It is half past midnight and Lucy and I are tapping away to tie up final bits of admin before we head out on the road in the morning, leaving our new friends in Calgary for the road east. We are surrounded by panniers and bits of kit, enjoying the warmth of our host’s house ahead of the slightly(!) chillier climes of our tent.
The last few days have been pretty busy as we ready ourselves, divvying up parcels of medication and kit for the onward journey, sending now redundant summer kit home and getting bikes and pedallers ready to hit the road.
My squealy back and leg muscles have been battered into submission again by an Olympic masseur, Hercules’ prone back wheel has been coaxed into the best possible shape in the hope it will make the new wheel build in Regina (a few hundred km down the road) and Lucy’s bike has received it’s final pimping. We were also treated to a VO2 max test by the guys at TCR Sport Lab – a test where we pedalled at different workloads while wearing a Darth Vader mask to ascertain (among various things) the way in which our body burns fats and sugars, which provided some interesting observations and suggestions.
The original plan was for Lucy to have a gentle introduction to life on the road, however we somehow thought it was a good idea for her to ride out and join me on my final ride into Calgary. Being a through-the-night, into-headwinds mission this ended up being a 160km (100 mile) round trip for Lucy on her bike with no sleep. It was such a brilliant thing to find her snoozing in the lobby of a truckers’ inn at 2am, 80 km north of town. Suddenly the miles felt easier and riding along in the relative warmth of a Chinook phase, we rode through the dark into the dawn and the crisp blue of a sunny day in Calgary.
Meeting the WaterAid supporters and cyclists at Canada Olympic Park underneath the national flags was a very cool way to arrive in town and mark our time together. WaterAid is one of my four supported charities and having recently launched in Canada (as WaterAid Canada) made for a great teaming up. Expedition life continually reminds me of the importance of resource management and I have many tales to tell of not having fresh water, yet a lack of safe drinking water and santitation is a daily reality for thousands around the world.
And so tomorrow we head out as a pair. I am excited and a grinning Lucy has just told me she feels apprehensive and excited, too. We look forward to letting you know how things go.
And finally – turning left in the title? This is because Calgary represents the corner of my route for now, having pedalled south over recent weeks. Next turn, Winnpeg.
P.S Big thanks to local folks at TCR Sport Lab for their support in the bike efforts, Zoe and Maya in the errands, Chad and Laura in hosting us and WaterAid Canada.
P.P.S To donate to the L2L Charities please click here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=sarahouten
P.P.P.S Thanks for all recent comments – will respond as and when time allows. In answer to kit request, yes, I shall post details on kit at some point.