Friday, 9 August 2013

Sidewalk Chalk

As we continue our journey across Ontario I am continually struck by the generous support of our brothers and sisters. On our trip into London we rode about 15 km on bike paths to travel through the city and about every 100 metres someone had written an encouraging note in sidewalk chalk. I was near tears at the overwhelming feelings of joy those scribblings made me feel. What a blessing to be part of such a community! 

(As a side comment, one of the scribblings was on a section of path that traversed near a sewage grate and said, "plug your nose." Well, obviously I wanted to obey that order so I reached up to plug my nose at the exact moment that the path had broken up under the pressure of tree roots. I nearly had a spill but all I could do was chuckle and think about how glad I was that no one saw that!)

And those feelings of joy have continued to last as we traveled to Breslau. After a restful night passed out on the floor of my High School I set out this morning in the cool 10 degree air. The wind made our progress feel slow but, before I knew it we had passed the 70 km mark and the pace of the day began to pick up. The kaleidoscope of vibrant colours in the scenery around me was nearly too much. Perhaps it was the fact that we have not seen the sun much in our travels this last week what with all the rain we've experienced. Or perhaps it was just the unseasonly deep green of all the shrubbery. Either way I was breathless at the sight of deep blue skies, fluffy white clouds, deep green grass and the small of sweet corn growing alongside the road. 

Friends and family of riders from the area lined the route today. We had two snack stops as well as two or more groups of people cheering us on with banners and signs from the side of the road. Couples with the Timmy's coffee, who knew none of the riders and just wanted to cheer us on, sat alongside giving us encouragement.

The weather, although it started out chilly, warmed. With the warm sun and cooling north wind, today was perfect weather for riding.

John and I amused ourselves by discussing various topics. Now it is quite difficult to hold a conversation while biking- particularly if there's wind - because of the resulting whistling in ones ears. Well, you'd think we'd learn our lesson and just not talk, but every so often a comment must be made about various landmarks or even body parts that need to be told to shut up. Invariably, I'd see John's mouth move and have no idea what he said. I would reply with, "I can't hear you!" and he'd repeat himself. At this point I'd catch every other word and be able to piece together what he had said. All our conversations were conducted that way and, when you're tired, it can get kind of frustrating!

My favourite conversation for the day was about how it would be to ride our bikes if we were missing a limb. That conversation progressed to what it would be like to be blind and riding a bike. Naturally, this progressed to John closing his eyes and telling me to direct him as he pedaled down the road. Of course he didn't wait for my reply and me, not knowing if his eyes were open or closed due to his sunglasses, immediately commenced directions to keep him from crashing. My directions of "right," "left," "really right!," and "you're in the left lane" seemed to keep him going somewhat in a straight line. Only twice did he nearly wipe out as he rode off the road and into the gravel. When passed shortly after our game by Jake and Rick who had been following for awhile, they commented, "John's all over the road!" 

"Naturally," I said, "John's riding with his eyes closed." They didn't comment...It seems that they are well versed in our shenanigans. 

For the first time in two days I arrived in camp at my normal time and am now able to find the time to catch up on blogging as well as get come stretching in AND a nap! As the days have turned into weeks I have found my body gradually tiring. It seems as the kilometers add up, my body is slowly becoming less and less able to replenish its energy reserves. I perpetually feel tired in the morning. My only conclusion is that the body was not built to ride a bike six days a week without proper sleep or nutrition. I am excited that we still have two weeks left of tour, but my body is also becoming thankful that there is only two weeks left. I will miss everyone here, but my muscles (and butt) will be more than ready for a change in pace.

Waiting at customs to get into Canada!
Helmet head after a day of rain
Our Sarnia welcome sign being put to good use at SAG #3 today into Breslau

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