Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Two More Video's

Here are two more video's to finish off my documentation of the ride.

This first video is one I shot on the top of Kooteney Pass which seems like forever ago.  It probably isn't the kind of video you are expecting but it was pretty cool to see.  Click on this link to see it.

And here is the video I took on Day 9, the last day of our ride.  I'm sorry it is so shaky but I hope you enjoy it.  Click here to see the video.

Monday, June 30, 2014

GearUp Day 9: Invermere-Banff

We made it!!!!  I am happy to report that all riders made it into Banff accident free!!!  Yesterday was an awesome day for me.  It was a long day, 150km's, and I rode most of it all by was actually quite nice.  Nothing against the other riders or anything, but it was nice to be able to go at my own pace, take a bunch of video (battery went dead before I finished) and just soak in the most amazing scenery I have ever seen.

The ride yesterday went straight through the Rockies.  We were surrounded by mountains all day long.  Amazingly we did not get rained on, the cloud above us did not look pretty but luckily they left us alone :)

The day started out with a big climb out of Radium and the best thing happened on it; I over estimated the km's we had to ride!  For some crazy reason I thought the summit wasn't until the 46km mark, so I set myself a nice easy pace and settled in for a lot of pain and a long climb.  However, as I came around the corner of the 24km mark there were the support vehicles!!  How I over estimated by that much I will never know, must of been a combination of the elevation and total exhaustion.  However, that nice little surprise set the mood for the rest of the ride...I was so happy!!!  We still had some climbing to do after this but that was out last major ascent and it was a great feeling to know that the climbing was all behind us.

From here the Rockies really opened up and the ride was amazing.  It was a long day and a lot of people could feel the exhaustion, as could I, but I also just felt really good, we were almost done and I was able to ride the whole thing!!

This fact really is what I am most proud of this year.  I think I have said it before, but many of my rides this year were slower than last year and I did not feel as strong on the climbs.  But this year I was able to accomplish the goal I set for myself last year and wasn't able to meet, and that was to ride every inch of that ride!  After I checked into the hotel at Banff I had to do a reality check to make sure I wasn't dreaming, that I really did ride the whole thing and the ride really was over.  So I do feel a huge sense of accomplishment in doing the whole ride this year.  It was very tough, I think tougher than last year.  This has a lot to do with the weather on days 2, 3, and 4, the hot sun and then the pouring rain.  But once those first days were over everything went a lot better.  I know that as time goes on and I recover from the ride I will look back on this trip with awesome memories and a lot of pride.

Thanks everyone for following along on the ride and thanks for all your support and encouraging messages...I could not have done this without you!!

If you have been following along and would still like to donate to the fight against CF, you can do so here.

Climbing out of Radium.

Me and my favourite volunteer!!

Keeping the legs warm during lunch.

Made it...where is everyone?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

We Made It

I just wanted to post that we made it to Banff.  Everyone arrived safe and we had a great ride today.  We just got back from our celebration dinner and I am exhausted.  I will blog about it all hopefully tomorrow.  Kim and I are driving back tomorrow but hopefully I can have something up on the blog by tomorrow night.

Thanks everyone for your support, I could never have done this without everyone supporting us and cheering us on along the way.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Day 8: Cranbrook-Invermere

After the emotions of yesterday and another over cast sky I really didn't know what to expect as we rolled out after breakfast this morning, but now that it is over I can report that it was a GREAT day!!  The weather for today was awesome, my legs felt loose, and we had a nice tailwind for about 80-90% of the day...we made record time today biking 132km in just over 4 average speed for the day was 31.5km/h.  It was a fun day but obviously the thoughts and feelings of yesterday were never far away.

We got to the hotel at around 1pm which is great and we've had a nice afternoon sitting around in the pub and outside talking.  My cousin Aletha, her husband Byron, and their new born son came to visit with Kim and I.  It was so great to see them and catch up.

We also just met up with our Alberta riders.   This morning a group of 5 riders left from Banff on the "Rocky Mountain Weekend Ride" and met up with us here and they will be riding back to Banff with us tomorrow.

It is amazing to think that this is already Day 8 and tomorrow is our last day.  I am not counting my chickens before they hatch as anything can still happen before or during the ride tomorrow, but it is crazy to think that tomorrow is already our last day!  During the ride today I was thinking about specific things that have happened on the ride and all the days have already meshed together and I am having a hard time keep everything apart, which was the super hot day?  What day did it rain again?  When was Paulson?  Over time everything will define itself but on the ride it is just go go go and there isn't much time to sit and process.  On Day 3 (lets think about this)...we were in Osoyoos and I remember wondering how I was every going to make it for another 6 days.  I was dehydrated, my legs were cramping, and my saddle sores were getting really bad...and now here we are, only one day left!

