I had the best intentions of writing up the stories of my cross-NL adventure and sharing them here, but life has been very full. I also found myself in a bit of a daze following the journey and did not allow myself the rest and self-care that I probably needed. I was fatigued and suffered from tendonitis of the achilles and my right arm. But time has helped and I haven't been on the bike so much, which is probably for the best, although it doesn't always feel that way.
Anyhow, I recently signed up for a month-long challenge on Strava called The Escape Plan. It's nothing too taxing - it requires you to do at least 25-minutes of recorded activity for at least 5 days a week every week in September. It seems like such a simple thing, and not really that challenging, but it has created a new goal for me that has me feeling quite motivated to complete it. Sometimes I really believe I get in my own way by creating extreme conditions that set me up for failure. With this, it's quite simple and very do-able, even on days when I am busy with work or the weather is bad.
I've also found myself hitting the trail for some running. Well, walk/runs at the moment, as I build up my lungs again and try to manage my asthma through what is probably the hardest sport for me. So far I'm really enjoying switching it up and feeling like I'm making progress. I'm enjoying the fresh air and feel like I'm taking advantage of the nearby trails.
For anyone still curious to read the reports, I did start to write them. I'm on day 5 out of 7 but still in draft form. I'm sure I will finish them at some point and will share when I do.
Turns out I am rubbish at ultra riding and blogging about it simultaneously. Go figure!
The ride was hectic and all-consuming. I managed some social media posts, which really helped build some momentum around the fundraising for Cycle for Sight. Smashing my initial goal of $2000, we are now a mere $225 away from reaching $5000 in support of research to treat and cure blinding eye disease! I cannot express my gratitude for all of the support from family, friends, people I met on the trail, and the online community.
If you would like to donate - no amount is insignificant! - here is the Cycle for Sight donation site.
I'm setting out first thing tomorrow to attempt to yo-yo across Newfoundland and back on the NL T'Railway by mountainbike. That's nearly 1800km and over 5,000m of vertical elevation.
I have a few more things left to tweak on the bike, and then hoping for a good night's sleep and an early start. I really hope this rain clears up before I set off.
In any case, the trail will be wet, rocky, bumpy and horrible in many parts, and I have no idea if I will make it. There are mosquitos and overgrown trails and large ruts from significant ATV use and lack of maintenance. If my bike holds up, and more importantly if my body holds up, it will be a crazy feat for me to accomplish. I am also on a tight timeline with some work commitments on the other end which will force me to push myself to make decent time.
So I thought while I'm at it, I would like to raise funds and awareness about a very important charity - Cycle for Sight. Please check out my fundraising page for more details about this charity.
My goal is only slightly more than $1 per kilometre, so if you think my efforts are worth that, consider making a donation towards a portion of my route and let's see if our collective efforts can add up to a significant donation.
I will do my best to just keep pedalling. I'm not aware of anyone else who has done this entire route self-supported on bike and all in one go, so it might even be a record...if I make it!
I will try to send some updates, and John will also post to let you know how I'm doing periodically.
Feeling very vulnerable putting this out there in case I don't make it. But, we won't know if we don't try, right?
If you're curious about the NL T'Railway, there was a write up in Bikepacking.com recently and the original cross-NL ride as far as we know was by Malcolm who is the go-to and you can read his blog Slow:Biker to learn about his exciting adventures on a bike.
On my fourth lap around the course today, I took the right hand turn back onto Toulette from Main Street and as I passed by the trail (which intersects the road) I looked to the left and saw none other than MY HUSBAND about to cross the road. What a coincidence!
I did a quick u-turn in the middle of the road and called his name. He stopped, now on the other side of the road, looking a bit disoriented. I went over and gave him a big hug. He told me to get back out there in the race!
I had been so conflicted this morning about whether I should just be on the trail waiting for him, taking some photos and videoing the momentous occasion, or whether I should do the race as planned.
Update 5: 1321hrs NLT
John finished earlier today in GFW at 10:36AM which brings his final total to 43 hours 10 minutes over a rocky and brutal 451.3km. Elevation was 5,041m which sounds like it took its toll, particularly in the final 100km. His Wahoo (bike computer) has him scaling Everest about twice, so the elevation is taken from the Ride With GPS app.
UPDATE 4: 0645hrs NLT
John is on the homestretch now! Heading towards Norris Arm, he'll be crossing over that trestle at Bishop's Falls before we know it!
It's very bad timing for me, as I'm off to a little 72km race of my own and have to leave shortly. Argh. Would love to see him in, but will have to settle for seeing him after the race.
That's how ultra cycling is, though, whether it's an organized race or your own adventure - it's always pretty anti-climactic at the finish. No crowds cheering for you, no fancy celebrations or medals. Just the pure satisfaction that you set a goal and you pushed yourself beyond your limits to achieve something that you weren't quite sure you could even do when you started out.
So proud of you John!! Cathie's cooking and baking are in your near future and there's a Crafty Radler waiting for you in the fridge! 😄
He's heading towards Port Blandford at the moment and he said the gravel is brutal. Piled high and he is just sinking in it. I know how hard that is...it really sucks! It's slower than anticipated, but he's still feeling strong and got resupplied in Clarenville.
UPDATE 3: 2100hrs NLT
Is anyone else feeling the itch to do a big ride now? I know I am!!
John has just called from Gambo! He loved the last section of trail and made really good time. He is hoping the next bit will be the same, but we will have to wait to find out.
He's just stopping quickly at the gas station and then it's onto Gander where he will see how he is feeling before the final 100km push through the night.
Bear in mind by the time he reaches Gander, he will have ridden somewhere around 200km today and that's having ridden through the night with only 2 hours sleep!
We are looking forward to seeing him when he gets here and my mom wants me to let her know when he's coming to she can get up and cook him a nice big breakfast.
UPDATE 2: 1800hrs
NLT John is continuing to make great progress today! He’s stopped for a burger and fries at Terra Nova and he must be getting on with it as I haven’t heard from him since he placed his order. Probably the best burger and fries he’s ever eaten ;)
Oh wait, just got a text. He’s off again and headed to Gambo on this next leg of the journey. Amazing job!!
It's going to be our first Canada Day on Canadian soil since we met, and it's going to be a memorable one. I'm visiting my family in GFW this Canada Day weekend and John decided he needed a bit more of an adventure. So he loaded up his Rocky Mountain hardtail (Vertex) and he is biking the 447km along the T'Railway to meet me here.