Ultimately done

There I stand on the far side of the stadium, watching two teams warm up for the final game that they have put months if not longer of preparation into. I guess I am on the brink of a final moment of my own, one that I had also been working towards for months. The music coming over the loud speakers comes to a stop and the announcer calls me in, I climb onto my bicycle to make one last ultimate appearance as the Canadian Ultimate Ride.

And so here it is what will likely be my last entry onto this website. I have never been a big fan of good byes as I feel like they represent such a small part of a relationship yet they always seem to have so much significance put on them. Therefore I don’t expect this entry to rise above the rest; I think it will be like all the others before it.

That being said it feels like there is much to cover.

Sunrise on Day 1 in Halifax

Sunrise on Day 1 in Halifax

My final destination and final objective was the Canadian Ultimate Championships (CUC) in Vancouver. All those months ago when I sat and watched the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean in Halifax before   opening pull of my first tournament, the CUC seemed an unreachable goal. As I pedaled over the 7400 Km I wondered whether my $ 45 bicycle had what it would take, I questioned my safety as cars and trucks of all kinds zoomed by me, and I asked myself if I had what it would take to make this dream a reality.

When I sat on the sideline of the fields at UBC in Vancouver for the first time I realized that my dream had come true. I began the tournament as a volunteer for the junior division, helping out with score keeping and various tasks before the tournament got under way. Volunteering at the CUC is something I have made a habit of over the past couple of years even if I am playing, it is a cool way to meet people and watch some ultimate. In my case it also might help me gain back a small part of the vast debt I feel that I owe the ultimate community.

As the junior’s portion of the tournament came to a close my teammates from Newfoundland began to arrive in the city. I admit that playing with a team from Newfoundland doesn’t come close to excusing me for not biking through the province, in fact it is now the only province I have never visited at all, but playing with a bunch of them has to be the next best thing.  It would have helped if they had made good on their promise to Screech me in.

The senior portion of CUC started with a ton of nervous energy, as it normally seems to, with my team, Wreckhouse, taking on the eventual tournament champions: Union.  The day wore on into the next day, with a team dinner in between. Wreckhouse missed the cut off for the top 8 by but a single point lost on universe to Rogue Hippo from Edmonton. The Saturday a lack of bodies caught up with the team as it spiralled out of the last two games of the day eventually finishing in 12th place.

The Saturday night party is always an event to look forward to when it comes to playing CUC, the only teams that still have games are in the finals, and everyone else is ready to celebrate an end to the Canadian club summer season. The tournament organizers, who did a fantastic job throughout the whole tournament, put a special twist to this party filling an above ground pool with 70 000 balls for people to practice their lay outs into. There was music, beer, and dancing and it was a party, I think the lack of teams from the Atlantic region meant everyone kept their shirts on at this shindig, that and the sheep costumes.

The following day most CUC participants made it out to Thunderbird Stadium to watch the finals over the course of the day; time of arrival usually dependant on degree of hangover.  Chris was doing the announcing over the loud speaker for the finals and he had contacted me about a month earlier with the idea of having me enter the stadium on my bicycle as a guest of honour.

Here is a slide show of a few of my favourites along the way:

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In front of the crowd at Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver

In front of the crowd at Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver


That was where I stood watching the teams warm up at the far side of the stadium. I pedaled in towards the hundreds of fans who were waiting to take in the open final between Phoenix of Ottawa and Furious George of Vancouver, they started to cheer. It was an elating feeling as I leaned my bike up against the Ultimate Canada table and turned to take in the crowd to the chants of my name. But in my mind it wasn’t just me they were chanting for, they were celebrating a community. A community that could accept a vagabond like me as I cycled my way across a country. The cheers were more for every couch, every bed, every floor, every meal, every kind gesture that had kept me in the saddle day in and day out. The cheers were for so many kind acts and the people behind them that I could sit here for the next few days listing them all and I still wouldn’t be able to do them justice. I will try to be fair by listing none of them. But I hope my gratitude extends to each and every one of you for whatever your contribution to the ride has been.

