decided to share a motel room in town, and we settled on Capone's Hideaway, right at the bottom of Main Street.

Beer and Le Tour
It did the job for us. It had air-conditioning, a working shower and comfortable beds.

Dinner was at Boston Pizza. Jim shared the secret that the meatballs and spaghetti here are massive, just perfect for a touring cyclist.
We both ordered a beer and the spag and watched a bit of Canadian Football League (CFL).

We were both exhausted and full of good food, so conversation was soon replaced by snoring when we got back to the room.

Distance: 176.4 km
Time: 6:56:40

Height gained/lost: 431m /-659m

Calories: 5468

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Day 43: Maple Creek to Swift Current

The goods trains kept me awake in the early hours of this morning. They sound their horns when they come through town, warning the 2 level crossings that there is a mile-long train approaching.

Maple Creek
The wind picked up in the night and was blowing quite hard this morning.

I worked my way through to Tompkins in time for morning tea, where I met another 2 cyclists heading eastwards as well. They are only cycling through Sask. this trip, having done BC and Alberta on a previous trip.
We rode through to Gull Lake, the wind switching all the time, sometimes behind us and pushing, then blowing onto our right shoulder at other times.

Gull Lake flat tyre
Lunch in Gull Lake was tasty, and refreshing. We must have looked a sight walking into the cafe, all hot and sweaty. The other patrons eyed us with suspicion for a while.
With lunch done, Dave discovered that his rear wheel was completely flat. I helped him change it and topped my rear wheel, which was looking a little low too.

I headed for Swift Current with the wind at my back and the sun above me. I was cruising now, the wind settled into a SW direction and pushed me all the way into the campsite.
The afternoon heat kicks in at about 4pm, usually the time I roll into campsite. Today was no different. I was parched, poached and pooped.

I setup camp in the shade and set about fixing my rear wheel. For the third time!
Once again, little slivers of wire are sticking through.


Distance: 138 km
Time: 6:34:28

Height gained/lost: 563m /-549m

Calories: 3999

Little wires