One thing that is cool is that in the last 18 months I have put over 10,400km's on my road bike.  I never thought I would be able to do that.  Somehow I think it is going to take a lot longer to put the next 10,000 on it.  I think that once I get back I am going to have to drop my bike off at the bike shop for some work...over the past couple day with all the rain it has developed a squeak, it kind of reminds me of riding one of my old junk pile bikes back on the farm when I was a kid...however, throw enough oil on anything and I am sure that squeak will disappear (I am sure all my farming family is nodding with approval and all my cycling friends are shaking their heads in horror).

Tomorrow is going to be a tough day, it is a long day (150km) and a lot of climbing.  I am looking forward to the ride being done and if everything goes well it is going to be pretty amazing to once again see that Banff sign.  

Though the scenery was amazing today I regret to say I didn't do much with my camera, we were in a pace line all day moving at a good clip so I didn't really think it would be good to whip out my camera and hobble all over the road while trying to film.

Here is what tomorrow looks like:

Friday, June 27, 2014

GearUp Day 7: Creston-Cranbrook

There is nothing worse in cycling than starting your ride in the pouring rain, and that is exactly what happened today.  After putting on all the warm clothes I had, trying to be as water proof as possible, within three minutes of riding I was pretty much soaked through.  In the words of one of the riders who had to sit today out, "in those first km's there wasn't anyone smiling or hooting or hollering, no one looked happy to be on the road."

My legs felt quite heavy all day and I pretty much just tried to stay in the middle of the pace line or on someone's wheel all day.  Today was one of those rides everyone just wanted to put their heads down and get through, and we did get through it quite fast...103km's in 3h48min.

For me, the first 60km's though were all about pushing through the mental barriers of wanting to get in the actually turned out to be a pretty emotional day for me.  Just before rolling out this morning I read on Facebook about a friend who was recently admitted to St. Paul's for CF reasons...this really stuck with me all day.  As I was riding and wanting nothing more than to quit I kept remembering back to my old hospital room in St. Paul's and what my friend was going through.  I remembered unpacking all my stuff at each admission, the smell of the antibacterial wipes, the total lack of privacy, the constant interruptions, the shitty food, and the beeping from the fucking I.V. was at this point that I found myself actually crying for about 3 minutes during the ride.  I remember so often sitting in Room 1 of ward 8A and wanting nothing more than to be able to get out of there...and here I was today complaining about some stupid rain while having the opportunity to bike over 100km's.  It is amazing how CF puts things in perspective, and today was the perfect reminder about why we are doing this ride and just how shitty every single part of CF is.

I know my own health is still very fragile and I face my own post-transplant complications, but when I think back to those long day, weeks and months I spent in St. Paul's I just can't help but be so incredibly humbled by the gift of life I have been given.  This ride has been very physically and mentally demanding and we are not done yet, but how could I ever complain about some stupid rain or a headwind when so many people with CF are still fighting the fight to breathe.  If any of my CF friends are reading this tonight, and I know this doesn't really help you in any way, but please know that you are the ones who got me through the day today, thank-you.

Some rainy pics:

We were wet before we even turned a spoke.

Pace line in the rain.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Day 6: Rossland-Creston

Wow, am I glad today is over!!  It was a good day but it was a very tough day.  Kooteney Pass definitely got the better of me on this day!  But I was able to finish it so I guess it was a good day :)

The day started out great, we left Rossland and had a nice quick descent into Trail, it was about an 8-10% grade and a lot of fun to cruise down.  Once we got into Trial we right away had two climbs to get back out of Trail and we were on our way to Fruitvale for our morning break.  From here we set our sights for the bottom of Kooteney Pass, the 67km lunch break.  We had a pretty stiff headwind for the 30km's leading up to lunch but we could not have asked for better weather.  From here we started up the biggest (and I think hardest) climb of the trip.  It started out quite well with some nice 4-6% grades but about 10km's up we hit the 7-8%'s and these killed me.  It was about a  21km climb and I suffered big time over the last 10km.  I remember that last year I did the whole thing without stopping; not a chance this year.  I think I had to stop about 5 times, they were all short breaks, but my legs just would not go.

The weather was perfect the whole way up, quite cloudy but it looked like it could rain at any time, and sure enough, with 500 meters to go the sky opened and it started coming down good.  You can see the pictures below.  We all grabbed our bags and headed into a little warming cabin that is up there and we all put on our winter gear.  It rained quite hard for about 17km's down, I got totally soaked through and then I came around one corner and was hit by a burst of warm air, about 1 km later the rained stopped and all of sudden it got really warm.  After reaching the farming flats outside of Creston, right at the bottom of the mountain, I had to stop and strip off a few layers as it was about a 11km ride to the hotel.

The day was difficult but overall I am satisfied with how it went.  We had three riders do the Kooteney Pass twice this year which is amazing!

This picture makes the whole day worth it:

Kim working hard at the top of Kooteney Pass...our volunteers are the only thing that keep us going.

One of the highlights of the day was coming with 100 feet of a Moose, twice!  I took video of each "encounter" but the internet is kind of slow here so I won't be able to upload it, but it was pretty fun.

Lastly, here is what we have in store for ourselves tomorrow.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014