June 25, 2008

6/25/08 Rosetown, SK - Canada

190.7km/1734km

Definitely cold last night. I was in my liner sack inside my sleeping bag and I used my helmet liner as a stocking cap. With the 24-hour truck stop all lit-up nearby, it never really got dark. Even so, there were a ton of stars out. I miss seeing the stars in the city.

With the cold, it was a bit slow getting up and packed but I still think we were on the road by 7:30am.

The 34km to Alsask, just over the border into Saskatchewan, went by fast. But after we took a break at the gas station, a look over our shoulder showed another storm coming our way. So we jumped on the bikes and used the light tailwind to propel us away.

Our third Canadian province

Near Pinkham, we realized that the storm had crossed behind us, but we weren't safe yet. I think all the clouds were regrouping to take another crack at us later.

Even though our watches said we had reached Kindersly at noon, it was really 1pm because we have crossed into our third time zone (central time zone). Throughout our trip, we always see "Tim Horton's" so we decided to give it a try for lunch. I guess you could call them the Starbucks of Canada. Outside in the parking lot, several different groups of people asked about our trip. Like most Canadians they were curious and also very supportive. No "You're crazy!" yet.

Very different barns around here

Just as I thought, storm clouds behind us had regrouped and tripled in size and strength. It was like watching a blue-purple wave come hammering down on you. We had already done 94km but decided to see if the storm winds could push another 83km to Rosetown.

Like yesterday, we could see rain to the north and south. Even though the tailwind was light, the road was generally flat (but we climbed 266m/873') and we pushed hard as the storm closed in on us.

Wall of rain headed for Mike

It's amazing the motivation a storm can have on your endurance and stamina if you're a cross-country cyclist. We pushed ourselves to the limit, traveling from Kindersley at a blistering 28kph/17mph pace (remember that's with a loaded touring bike). But the storm was faster.

We passed the 100-mile mark (162.5km) near the town of McGee but we didn't stop to congratulate ourselves as drops could be felt. Mike is a much stronger rider and I didn't see any reason he should slow down for me getting us both wet so I told him "Save yourself and ride like the wind!"

Even though I was exhausted, I really didn't want to get drenched, so I pushed. The road swung us into a crosswind but the rain drops just told me to dip my head and dig deeper.

As the road straightened up so I could take full advantage of the tailwind, I sprinted into Rosetown. I laughed at the silly storm who couldn't catch us in 83km. It was so embarrassed by it's defeat, that it broke up and not one drop fell on us or the town.

I met Mike at the first gas station as you enter town. After getting a cold drink, I wandered outside to catch my breath. When I asked the young gas station attendant about campgrounds, I discovered he was from Scotland. "You're wondering how I ended up here in Rosetown." he said. He told me he's only been here a few months but he is supposed to be a father in a few days. He just looked at me and said it was a long story. It was the end of his shift so we said our goodbyes and headed towards the campground.

The campground is on the far side of town away from the highway. We can see farm fields from our tents.

Our route through Saskatchewan is a bit difficult because we wanted to avoid the major highways until we really have no choice. So that takes us through a huge chunk of the province with little or no services. For example, our choices tomorrow are 70km (44-miles) to Outlook or the next place is an additional +149km (+93-miles) to Nokomis. The way my body feels right now, I'm voting for a short day tomorrow, followed by another 100-miler all the way to Raymore. We'll see.

PS. We passed the 1000-mile mark today as well!