Tuesday, 7 June 2011
Well we did it - 551 miles in 15 days (including 2 rest days - fewer than I had planned!) pushing our pedals across the mountains, hills and valleys of Nova Scotia. On a chilly Saturday morning we slogged out the last 25 miles to cape Sable Island and whooped in an appropriately cheerful manner as we entered Clarke's Harbour, an eerily quiet little town.. so quiet that we had to turn around and ride back to the mainland to find somewhere to eat! But we stopped on the harbour and gazed out at the endless ocean and hugged and smiled and sighed with relief.
Looking back, my fears were well founded- man, it was HARD; but nowhere near as hard as being a kid with a chronic illness or a parent/ relative / carer, so a great big thank you to everyone who donated to Brigadoon, that was the inspiration for the trip and I'm glad we were able to send few dollars their way.
To everyone who said I was mad / crazy / insane: my feet, hands, knees, back, bum and aching, aching legs would wholeheartedly agree with you - but I'm pleased to report that my head and my heart feel pretty damn fine. Simon and Hoss have been absolutely the best support team anyone could ask for; my trusty bike, I can't quite decide if I love or hate, but its gonna have a good old rest for a while, that's for sure. Thanks for reading the blog and to everyone who said I could do it - against considerable odds, it seems you were right :-)
Monday, 6 June 2011
Camping on a patch of bumpy grass by the sea tonight courtesy of a nice old chap who sells delightful carved wooden ducks and loons, which we are thinking of purchasing tomorrow as mementos of our LAST DAY ON THE ROAD - only 20 odd miles to Clark's Harbour and the end of our little adventure!! But for this evening we were very content with chicken noodle soup on the beach and watching the sun go down over the ocean from our tents. Not a bad day's cycling today along another pretty coastline, relaxed enough to actually stop and take some photos as we went along. Hoping tomorrow is going to be another good one - looking forward to breakfast in Shag Harbour (?) before we head off on the final leg. Quite excited :-)
Friday, 3 June 2011
After a lovely night and fabulous dinner with our good buddies at the Croft House B&B in Granville Ferry, we reluctantly set off to tackle 38 miles of horrendous winds, speeding traffic and narrow roads, resulting in some long miles inching my way along the gravel hard shoulder, we made it to Weymouth where, after a momentary yearning on my part to throw my bike in the river and walk the remaining 100+ miles, we gratefully sank our exhausted butts onto lovely soft beds in the charming Goodwins Hotel. We could have been tempted by pizza at the 'Sissiboo Delight' but I guess it wasn't all that delightful as it looked long since closed, so we opted for the Weymouth Diner which served up fantastic seafood platters with much cheer and gusto. Back at the hotel, the landlady tapped on our door and told us to check out the nightly appearance of a racoon on the neighbouring chimney - hilarious!
The storm raged through the night but we awoke to another beautiful day and set off for Meteghan, a nice short hop of just under 30 miles, very pretty coastline and not too many hills. We actually did some proper sightseeing today which was a first - had a quick shufty round the biggest wooden church in North America, quite an odd setting being in a tiny coastal community.
So here we are in beautiful Cape Saint Mary and ready for two more days of slog to reach the end of our journey - I can sense the first giddy waves of accomplishment through the fog of exhaustion.
Monday, 30 May 2011
After a long, LONG day cycling yesterday, I was dead on my feet and would have happily pitched my tent on the highway, but luckily Si is a bit more demanding and pushed us on for another few miles until eventually he rolled into a farmhouse gateway for another stab at negotiating the corner of a field for our tents.
A truly lovely chap called Steve not only happily offered his barn and his field but then appeared with 3 cold beers and the offer of his 'cabin' instead. So we spent a very happy and extremely comfortable night in the most delightful little house in the middle of the woods; the boys went for a swim in the river and drank beer while I curled up in my sleeping bag in the gallery bedroom. Fabulous - a big thank you to Steve and family - may your organic farm grow and prosper.
Today the Big Fat Cry Baby Monster that had been galloping behind me for a couple of days finally caught up with me on yet another horrid hill, so I had a red face and puffy eyes to add to my patches of sunburn, mozzy bites and unwashed hair - photographic evidence of me on my hols will be strictly censored. My lovely husband force-fed me cinnamon roll and gave me a hug and my lovely son insisted on burgers and fries at the next fast food joint and hey presto I was back on some sort of form. Big milestone today as we reached Wolfville so we are almost on (second) home turf and due for a day off; just back from a boozy night at Paddy's and nothing to do tomorrow except sleep, eat and swim in the pool. Glad I packed that bikini after all :-)
Saturday, 28 May 2011
It struck me today that I have absolutely the best travelling companions a girl could ask for; my husband and son have been unerringly patient, cheerful, kind and encouraging; I'm a lucky girl.
Six days cycling done - quite a few more to go... But hopefully only 2 until our next day off -woohoo!
Friday, 27 May 2011
After a fabulous day of motel living (donuts, Subway, rubbish TV, bubble baths, mascot shopping -see pic!) and a bizarre encounter with a mad shopkeeper, we hit the long road south again today. Cool, cloudy, a delightful lack of wind and gently rolling roads made it almost a pleasure to be back in the saddle again and the miles flew by without too much pain. We are now slightly ahead of schedule, having stopped in Antigonish at a very nice student cafe for lunch and then pressed on for another few miles - today we tipped just over 200 miles in total - only 350 to go!
Had to ride a couple of stretches on the main highway today which was very scary and really made me appreciate the quiet backroads we are on the rest of the time. The sun came out late afternoon so another first being able to ride with bare legs; on the downside the sun has bought out the blackflies, so we pitched our tents in a frenzy and dived inside to wait for sundown when hopefully they'll naff off. Poor old Hoss went for a dip in the river before doing the tent bit though so he's been eaten alive!