It brings to mind a saying I thought up: A trip that was Tim powered, but community fueled.

I think if there is one major take away message for me as I evaluate my experience is what an incredible amount of generosity we have in our society. From my recent experience in Africa where society seems to stretch its potential to the limit I wondered if in Canada we would ever be capable of demonstrating even a fraction of their hospitality. I have found that, with a little commonality, we can in our own way. In a way it seemed that the more distance I put behind me the smaller Canada actually became with connections only a bike ride away, there is a real positive undercurrent to our sometimes seemingly distant society.

Who wouldn't hire this guy?

Who wouldn’t hire this guy?

It has amazed me at how many people throw out the idea that I might just turn around and bike back, now that I have made it. As if getting here was that easy that I might as well just double up and do it again. I hate to disappoint, but that is not what I have in mind for my future.

It is another exciting time in my life where I feel like I have as many opportunities ahead of me as are possible. Very similar to the way I felt when I first took on the bike ride, except I do not have the luxury of having $ 5000 lying around. This new chapter will involve making money and not spending it. I will likely stick around the West coast, unless an attractive opportunity presents itself in the East.

As far as this project and everything that it entails. I will leave the website, facebook, email address, and twitter active but I don’t think I will make any more contributions to them. I would be more than happy to discuss my adventure and I love hearing from people whether they are advice seekers or just want to have a chat in general. I have tossed around the idea of doing an E-book using predominantly the content from the blogs with a little bit of added flow and/or making a short movie or slideshow to give some finality to the social portion of the trip but that will depend on how much time I have available to me.  In terms of conducting a self-assessment of the past few months of my life, I think for the most part I will assess and evaluate privately but overall I am very pleased with how this most recent chapter in my life turned out. I am glad to have been able to share some of it here.

I am excited to start the next one.

It started with a sunrise over the Atlantic and it ends with a sunset over the Pacific 7400 Km and whole lot of memories later. Thanks Isabella.

It started with a sunrise over the Atlantic and it ends with a sunset over the Pacific 7400 Km and whole lot of memories later. Thanks Isabella.

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A different kind of Road to Nats

On August 3rd, 2013 I arrived in Vancouver.

I made it.

I made it.

It was not your typical two practices a week road to Nationals. Here is what it did involve…

Here are my final biking stats:

• Total days: 119
• Biking Days: 65
• Total Km: 7449
• Average Km/day: 114.6
• Median: 116 Km
• Longest Day: 194 Km
• Shortest Day: 17 Km

Here is the final map from Canmore to Vancouver:

The other maps can be found here

Here are my final ultimate stats spreading over 9 provinces and 22 different communities:

• Tournaments: 7
• Practices: 6
• League games: 7
• Pick up games: 4
• Clinics: 3

Here is my final budget information:

• Total money spent: $ 4235
• Average $/day: 35.59
• Number of nights paying for accommodation: 6 (total $173)

Expenses breakdown after 119 days on the road from Halifax to Vancouver.

Expenses breakdown after 119 days on the road from Halifax to Vancouver.

My final days on the road were a real grind as I tried to bike off the fatigue of the Nelson tournament without giving myself a day off. That combined with the desert like conditions of mountainous Southern BC, made for a tough final leg of the journey.

Biking through the province that proudly boasts of its beauty right on its licence plate brought back a flood of memories. Like the family vacations I went on when I was younger to ski or horse back ride. Or as I grew older, with a voracious appetite for adventure, the time I hitchhiked with a friend and arriving at our destination in the dark we unknowingly set up our tent in the middle of a road. These memories and more came back to me as I pumped my legs over the last few hundred Kms of my journey.

Even though the cycling portion has come to a close some things will end where they should have begun. There is still one last ultimate tournament left to play. Right around the time I was sleeping on the couch of Jeff, whom I had met in Chicoutimi, in Revelstoke another Jeff, who I had also met in Chicoutimi, was pulling strings over in Newfoundland to offer me a roster spot on the Mixed team representing the Atlantic region at the Canadian Ultimate Championships in Vancouver: Wreckhouse. Some things come full circle; the one province that I did not bike through will in spirit be how I end my voyage surrounded by its inhabitants.

