I might as well just get this out there: I got a professional massage.
It happened in Winnipeg. I had been kind of thinking about it, as I pulled out of Northern Ontario, that I deserved something for digesting the whale. Considering the fact that I am several days ahead of schedule and thus can play a little more fast and loose with my budget I decided to go for it. I am still not sure how I feel about it. Maybe like going to see a professional game of ultimate. You get what you paid for, but you know that out there somewhere you could get something just as good for free. It actually was pretty intense and made Winnipeg one of my more expensive cities, but also one of the most relaxing.
I had met one of my hosts from the capital of Manitoba about a month earlier at Gender Blender. Julia was at the tournament playing with Nicole, my ride to TUF in early May, and introduced the two of us. A 30 second conversation later and I had an offer of a place to stay in Winnipeg with Julia and Robin.
In my communications with Julia before hand we had arranged for my arrival to be on Monday, so I was looking for a slow way into Winnipeg on the Sunday, especially because the Praries are easy to make good time on. Not long after I snapped the picture on the left of the new flat look I was caught in a Prarie storm that felt like it dumped about 100mm of water on me. With that amount of wet I decided to push through and stay at the University of Winnipeg in an actual dry bed, as Julia was at a tournament in the States with her ultimate team.
My time in Winnipeg was awesome as I got hooked up with a league game on Monday night, went for my massage on Tuesday, and on Wesnesday practiced with the competitive mixed team in town the Red River Rebellion. Throwing in a few local Half Pints brews, an amazing show put on by a thunder storm and a backyard bon fire it was a real good experience.
The sprints to finish off practice on Wednesday night made me take the majority of Thursday off and I didn’t leave from the city until later on in the evening where I set up my tent, for free, at Beaudry Provincial Park just out of town. The following day featured a long grind against the wind on the Trans Canada, that also included my forced start into interval training as birds along the side of the road dive bombed me and my bike every few Kms to ensure I didn’t linger in their territory. I was also graced with a screw going through my back tire.
It was near the beginning of my sojourn that I had been contacted by the Westman Ultimate Disc League in Brandon, Manitoba inviting me to stop in on my way past their city. Being in New Brunswick and thinking about Manitoba is something that boggles the mind and so I promised to keep in touch and made an effort to touch base with Stephen the Communications Director with the WUDL. Am I ever glad that I did.
I wanted to be in a town somewhere for Canada Day and the timing looked perfect for me to be in Brandon for the long weekend. Unfortunately my contact, Stephen, was going away for the weekend but he sent a message out to the 6 team ultimate league to see if anyone was willing to host me during my time in Manitoba’s second largest city.
Sharon and Joe took up the call and I have experienced a real nice and easy breezy Canadian summer long weekend. Not to mention that I have been treated to some of the best food on my trip yet. When I pulled in I was just in time for a BBQ lunch with burgers and corn plus some of the best cookies I have ever eaten for dessert. Then we took a little tour around town so that I could grab another inner tube, my 3rd one of the province. Later on that evening after some delicious fall off the bone ribs some members of the ultimate league came over and we had some backyard beers and played cups.
The following morning we were inspired by watching the European Championships of Beach Ultimate over omlettes that were cooked in the shape of muffins to head to the beach for the afternoon. More cups were played and a whole lot of tossing around in the around. We even managed to see some bison on the way home, just as Sharon had promised we would.
Canada Day was the Monday and the Westman group had organized a game of pick up that was super well attended for a hot holiday afternoon. Keeping on theme we decided to play a red vs white game and the Brandon crowd was a ton of fun. The ultimate community is also organizing a tournament later on in July to help raise money for a local animal shelter which should definitely be a good time.
Canada Day was finished up with some fireworks overlooking the city. A great finish to what has been an amazing province. I really enjoyed my time in Manitoba and the people I met along the way were great.