Today was a lofty goal of accomplishing a double century ride, don’t forget also pulling 50lbs+ behind Betty. My ride started at 9am and the winds were already moving, had to be 25km/hr from the west thankfully. Last night I had cooked an extra piece of steak for the ride today and stocked up on Cliff bars so was well fuelled. About 20km in I couldn’t understand why I was struggling to get no more than 20km/hr downwind! After a few stops to check Betty over I realized I had another flat on the trailer! Nothing like changing a flat on the shoulder of the trans-Canada hwy. Went without issue and was back on my way.
My first stop was at Fort Qu’Appelle, but not before 25km of Hwy 10 shoulder that was virtually disintegrated. I was warned ahead of time that this stretch was pot holed and hard on cycling, but it was a 15km shorter route…should have listened because it was an obstacle course negotiating the shoulder without face planting it or breaking some spokes. While I had a great tailwind I couldn’t take advantage of it because of the tough terrain. Lesson learned, not to mention if I had have gone the longer route I would have surpassed the double century!
This is the Fort Qu’Appelle cycling club in the late 1800s! Interesting that this town was expected to be the capital of the new province in the early 1900s but they lost out to Regina. Wonder what the area would have looked like if Regina wasn’t the provincial capital?
Soon after Fort Qu’Appelle the landscape really changes, more trees, even forests, lots of small wetlands and lakes. Amazing how far you can see weather coming in the prairies. “A fronts coming thru” my grandfather used to say.
As I was cruising along, feeling like the king of cycling, hitting constant speeds of 35-40km/hr this storm came up from behind. Started with hail, then a full blown thunderstorm, lightning everywhere! I had nowhere to take shelter and it was pelting me from behind but was still able to navigate the shoulder. Figured i was already wet and there was little traffic so tried to keep peddling. The wind had to be gusting more than 50km/hr and just kept pushing me. Amazingly I peddled through this storm, soaked! As well the shoulders were now puddled so the bike was kicking up more rain as I continued. I passed thru Melville with a quick break at a gas station to stretch my legs, the wind was powerful, once almost pushing me off the road. With about 40km to go, 150km in the books I was a little dryer, but my shoes and socks were still soaked. About 15km from Yorkton I could feel the trailer loose, something wasn’t right? After 2000km you really get to know your bike and its movements. Anything different is quickly noticed. I stopped and discovered the wing nut that holds the left bar of the trailer was loose…unfortunately not only was it loose but it appeared stripped! I couldn’t tighten it, at least not on the side of the highway. A zip tie, cardboard shim and some duck tape and we were back on the road (knew that Queen’s Engineering degree would come in handy eventually). While this got me to Yorkton, obviously this is not a permanent solution. Can you believe how many stores are closed on Sundays in Saskatchewan? Including the local cycle shop…I am either fixing this on my own in the morning or stuck in Yorkton another day (hmm final round of the US Open at a pub?)
Well I made it, almost a double century. 9.5hrs on the road. I went thru a lot today that made me think I wouldn’t make it. The thought that I could have easily stopped in Melville or even camped on the side of the road anywhere continued to roll thru my mind. The flat tire, rough roads, hail and lightning storm, broken trailer hitch didn’t deter me. I wanted this double century and kept thinking how easy this is compared to what my aunt Dora just went thru and what my friend Daniella is about to deal with. While I can’t even imagine the emotion with dealing with cancer; today was a roller coaster ride of emotion for me, dealing with the elements, literal bumps in the road, unexpected twists and a long haul. I am happy I followed thru to Yorkton in some small way for those who are dealing with greater concerns.
Daily Cycle: 191.8km
Daily Cycle Time: 7hrs 11min