The eve before my final day on the road I had the pleasure of receiving an email from David my companion on the very first day of my trip. In his writings he linked me back to his account of my first day of cycling where he accompanied me for the first 25 Km. In turn I began to read my own blogs from the beginning and my tales from the Maritimes as I started to make my way Westward.

I was glad that I got to look back and reflect on some of my finer and not so finer moments and the experiences I shared with so many along the way. It also reminded me that although I will disappoint many superlative hungry individuals out there; there is no ‘best moment’ or ‘favourite this’ or ‘worst that’. Along the way every moment, community, and person represented their own unique story and choosing one over the other for better or for worse would be a mistake.

Nice clouds, but I think they were hiding something even nicer

Nice clouds, but I think they were hiding something even nicer

So I arrived at my final destination, as I did with most of my journey, without incident and on an even keel. I had been cheated of great views over my last few days of my trip due to low cloud cover. The first thing I did was relieved myself from the burden of tweeting daily and then took a glorious week away from both bicycle and computer. My first meal in Vancouver was the back up rice that had quietly kept me company throughout the 1000s of Kms of my journey. It wasn’t glorious but you have to respect the back up rice.

I figure I have one last blog post left in me to give a brief account of the Canadian Ultimate Championships and to try and summarize that which is un-summarize-able; this trip as a whole.

Konnecting Kootenays and Breaking Discs

I recieved two real good pieces of advice as I began my assault on the mountains. One was from my Uncle Ken in Canmore who told me not to make my last few Kms into Vancouver too much of a chore. Before getting my second piece of advice I had to climb Rogers Pass, so I guess I had already started the mountains. I left Canmore after a real good rest, making sure that my cousins Macx and Nicola knew their place in the family pecking order by destroying them at Monopoly.

I had been told that I had a lot of descending ahead of me into Golden and I was not disappointed. The jury is still out as to whether I cracked 200 Km that day but it would have to be close as I made Donald, BC. It was somewhere around Golden that I noticed that I had broken a spoke in my front rim. The first time my front wheel has given me any trouble whatsoever this trip. I decided that if I backed off the brakes a bit the wobble wouldn’t interfere with my pedaling too much so I took on Rogers Pass the following day with a slight wiggle.

My second good piece of advice came from my buddy Jeff who I stayed two nights with in Revelstoke. Jeff and I met in Chicoutimi doing a French learning program called Explore, which I have mentioned in other blog posts. Honestly that program pays for itself not only in the language skills you acquire but also the people you meet along the way, I highly recommend it to anyone in a post-secondary institution because the governement will even pick up your tab.

Jeff and I were chatting about my bike ride across the country, he had to recover a bit from his disbelief at the fact that I was doing it on a $45 bike, with no clip ins on my pedals, and without padded bike shorts but once he did and he realized how far ahead of schedule I was he told me to get off the TransCanada.

Having just announced to Ultimate Rob in my interview, that can be seen here, that I didn’t think there were any tournaments in between Calgary and Vancouver prior to Nationals I did a little research to make sure. Turns out I was wrong and there was a tournament in Nelson, BC called Disc Break.

Originally my plan had been to bike to Kelowna and then catch a ride over to Nelson with one of the teams that was sure to be participating in the tournament. With the advice I had recieved from my uncle and friend, both indiviuals who I look up, I decided I should just bike to Nelson. In the grand scheme of things what is an extra 300 Km.

I bombed out of Revelstoke having taken a day off to get my bike fixed, eat some tacos, and try my body out at rock climbing all of which were successes to various degrees, the rock climbing the lowest but still a fun activity. The wonders of the Slocan valley and the Kootenays were pretty amazing to look at. I met up with Ian, a truck driver, who shared my grasp of the perfect free campsite on my first night out of Revie near New Denver. He was equally impressed with my garage sale get up and having chatted a bit and said our good byes he came back down to my tent and offered me a delicious sandwhich and some yogurt that were a cool temperature thanks to the cooler he had in his truck. I really appreciated the generosity.

