Holy Cow, I'm done!
Saturday August 26, 2006
I will spend time next week writing up a more reflective journal about the whole trip, but let me say that it's amazing to know that I'm done!
Less than a year ago I came up with this idea to ride across the country, and less than 8 months ago we really started to work on it. But it feels pretty amazing to know that all the training and hard work was worth it, because I rode across Canada!
Today we started to ride from Turo to Halifax. It was a good ride, the weather was great (it's amazing I went 57 days and only had rain twice!), and the wind was behind me. Of course, it wouldn't be this ride if I didn't have a few big hills to ride. One major hill wasn't supe steep but it was long. Not knowing how long it was, I started to fast and was pretty tired by the top. Of course, I figured that I could use all my energy today because I wasn't going to be riding tomorrow!
We made it to the boat launch where we had decided I would dip my wheel and foot into the water. A lot of people asked if the water was cold, but I dipped my artificial foot in the water, so I don't really know. It felt amazing to hit the ocean! My parents drove out to see me, my aunt Liz surprised me with a visit as well as everyone from the Burrell family.
After lots of pictures and celebrations at the waters edge, we went to my last Home Hardware stop, Payzant's Home Hardware in Lower Sackville. I had been getting emails across the country from Anne at Payzant's letting me know all about their fundraising activities. I didn't know how much they had raised, but I knew that not only did I have the whole stores support but it was going to be a big cheque!
Honestly I figured that the employees would have raised $20 000 if I was lucky. To raise that amount of money would have been amazing, because it would have meant so much hard work on my behalf without ever having met me. When I arrived at the store I realized how big the event was! There was three fire trucks, a huge stage and a lot of fun events for all the kids of the area. Everyone working that day was a volunteer and there were lots of people working, so it showed me how supportive all the Payzant Home Hardware family truly is.
We went up on stage and thanked everyone and let everyone know about the trip and who they were raising money for. Soon Anne got up and talked about how they had raised money. Bake sales, garage sales, really anything that they could think of that would make some money for my ride, they did. Originally they hoped to raise $2 500. In fact, two female employees said that if they could raise $5 000 they would shave their heads.
Without further suspense, the amazing staff at Payzant's raised over $31 000!!! It's unbelieveable what they were able to accomplish! I thanked them at the event, but once again I really want to thank everyone who helped out. One hundred percent of each dollar that the James Fund collects goes directly to research. So the amazing work by the staff at Payzant's will make a HUGE difference in the lives of children with Neuroblastoma.
Friends and family then went to Andrew Payzant's house for a little Lobster cookout, and it was a great place to end down the ride.
I will be forever thankful for all the support everyone gave me across the country. Without your support I wouldn't have made it, and we wouldn't have been able to fund so much research to save children. Although all the totals aren't in yet, it looks clear that we raised over $100 000!!!
|Distance today: 135km
Total Distance: 6589km
One More Day!
Friday August 25, 2006
Today was the last long ride of the trip. The ride into Halifax will be relatively short, but today's was pretty long. We stopped in Debert NS, which is where a major distribution plant for Home Hardware is. They have over a hundred employees and deliver to five provinces and even the island off the coast that is owned by France (trivia fact: there are four countries in North America, Canada, the US, Mexico and France).
We arrived just when the shift was ending, so there were a whole bunch of people there and we all had hotdogs and cake. It was fun. The ride while long was pretty good because there was wind behind me most of the route. In Nova Scotia there is a toll highway, and in case you ever are in the area, if you are riding a bicycle you don't have to pay.
We stayed with James and Evelyn Butler, who are parents of Nick Butler, an old baseball teammate of mine. It's nice when you can stay with people, not only because it means you're outside of the RV for the night, but also because it's nice to meet new friends. Both James and Evelyn were big fans of the Tour de France, so we had a little cycling discussion, which I'm certain bored the heck out of Timothy.
Early morning tomorrow to ensure that we are ready for all the events of the day!!
|Distance today: 174km
Total Distance: 6464km
Thursday August 24, 2006
Tonight we are in Moncton, NB. Two more days of riding, and we'll be done. Today was a Home Hardware event and my parents were there. It was nice to see them, and to meet the amazing people that worked for the Home Hardware. They raised two thousand dollars doing various things, which will make a big difference in helping fund the research to end Neuroblastoma.
It was a longer day today, the wind seemed to be slowing me down everywhere I went. Normally that's not a big issue, but when you have to be somewhere it starts to get a bit pressured. At this point, they really can't fire me.
We are currently cleaning up the RV, so it must be close to the end.
|Distance today: 153km
Total Distance: 6290km
Wednesday August 23, 2006
I don't know why, but I really don't like bridges. There was a big one today, and it didn't have room on the road so I had to use the sidewalk. I didn't feel comfortable riding on it, so I walked up and down the bridge. That was the big excitement on a day where I travelled a long distance, but had a pretty good wind behind me.
Most of the mountains were over in the first ten km today, so the rest of the ride was relatively flat and uneventful. Tomorrow is the start of three days where I will have Home Hardware events every day. I'm excited to have them again, there hasn't been one since Peterborough.
|Distance today: 185km
Total Distance: 6137km
Tuesday August 22, 2006
One thing that binds this country together is really big hills. I figured I was done after Northern Ontario, but I was wrong. New Brunswick has some mountain ranges, and while they aren't as high as the Rockies, they are too high for the last week of this trip.
