“Got the wings of heaven on my shoes. I’m a dancing man and I just can’t lose.”
-Stayin’ Alive (Ozzy’s version is the best)
Total mileage: 2368km
Number of woodticks removed from my body: I’ve lost count
Today brought a new province (Manitoba) and a new time zone. Every inch I pedal is one inch closer to the finish line. The scenery changed today too. Once I got about 30km outside of Melville, Saskatchewan, it was like someone flipped a switch. The landscape suddenly changed from bald prairie to what the locals refer to as “parkland”, which is basically the emergence of natural deposits of trees.
With the mountains gone and the initial shock of the prairies past, the riding has fallen into a mechanical groove. With nothing spectacular to look at, it’s more about just cranking off the kilometers.
This can lead to motivational problems, especially when the weather sucks.
Pulling out of Regina I was faced with rain. Not some kind of Bob Ross “happy little rain cloud”, but full on, balls out rain. About 50km east of Regina I turned north onto a 2 lane country road to avoid what is a notoriously dangerous section of the TCH for cyclists. Barrelling towards me was a tractor trailer. A big red, Coke-a-Cola carrying bastid. I could tell by his speed that this encounter was going to hurt. WHAP!! The wind blast coupled with the rain was like getting smacked in the face with a sopping wet beach towel at 50km/h. I also learned that Gore-tex socks don’t work when you’re wearing shorts. But like the old saying goes, “He who goes without pants shall suffer the consequences”. Motivation was at an all time low. I tried to put myself in a happy place and adopt the mantra that a bad day on the bike is still better than any day at the office. Fortunately things dried up in the afternoon and I was treated to a sweet tailwind that carried me all the way into Melville at 35km/h.
Melville is a railroad town and my first encounter with the CN line since starting in Victoria. The municipal campground was empty and I was treated to THE BEST campground shower facilities ever. Sometimes it’s the little things that really stand out.
Now I’m inside the Manitoba boarders and spending the evening in the small town of Roblin. I stood outside the local Co-op grocery store, icy Mountain Dew in hand, and absorbed the silence of a Saturday night in Roblin. It was a little erie but perfectly natural at the same time. I was glad not to see a Starbucks or Tim Hortons. I’ve got the feeling that if your craving a coffee you get it at the gas station or brew it at home. I didn’t see anyone hoisting a $6 grande mocha latte. Living in a big city really can alter your perception of what’s normal.
I had my first tire puncture this afternoon and it couldn’t have been timed worse. As soon as I got off the bike I felt a gurgling and what can only be described as the advanced stages of “mud-butt”.
I had to take a dump.
I had to take a dump immediately.
It was 2 hours of riding to the next public washroom and the last town was about an hour behind me. So, I was left with no choice but to grab my travel pack of Wet Ones and head for the tree cover that the freshly gained parkland provided. I’ll spare you the rest of the details but after I came out of the trees I began to pick numerous woodticks off my legs and clothing. And once you’re back on the bike after being bare ass in the woods, this gets you thinking about where else a woodtick may have crawled. Now THIS is truly something that will distract you from the monotony of cycling.
I’m closing I’ll leave you with a picture of a cool old house I passed west of Regina.
Have a great weekend, y’all.