I didn’t think I knew anyone in Nelson, so Jeff had put me in touch with a friend of his, Kendra, where I could spend Thursday night waiting for the tournament camping to kick in. It was a really hot day and I was trying to make good time so that I had a shot at meeting Kendra at her place before she left to go mountain biking for the afternoon. I pulled over at a lemonade stand about 20 Km from town to get ready for my last push of the day. That is where I made eye contact with a girl who seemed vaguely familiar but I couldn’t quite place it. After some mutual staring I decided to ask her name: Meredith, and boom turns out we went to high school together in Ottawa.

It is a funny thing how your situation has a huge impact on your relationships, Meredith and I agreed that had we met on the streets of Ottawa in front of our old high school we may have chatted for 5 minutes and then moved on. Given that we were several 1000s of Kms away from that scenario we chatted for a bit and then she offered me a place to stay on Sunday post tournament.

Nelson, BC a strong hold of granola and hemp

Nelson, BC a strong hold of granola and hemp

I am familiar with the feeling of being unique in a town with a big beard and a only a tent or perhaps a couch, if I am lucky, to sleep on. It turns out that in Nelson, I am not unique at all, in fact: I fit right in. This beautiful town that seems to have been built on a stronghold of granola and hemp has got a pretty sweet vibe and they aren’t so bad at ultimate either.

Disc Break is Nelson’s tournament that I had only found out about a week earlier. I had sent out a general email and asked to pick up with anyone that would have me. I was contacted by Luke the captain of Fat Kids (or Phat Kidz, depending on your spelling) and he invited onto a team that was billed as short on players but long on experience. This could not have been more true when I went out for dinner with one of my teammates, James, on Friday night and found out that one year, earlier in his ultimate career, he played in 32 tournaments. I gotta think that is the record.

When James and I got back from dinner more of our team had arrived at the campsite, the majority of the Fat Kids hailing from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, having taken the day off to drive in. We had a few drinks and some pizza then retired for the night as our weekend was bound to be a long one having only a 12 person roster.

The tournament itself was a blast with some hot weather and wind to keep eveyone honest, but the Fat Kids came through Saturday undefeated. Saturday night was a ripping party at the Nelson Curling Rink with a DJ and local beer. The organizers overall did a stand up job with the 10 teams in attendance. There were 5 freshly painted regualtion size fields and catered lunches on both days. Sunday came around and having a 10:30 start time made for a nicer morning than most. The Fat Kids continued their streak taking down a team in the quarters and then having a good game against the local team. Nelson Home Grown, and finally winning the whole tournament against a team out of Kelowna: Mana Burn.

I headed over to Meredith’s after watching Team Canada lose to the United States in Ultimate at The World Games on Sunday evening. Had a few beers around a campfire and then went to bed in order to prepare for my final push into Vancouver.

Crowsnest Highway Elevation, courtesy of these folks: http://www.randonneurs.bc.ca/1000km/routes/crowsnest_prof.html

Crowsnest Highway Elevation, courtesy of these folks: http://www.randonneurs.bc.ca/1000km/routes/crowsnest_prof.html

I came across the above image and put it on facebook yesterday without much context. Having spent nearly 4 months in my head on the seat of a bike I understood completely what it meant, but the heat of the desert was upon me and I forgot to give an explanation that might resonate with those who work in an air conditioned office 9-5. That is an elevation map of Highway 3 or the Crowsnest Highway. I am moving from right to left along it. I dropped onto the highway at Caslegar and now only have two humps left to go. I am particularly excited for the last 56 Km of Highway 3 into Hope, BC that are a full out descent. That is not the end of the road there is still about 150 Km to go before I hit Vancouver from Hope.

When I get there it is going to be awesome.

