Dino's blog for mini adventures and endurance challenges
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Rocky Mountain High Part 1

June 12th, 2013 | Posted by Dino in Canada | Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

Day 10: Revelstoke to Canyon Hot Springs (38 km)

Short doesn’t always mean sweet.

Today was the shortest day of the trip at a mere 38k. But I wasn’t feeling great and the steep grade didn’t help as I slugged up towards the Rockies at my slowest speed yet.

Even though the muscles in my legs actually feel fine I was in a sore achy pain from my mid back all the way to my feet (lethal combo of period pain, old back problems and many miles of uphill). The back of my left knee twinged uncomfortably as I hit hard on the pedals.

The only relief from the pain was the gorgeous views: huge mountains all around peaked over the thick forests like chunks of frozen toblerone. Veins of melted snow tricked down the crevices in the mountain tops and reappeared as foaming creeks at the roadside. Today it was hot – almost too hot – as we ascended to Canyon Hot Springs.

Rocky and Monty start ascending the Rocky Mountains

Rocky and Monty start ascending the Rocky Mountains

The campsite here is a bit of a joke. Everything is so expensive. After a hot days cycling I was annoyed to find that the showers were $3, especially having just forked out all my change to do some laundry. So in protest I decided to wash in a large sink (a talent I picked up in the good old days of cycling to college) and rather than spend $4 on a dryer I hung up my soggy socks and undies on the signpost.

Yes that means I have actually washed my one and only cycling jersey

Yes that means I have actually washed my one and only cycling jersey

After popping painkillers today, feeling literally weak at the knees and the daunting summit of Rogers Pass on the horizon I am feeling a bit apprehensive about tomorrow’s ride. There are also some tunnels ahead on the way to Golden that other cyclists have reported as very scary. But who said cycling across Canada was going to be easy?!

Random addendum
Best bit of the day: having a go on Bryan’s recumbent (who’s Bryan? Guy who is cycling across Canada and back who rocked up at the campground later afternoon)
Worst bit of the day: watching Katie Wanderer slow-mo crash into a bed of poison oak. Ouch.

That's actually a neck rest above my head. I'm just that short.

That’s actually a neck rest above my head. I’m just that short.

For the (medical) record

May 7th, 2013 | Posted by Dino in Canada | Uncategorized - (0 Comments)

“Where are you starting from? Which direction are you cycling? What bike will you take?”

The doctor showered me with eager questions. None were, you might think, medically relevant.

I’d gone to the doctor to get some antibiotics and period-delaying tablets. Next thing I knew the doctor was prescribing Goretex socks and propounding the merits of cleated sandals in hot weather.

On the wall in his surgery Dr Bike had pinned a map of the world. Clearly, he is a man with a similar mind set to me as we both sat gazing at the map and seeing not political boundaries or time zones but past and possible cycling adventures. Impressively Dr Bike and his wife have cycled most of the North Sea Cycle route and so plotted a line of bicycle tyre from Norway to Barcelona.

“Imagine being able to look at that map and see a line all the way across Canada,” the doctor gushed, gazing at the expanse of green above the pink triangle of America, “and knowing you’ve travelled that line with nothing more than a bicycle and your own quadriceps.”

Having discussed the ins and outs of my trip we moved on to discuss medical bit. My medical record was up on the computer. Dr Bike started typing: “Cycling from Vancouver to St John’s!!!”

Yes, with 3 exclamation marks.

A smile broke across my face as I leant over to watch him type.

A medical record ordinarily details the mundane sicknesses and wariness of our lives. A life of pain and mild embarrassment. A life of ear infections, hypertension, vaccines, stress, sores, sprains and sickness. A medical record states that we moan a lot, get old, feel old, feel ill, fall sick, and slowly or quickly pass away.

With the thanks of the friendly Dr Bike, my medical record now wonderfully states: “I lived!!!”

Yes, with 3 exclamation marks.

Buttocks of Brick

April 23rd, 2013 | Posted by Dino in Canada | Uncategorized - (1 Comments)

“Your piriformis is like a brick,” she says while jabbing into my buttocks. The comment is intended as an explanation for why my back is wonky but I take it as a compliment.

I’d pedalled off to the Osteopath this morning to get advice on an old back injury that has come back to bite. Before she attacks my piriformis, the Osteopath hands me a large cardboard tube.

“This will hurt,” the Osteopath warns me, “so you can hit me with this tube.”

Argh! I let out a small yelp and tightly grip the cardboard tube as her elbow digs deeper into my buttock.

But as she’s twisting and stretching me back into position, I feel oddly chuffed to have managed to cycle so many miles that my buttocks have officially been declared by a physio to be “like a brick”.

Buttocks of brick. That’s practically the same as having Legs of Steel. Which basically puts me in the same category as this chap:

These Legs of Steel belong to the German sprinter Robert Forstermann. His father was an elephant and his mother was an oak tree.

But it turns out however that having Buttocks Of Brick isn’t very useful as it causes huge amounts of pain.

The word piriformis is Latin for ‘pear-shaped’. This is unfortunately apt given my ample thighs and the shape things are going…

Here I am, about one month before I’m due to cycle, with a wonky back. I’ve spent years (about 8 in fact) dreaming of this trip and many months planning it. I am not, repeat not, going to be stopped in my tracks by my own back.

Thank goodness the osteopath that I found was brilliant. Should I, the person sometimes so crippled with pain I cannot move, have to take the train across Canada?

No: “We’ll patch you up and keep you pedalling.” She says.

For what is the point of having Buttocks of Brick if you cannot use them to cycle 7500km?