I'm not quite so comfy in my tent today as my lovely inflatable mattress died on me so I popped into Walmart and got a foam mat, which stinks and feels about as bouncy as paper. But its warm, sunny and peaceful and I don't ache as much today so I'm pretty content with life.
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
It's Tuesday and I am completely wiped out. We didn't make it Port Hood yesterday - 60 miles against a fresh wind after 2 days of mountains was too much to ask of my skinny legs. We did about 40 before deciding to try our luck with some good ol' country hospitality: 'excuse me ma'm, we're doing this ride for charity and are dead on our feet-might we camp in your field?' Blank look. 'Of course we would pay you something..?' Umm... No.
Hmph. Fortunately just up the rode we found a handy little corner in the woods and out of the wind so pitched tents and hoisted our bag of food up in the trees a safe distance from hungry bears - we haven't seen any yet but we have seen tracks, moose as well as bear.
So up and at it early this morning, hoping to make up some lost ground. The sun was shining and the wind was not so cold, but boy what it lacked in freeze factor it didn't half make up for in relentless ferocity - we actually had to pedal to keep going downhill! All very wearing so we decided to aim for around 40 miles to the Canso Causeway rather than attempt the remaining 30 miles to Antigonish. My tiny victory today, apart from endless miles battling the wind, was to not chicken out of riding across the Causeway, which is windy (of course), narrow, with BIG trucks bombing across. I raced across gripping my handlebars for dear life and rolled safely off the other side - piece of cake. A motel perched on the bay was just too tempting to resist, I had the most welcome bath of my entire life and am now tucked up in bed watching cheesy sitcoms after a hot dinner and a beer, with the promise of a foot massage from my lovely husband. Bliss.
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Monday - this is going to be a long blog by the time I get somewhere with a phone signal! Yesterday we climbed McKenzie mountain - I made it to the top with only 2 stops at 'look off' points, and no walking-very pleased with myself. Then along the ridge through freezing wind and finally down the other side - oh and then up again, and again. By the time we hit the real descent I had frozen fingers locked on my brakes, so dug out a pair of wool socks for improvised mittens. Sadly but inevitably by the time we reached the iconic Cape Breton rollercoaster my legs did not want to play any more so I trudged up a few slopes before we finally rolled into Cheticamp and pitched our tents. A huge 'surf'n'turf dinner watching gannets dive in the bay and that was game over for me by 6pm-cue sleeping bag for me while the boys played with fire.
I feel quite guilty this morning as they both froze their butts off all night while I was warm and cozy (did I mention I am in love with my sleeping bag?).
But finally the sun is shining and although there's a cold wind we are all set for a 60 miler along the coast today to Port Hood. Pancakes, bacon and maple syrup for breakfast and away we go.
Friday, 20 May 2011
Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Friday, 13 May 2011
Sunday, 8 May 2011
Tuesday, 3 May 2011
Monday, 25 April 2011
Saturday, 23 April 2011
Monday, 11 April 2011
Friday, 1 April 2011
All ready (well almost - ok - not quite) to hit the road to London this evening for our Pedal Pushers Party tomorrow - yay! Today has been cake bake day - Welsh Cider Cake, Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes, iced Carrot Cake Cupcakes and Chocolatey Flapjacks - mmmm. And I haven't eaten a crumb, they're all going to make a few dollars for Brigadoon tomorrow, how virtuous am I. We have a few party picnic games lined up for the daring or slightly drunk, and even my two lovely daughters are now the proud owners of these pretty bikes so they can join in the fun - so I think that's a perfect excuse for me to take the gentler route along the canal to Lee Valley cafe with them, just to keep an eye on them of course, while my husband and son head off with the fit and feisty riders into the wilds of London for a bit of a stretch. Perfect.
Thursday, 24 March 2011
Sunday, 20 March 2011
Saturday, 19 March 2011
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
Tuesday, 8 March 2011
Big thanks to Thor at Druid Cycles and Lewin at Look Mum No Hands - we now have some brilliant goodies to help raise money at our London party on April 2nd - what lovely people! I went to see them both at the weekend and came away with a thoroughly smiley feel good feeling, not just because of their generosity but because it was so good to see two quite different enterprises put together so well - may you both live long and prosper! So - if anyone is looking for a bike with soul, get down with the Druids, and if you want some cool gear and some excellent spiced apple cake and café latte, Mum's the word.
Thursday, 3 March 2011
Sunday, 27 February 2011
Tuesday, 22 February 2011
Saturday, 19 February 2011
Thursday, 17 February 2011
Wednesday, 16 February 2011
Saturday, 12 February 2011
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
Sunday, 23 January 2011
Friday, 21 January 2011
Sunday, 9 January 2011
Saturday, 8 January 2011
- 2 man super lightweight tent (all for me - I need to wriggle)
- extremely lightweight but extremely warm sleeping bag - am thinking down rather than synthetic, as reputedly warmer as long as it doesn't get wet
- maybe some eVENT waterproof trousers - reviews say they are actually waterproof AND breathable, unlike the ones I bought last year for a cool £70 which are useless
- more cycling shorts
- nappy rash cream - no cycling shorts can be that good
- ibuprofen gel
- Make a list of who to contact to put the word out and get a spot of publicity
- Set up a UK donation website for Brigadoon
- Ask Brigadoon if we can call in on them on route through Aylesford
- Review the route map and work out where we'll be when in case anyone wants to join in the fun
- Double check the campsites
- Plan a fund raising / launch party in London
- sort out a bike rack for our buddy Chris to transport us from Halifax to Cape Breton / Clarks island back to Halifax