Jumping Stubble: from Plains to Mountains

So this is where 6100 Km gets you Halifax to Canmore, AB:

And this is what it does to your beard:

I pumped out a couple of long days through Saskatchewan and Alberta, peaking at 190 Km. Unfortunately I think with the terrain I have ahead of me I will not be breaking the 200 Km barrier in one day for this trip.

Getting into Alberta

Getting into Alberta

I Brooded my way into Ooo Alberta and set up for the night just beside the border in a town called Walsh. The next morning I decided it was time to deal with the wobble in my back tire due to the spoke I had broken earlier so I made haste for a bike shop in Medicine Hat. While my bike was getting fixed up I attended to some ultimate matters.

It turned out that the Hat had league that very evening so I made some arrangements while using the power outlet in a Walmart parking lot to get in on the game. I had also been contacted by a long lost high school friend, Ian, telling me about a hat tournament that the Edmonton Ultimate Players Association was hosting that weekend. I wasn’t convinced that I could make it to Edmonton in time for the tournament so I decided to file the option away for future consideration and go play some disc.

It is weird that no matter how tired I might feel getting the chance to chase down some plastic always seems to revive my legs. I met up with a great gang from Medicine Hat and the decision was made to do some post scrimmage beers and wings. A few beers later it was getting dark and I had to pedal my way back out to our playing fields and set up my tent planning to get out early in the morning as I had camped in the middle of suburbia.

I set up my tent in this field

I set up my tent in this field


With my early start achieved I battled through some serious heat to put a good day under my belt. I was also starting to grow a little tired of the endless Prairie landscape, particularly the pastureland that had few cows but plenty of dull green to look at. With this dreary landscape in mind I decided there was no way I couldn’t play in a tournament in Edmonton to brighten my spirits.

I pulled into my cousin’s house in Calgary on Thursday July 11 and got to shower for the first time since Regina which was a flood of relief. My cousin, Robyn, and Marc were super welcoming and they made me a delicious meal that evening and told me to make myself at home. It also turned out Robyn was going to Edmonton for the weekend to visit friends so I had a ride to the tournament; Stubble Jumpers.

As a tournament how can you go wrong when you offer camping, a cups tournament, good quality ultimate, solid people, and an open bar on Saturday night. Stubble Jumpers was a great time and the EUPA put on an incredible tournament. I put some game play pictures up on my facebook page. My team found some instant chemistry stemming from our name of NCSD which turned into any combination of words imaginable starting with those letters. We ended up finishing third at the tournament but as far as we were concerned we won the party, and sometimes that matters more.

Coming back to Calgary I got an opportunity to go to a skills clinic with Ultimate Rob. He also did an interview with me which has made for an interesting boost in popularity. The interview can be seen here.

I finally left the comforts of Calgary on Wednesday for the beauties of Canmore, a place where I am also lucky to have family. It was a welcome relief to see something other than Prairie flat lands especially when the something different happens to be Mountains and lakes.

I have been treated super well here enjoying the beauties of the town and a little time not on the bike. I ran an ultimate session for some biathletes who were doing off season training and have gone on some pretty nice hikes. My aunt, uncle, and cousins have been amazing hosts but tomorrow I leave and hope to crack my last province of the trip.

Oooo Alberta it sure has been nice.

A light hike outside of Canmore, AB

A light hike outside of Canmore, AB

Interview with Ultimate Rob

When I was in Calgary I got the opportunity to do a skills clinic and interview with Ultimate Rob.

Rob took the time to come out right before his departure for Europe to compete in the WFDF World Overall Flying Disc Championships. He also boasts: 10 World Records including 3 Guinness World Records 3 World Championships 1 Quadruped national title – See more at: http://www.ultimaterob.com/2013/06/07/2013worldoverall/#sthash.kJhZ6Qr6.dpuf

Here is the interview:

Weighting it out

I am in Calgary, just spent a sweet weekend playing disc in Edmonton but I will talk about that later.. This is more of a general interest post than an actual update. Talking about my weight, drinking, and eating habits while on the ride.

