What an experience!
I started out the day at my friend's house at the bright and early 5:30 mark. Let me tell you, me and 5:30 don't usually see eye to eye but on Saturday it was great. (Although I really don't want to see 5:30 again until next year)..
We get to the Deerfoot Inn and Casino at 6:45 and park my bike, grab a coffee and a surprisingly yummy egg mcmuffin sandwich. They put on a pretty great spread there.
I find my friend Janice, who I'm biking with and we chit chat for a bit. Contemplate life ect.. Actually we just try to wake up :)
8 am the opening ceremonies begin
Wow were they ever moving. There were a group of survivors walking down the aisle with an empty bike. You can guess what the empty bike means. Very sad. Very touching and moving. I cried, but I always cry..
We get on our way at 8:30. Sal thinks he'll be able to beat the first guys before they hit Cranston Blvd. It takes about 5 minutes to get there. He didn't. The first guy was wicked fast.. He made it to camp 100 km from the start by 10:15. Yikes. I did not. lol
If you don't know about Alberta, and I didn't, although I've lived here for almost all my life, it is flippin hilly here. Soul crying hilly. Long and gradual. Long and steep, long and gross. My goal was to try to make it up every hill without walking. The first day, I had to walk about 500m and realized that it was taking too much energy so I got my bum back on my bike and biked up. Slow but did it. Wahoo..
We made it to lunch in Turner Valley around 12:30. What a beautiful town. This is where my camera died so I have no pictures until camp. But let me tell you, it is one heck of a scenic place. I might consider finding out what property values are. I think it would be a great place to live.
Next up hills. A few more hills. A few more hills and then Longview. Sal was quite peeved that I didn't stop for beef jerky but jeez man I had more important things to do.
A gentleman who was either a friend of my parents or a really good hallucination, said you have one more hill and then its gravy.. He lied. It was all hill. But again, I got my bum on the bike and biked. Luckily there was a nice downhill where I got to 55km/hour. Scary stuff especially with the margin for error so slim. You had rumble strips and a guard rail and 13 inches of ashfalt in between. Scary stuff.. But that's what this ride was all about. Facing fears, kicking cancer's butt.
I saw a few riders hurt on the side of the road, which reminded me I wasn't in that much trouble. It hurt but no broken bones for Jenny.
Next up camp. You see camp in the distance and your ecstatic. The white tents aren't just a hallucination. You're done! Well for the first day.. The hardest part of day one, was the headwind going into camp. What should have taken 5 minutes took 10. All wind.
I managed the first day with a respectable finish time of 7 hours. I think I was 1200th to come in. Happy as a clam I was. Next year I'm going to break the top 1000.
Camp life was what camp life is. Except a lot more poop than in campsites. It was and is a ranch so lots of cows. Lots of pies in various stages of dryness. lol. Got myself some vitamin M (motrin) and a nice glass of wine. Waited for an hour to have a shower, but it was hot, so didn't care. Had some dinner, heard some more speeches and then the entertainment came. Duane Steele. For someone who likes Country music and not the teenybobber crap that usually comes with these types of events it was a welcome turn of events.
Called the kids, where Emily hung up on me.. You can see they missed me terribly..
That was day one. I need a nap just thinking about it..
5 hours ago