Originally we were going to go a different route today, but we found a short cut. It should cut about 90km off today and tomorrow. It might mean more hills, since I'm not sure what the other road was like, but to save 90km it's worth it. We seem to be in the forest of NB because this road has been nothing but trees. On the map there is one road that meets up with it in the middle and absolutly nothing else. We've been promised by the locals to see a lot of wild life, but so far we've seen two rabbits.
No cell phone coverage in the enchanted forest, so this won't get posted until tomorrow night.
|Distance today: 165km
Total Distance: 5952km
Monday August 21, 2006
I'm in New Brunswick!
Today's ride started off like it ended yesterday with strong winds. The winds weren't directly in my face this time, but they certainly weren't helping me either. Though, because of them not being in my face I was averaging 15km/h rather than the 12 from yesterday. So I was moving!!
Eventually we had to stop going on 132 East and start moving south on the 185! The winds had basically died down by that point, so I was able to go pretty darn fast for the second half of the day. The nice thing is that while I will still be going east, I'm starting to head down the country to eventually hit Halifax. I can't tell the difference between east and south, but it feels good to be going a new way.
So far the roads in New Brunswick are pretty nice. The shoulders are paved and very wide, as wide as a highway lane.
|Distance today: 160km
Total Distance: 5787km
The Great Wind
Sunday August 20, 2006
Today was the strongest wind of the trip. Unfortuantely, it was in my face all day. Therefore, we had to cut the day a little short. I probably averaged 12km/h, so doing the full day would have meant me riding well past my bed time. So we're hoping that tomorrow is better and I'll just add the extra 40km on tomorrow.
We're now on the south side of the St. Lawerence. There are fewer bikers on this side, but it could have been that they were sane and didn't want to ride in such crazy winds. I was also worried that today was going to be a rain day, and there was a little sprinkle of rain, but nothing major so it was just a cold wind day.
On the bright side, it is the last Sunday of the trip!
|Distance today: 110km
Total Distance: 5627km
Day of Rest
Saturday August 19, 2006
Today was a rest day in Quebec City and since the next week is going to be a long week, I decided to do nothing but rest. So there really isn't much to say, but I enjoyed doing nothing.
Lots of Bikers
Friday August 18, 2006
I rode from Trois Rivieres to Quebec City today and it was amazing how many other cyclists I saw. There are big shoulders on the road, which means lots of bikers, which means cars being careful. It is great to see people of all ages riding bikes. I wish that governments in Ontario would realize that if they build the shoulders, people will naturally start to ride on them.
The weather is quiet nice, lots of sun and the temperature was reasonable. Because of my extra big ride yesterday the ride to Quebec City wasn't too long. We were lucky enough to be staying at the Four Points Sheraton in Quebec City, and we will stay here on Saturday since it is my day off.
McDonald's don't seem to have milkshakes around here. I'll start an investigation to determine whether it is all of Quebec or just along the road I was riding yesterday.
|Distance today: 108km
Total Distance: 5517km
A New Province...Finally!
Thursday August 17, 2006
We are officially in Quebec. It was a long day today, I rode close to 200 km, but it was actually pretty nice. Most of the roads here have big shoulders, and many seem recently paved. I saw a surprising amount of riders today, both those just out for a short ride, and those doing distance riding.
I ran into part of the Tour Du Canada, which is a tour group that goes from Victoria to St. John's every year. They all seemed very friendly (and a few cutie's!). They were riding about 120km today, and would hit St. John's on the September long weekend.
There were a lot of small towns that I rode through today. It felt like the Tour De France, because each small town had a huge church. Watching the Tour on TV, you'd always see helicopter shots of these towns with few houses but a big church.
We rode a little north of Montreal, going through Juliet instead. We're actually staying a little east of Trois Rivieres, and most of the land so far has been farm land. It reminded me a little of the prairies, except the roads weren't completely straight.
Unfortunately I don't speak french very well, and tomorrow we hit Quebec City for a day off. I remember when I was young visiting Quebec City and being very glad that the McDonald's employees spoke english! "Le Big Mac" didn't work as well as I had hoped.
|Distance today: 192km
Total Distance: 5409km
Wednesday August 16, 2006
We're still in Ontario! The original route had us staying in Quebec tonight, but instead we found an easier ride tomorrow, which meant we could spend one more night in Ontario and one more night at a Provincial Park.
I'm on the cover of the Ottawa Sun today. It's a neat picture of me holding my bike in front of the Parliament building.
Tomorrow we're into Quebec (for sure this time) and it will be a long day, as we are staying well past Montreal. We will hit Quebec City on Friday! A few people at this park have suggested that I watch the roads in Quebec. The cars move fast, but the roads aren't necessarily in the best condition.
On my ride today I met a man riding from Victoria to St. John's. He is originally from Japan! I asked him when he'd finish, but he wasn't sure, sometime in September he figured. I remember seeing him in Northern Ontario, so we must be going on the same basic path. He had to carry all his gear, so I was able to ride by him, but he is obviously riding pretty well if he has made it this far.
|Distance today: 110km
Total Distance: 5217km