Weight

I have been asked frequently about whether I have lost a lot of weight along the way. The graph below has the answer:

Weight in lbs over the course of 4 months

Weight in lbs over the course of 4 months

Looking at the graph above is kind of an interesting glance at the trend that my weight has taken over the course of 4 months. I included the month before pre-departure because I found it to be an intriguing point of conversation. My ride started at the beginning of April somewhere around the 175 lb mark. My first data point is for the beginning of March where I had just returned from spending 3 months in Africa. The reason I was so slim had to do with the sauna like conditions, change in diet, and overall lack of exercise. Lack of exercise, should also be a notable factor in how much training I did before embarking…none.

My initial 10 lb gain, to the beginning of my trip, was more a result of my body returning to more normal conditions. From there even within my first 2 weeks of biking and playing I could feel noticeable differences in my leg muscles and overall fitness level. Therefore when I got on a scale after 2 weeks I was not surprised to be nearly 20 lbs heavier than I was when I landed.

Since that time it would appear that I have maintained a fairly consistent weight varying by a margin of about 7 lbs. My peak weigh in was when I was in Thunder Bay having fought through the colder climate of Northern Ontario. I have been trending towards being lighter in both numbers and appearance. My assumption is as the temperature has begun to increase my appetite has decreased ever so slightly and I lose a lot of water mass through out the day.

My data points should be taken with a grain of salt as the accuracy of the scales I have found along the way could be called into question. But I think they do an okay job of showing the general trends in weight.

Water

I usually drink a lot of water. Probably a normal day pre-Africa would see me crush 2-3 L of water. The thing is I no longer have normal days.

I carry 3 water bottles with me, all with about 1 L capacity. At first when it was cooler I would probably drink in the neighbourhood of 4-5 L of water in a day. Now that it is warmer I am around 7-8 L plus I usually pick up a liter of juice or a gatorade during one of my breaks on the road.

Generally I try to never have less than one liter of water with me as a back up and for the most part I fill up at gas stations and restaurants along the way. I also carry water purification tablets with me. I used them a few times in Northern Ontario when there was a significant gap in between service stations. There my motto was if it is available you better take it.

Food

I never planned on being able to eat this much. I have become a vacuum of food. I have tried to keep a slow pace because one time when I was invited to eat with the family of Nate, my MUPH teammate, in Fergus, ON I was so excited to eat the steak they had prepared that I nearly ended my trip right then and there with it lodged in my throat.

My normal day of biking will see me eat about 6 meals in a day, with one of them being in a restaurant and the rest being grocery store purchases. My grocery store necessities need to be sturdy and compact they generally include: bagels, tuna, sardines, beans, apples, cheese, red pepper, and granola bars. I try to make my one meal of the day in a restaurant breakfast because I find you get the most food for the least amount of money. Going to a restaurant also gives me a good opportunity to charge my phone, fill my water bottles, steal the jam packets, and talk to another human being.

My day by the meals would look something like this:
7:00 AM: Bagel, jam, and an apple
9:30 AM: Go to restaurant post 30-40 Km of biking
11:30 AM: 2 Granola bar water break
1:00 PM: Beat the heat fruit and bagel
3:00 PM: 2 Granola bar water break
4:30 PM: Can of tuna and cheese
7:00 PM: Can of beans, red pepper, and bagel

That is somewhat of a generalization and every day is different. But that is an idea of what a day could look like. It varies for temperature and whatever other variable I may be facing during my trip, but you get the idea.

