June 18th & 19th: Tired but motivated
Up and down, up and down, I feel like a yo-yo or a boat in stormy seas. The Nova Scotia roads are strikingly similar to the wavy coastline they run along. Constant rolling hills make my legs burn and my lungs ache with every passing kilometer. I am glad that I have had all my training and three months of hard conditioning before tackling these roads. None of the hills are long but what they lack in size they make up for in number and grades.
The hills are worth it though as every crest brings me one step closer to my goal. For the last two days I have been riding with the taste and smell of sea air and today I spent the entire day riding right next to the ocean. The next six day only carry me east a short distance but I get one more province and I can truly say I have gone from west to east across the entire country.
I apologize for another combined update, I know that I should be writing everyday but the last couple of days have been full of fun and adventure, so I’m afraid I have been neglectful.
I will start you off on the morning of my ride to Halifax. It was a morning full of promise, the sky was overcast but with a glow of sun that made me think I had clear sailing for the day. I had a wonderful presentation to a great group of young students from LE Shaw Elementary and then set off with the capital in my sights.
My high spirits lasted for about he first hour of the ride. I was battling a strong head wind, but at this point I just expect that so I don’t even really mind anymore. Right around the thirty km mark I crested the top of a particularly long hill and found myself in a rather ominous cloudbank. The rain started on the downhill side, rapidly picking up to a strong drizzle and getting me nice and wet for the remainder of the day. For those of you who have been following the tour on a regular basis you will know that I am still feeling all right at this point. Rain I only uncomfortable for the first couple of minutes until the water heats up on your body and then it can actually be quite nice. The only real problems started at the crest of the next hill when the first of the lightning started.
Within minutes I was in the midst of a full-blown thunderstorm and wishing I was just about anywhere else on the planet. Luckily, My mom was close by with the van and I when running for cover like a dog with its tail between its legs. At points the rain was coming down so hard that traffic on the highway came to a standstill and water covered the road surface a good inch deep. Fork lightning and thunder were coming together with no discernable time delay and I figured I would have to be crazy to even attempt to ride in that weather. Needless to say I opted for a long lunch and sat out the storm.
As fate would have it the worst of the storm blew itself out in about an hour and I was back on the road; although it was still raining. I am just going to take a minute here to tell you how great it is to ride in the rain, and it is for one reason and one reason only. The looks I get from drivers when they go by me make any level of discomfort worth it. I am amazed there are not more accidents as drivers stare in disbelief at the crazy road rider pedaling along with the big grin on his face. The looks rang form pure shock, to awed wonder, to grave concern as they ask themselves if they should offer me a ride or call the loony bin to take me away. I actually had one lady at a stop light ask me if I was crazy and why on “god’s green earth” would I be out biking in that weather; I was in a bit of a mischievous mood so I promptly replied “my showers broken, this just seemed logical” and rode away leaving her looking even more confused.
We were welcomed to Halifax by another wonderful member of the CAHPERD family (is it just me or is everyone involved with phys ed just really wonderful people) who offered us free parking, and a warm comfy place to call home for the night. With me rapidly running country and the school year coming to an end, I am sorry to say that Halifax was the sight of my last school presentation. I am pleased to say I went out with a bang though.
Joseph Howe Elementary put together a wonderful group of students to welcome me to the capital. They were full of enthusiasm and were excited to hear about my journey and my message. Considering they are only a couple of days away from summer vacation I was just hoping they would be settled enough to listed to me, but they proved to be a great audience and even had some fantastic questions for me at the end.
After the presentation I opted to take the more scenic road up the coast to Cape Breton. I don’t think I actually had much of a choice because the only other road is another no biking freeway, but it turned out to be the better way anyway. A nice lack of traffic and good pavement allowed me to enjoy the amazing scenery that the coast has to offer. Classic picturesque east coast towns dot the route, with wonderful B&Bs, Fisheries, and roadside seafood joints around every corner. The clouds cleared and there was a cool breeze coming off the water, making it a wonderful day for riding.
Activity tip: It is not a coincidence that active people tend to be happy and friendly. Exercise has all kinds of positive effects that help to improve self-esteem and mood, not the least of which is the release of endorphins in your brain (natures happy drug). In fact regular activity has been shown to be a great help with many mood disorders such as depression. So get out and get active, you’ll feel better I guarantee it!