Strap On Your Watermelon, This Sky Is Alive

Powerballs, is the name I gave to the mixture of Sharon’s delicious cookies and Shanda’s tantalizing peanut butter bars. These were two parting gifts from Brandon along with some great memories and they all helped fuel me to my greatest day of riding to date of somewhere around 190 Km. It also got me out of the inner tube graveyard that was Manitoba and into this guy:

Tough to spell, easy to draw

Tough to spell, easy to draw

My second day out of Brandon put me into Regina where I was to be staying with a friend of a teammate’s ride share organized by twitter. Or put more simply, Julia, my host in Winnipeg email connected me with Will my new host in Regina. My arrival was a day earlier than expected so Will was out when I pulled in. I had no qualms with that and settled into the parking lot behind his building to enjoy some chicken and beer. A nice guy took pity on me and offered me a cigarette and some money figuring I down on my luck, I thanked him and said even though I am without a home I am doing all right.

Parait-il qu’il y a des francophones a Regina. Or at least CBC seems to think so as Will and his roommate Vincent for work for the French CBC. Vincent eventually cruised through the parking lot and picked me for who I actually was and we went up to their apartment for some more beers. Will eventually rolled in and we spent a night repairing his bike tire, sipping beers, and chatting.

I took advantage of my day off the next day poking around the city of Regina, logging some time in the library, and of course finding an ultimate game. Thursday night league in town started with a few forfieted games so I just did some tossing with some pretty cool ultimate folks and then the second round of games came along and the TestEagles found a spot for me in their lineup. It was a solid night only to get better when I got back to the apartment Will and Vincent were playing a game of bananagrams with their co-worker Kim.

The following day was Game Day in town for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and I had decided to stay another day to see what the Rider nation was all about.

Vincent’s friends were coming to visit on that day and I had to give up my claim on the couch. Luckily Kim, who does sports for French CBC in town, had a couch I could crash on and she was planning on going to the game too. Rider nation is as crazy as advertized and not wearing green in town on game day was almost a sin. And yes people actually do wear watermelons on thier heads.

Will ended up going to the game as well and we grabbed some pre and post beers then I went with Kim back to her place where I met her roommate Mark. The next morning was a late one and Mark made me some delicious breakfast and I was on my way again at around noon.

I made it as far as Moose Jaw, with a couple of Prairie storms under belt, when my tire went flat on the West side of town after chatting with some hitchhikers. When I was checking out the damage I noticed that one of my spokes had broken. I found a bicycle repair shop on the internet that was in town and claimed to be open until 9pm. I made some calls and hauled my bike the 8 Km back into town to see if they could help me out. The mechanic that came out to meet me told me he had been working pretty hard all day so he wouldn’t be fixing my bike that evening. He was actually pretty nice and after we talked back and forth for a bit he suggested that I could just pull the spoke out when I repairing my tire and keep going as long as she didn’t wobble too much.

I decided to take his advice and dragged my bike back up to the highway, witnessing a beautiful Prairie sunset along the way, and set up camp in a church parking lot. I fixed my tire and pulled out the broken spoke in the process and I appeared good to go the next morning. I usually find church properties are great placed to camp because they are often unused and friendly if you do happen to run into someone. This particular night was a Saturday so I wanted to get going early the next morning before I got pulled intosermon in an effort to wash away my sins, that was my plan as I drifted off to sleep.

Three AM was when the automatic sprinkler system started to hose down my tent. The sound became quite soothing after the initial shock although did nothing to alleviate my need to urinate. I did get my early start to the day though. The spoke was no issue just a slight wobble that I barely noticed and it took me all the way out of the province.

Six days is all that it took for me to clear Saskatchewan and things are really starting to look and feel like summer. There are many more people out on the highways: I see about 3 cyclists a day now heading West to East and the shoulder outside of a town is a good place to find hitchhikers. It is not only those of us who occupy the shoulders with our unwashed bodies who are out for adventure there are plenty of people driving this way and that way picking up on journeys of their own. All of us taking the ups, downs, and turns of the road as it comes, cashing in on opportunities of the past to create opportunities for the future, but probably enjoying the best opportunity of them all: the one of the present, the road beneath you.

Land of Living Skies, they got that one right

Land of Living Skies, they got that one right

There is a lot of ultimate going on these days best of luck to everyone playing: may your hucks find their mark. I will be playing a little hat tournament in Edmonton this weekend.