Wednesday, April 15, 2015
What some already had seen on the website turned out to be true: Michael had for the last 25 km a very quickly movement. His email made everything clear. Read the story about 'a very special day...':
"After a good night's sleep, I woke up around 6:00 AM. I can prepare in peace and I'm ready to go at 7:15 AM. First a breakfast. The cook just arrived and very quickly a cup of coffee and a delicious breakfast were ready. Before my departure I should pay my room and eating. At the bar a few envelopes containing donations for a smoothly my tour on Newfoundland are pressed in my hands. These are also for continuing my trip well. I was moved by these beautiful gestures... After a few hugs and photos I leave at 8:00 PM. The weather is exactly the opposite of the expectation. There is snow coming at the end of the day. I am actually in a nice pace heading for my goal, 115 km away. The climbs that I have to make here are sometimes very long, but not nearly as heavy as on the first days. Along the way, I enjoy the sun, the music on my iPod and the beautiful surroundings. I try to drink as good as possible because I sweat a lot when I’m cycling. That's because while climbing the wind drops off and the effort is large. Three liter a day seems to be adequate.
I eat for the first time at 10:00 AM. Actually I almost didn't stop. I would like to, but then I cool off too much and that's not pleasant. Every hour I eat bread. Brown bread, with Nutella or peanut butter (with honey). I drink lots of energy drink, because that works better than just water. Today I make my fastest descent with a speed of 67 km/h. That is pretty exciting. Fortunately, it is quiet on the road and the emergency lanes here are fairly clean. I feel that I get tired after 1:00 PM. Really from the inside out. Suddenly I realise that this still could be caused by the time difference.
The cycling becomes quite heavier, because I now turn upwind. At a small gas station I am approached by a couple of police officers. I have been seeing their car with siren passing by along my way. One of them said that he had seen me before and truned the sound off to prevent my ears. There follows a little conversation, in which one of them suddenly says something about a colleague who does triathlons and that he doesn’t think about cycling here now. That scares me... Is it really that hard?
After an hour of cycling I see that my rear tire is softer than normal. Fortunately not leak, but what deflated. When I want to fetch my pump I see that exactly the part that fits on my valve, vibrated away from my pump. I have a second pump taken with me, but that doesn't fit on my valve. Grrr... Not checked, because according to the seller this was the one I needed. Stupid... I will have to go on without it and get me a right one in Gander.
All of a sudden my iPod stops. That's normal after more than 6 hours of playing. The cables for charging, are in my rear bag and I decide to go on cycling. My average speed is around 10 km/h and I still have to ride for 40 km. After 10 km I get problems with switching. I switch a lot and use all 14 gears. I'm climbing and I feel and hear it crack. I stop immediately! What now? I dare not to go cycling any further. If this piece is broken, my trip good be over. All kind of thoughts are running through my head. Suddenly I feel how tired I am. My knees do also hurt. It proofs what this does to you mentally. Fortunately, I realize that and I refuse to think negative. I decide to hold a car. But... there are none. It takes more than 10 minutes before I see some lights arrive. Gee, just now ... On the island you see trucks and pickup trucks everywhere and now a small little car comes up. That's going to be the solution.
Fortunately, a little later another car comes up. I raise my hand and the driver pulls over instantly. I tell him what is going on and ask if I can get a drive to Gander. It's about 25 km. "That's alright, but not with a bicycle. My buddy is coming after me with his pickup. I'll call him. No problem." Moments later a huge pickup truck with a trailer, loaded with a... pickup truck stops. With 3 man we lift my bike into the bin. The men are surprised about the weight. The bike weighs over 18 kg and I have approximately 30 kg of luggage on it.
I travel with them in the first car, because there is no room in the pickup. So I am brought to Gander by two cars. On the way to Gander there is a snow storm. "You're lucky" they and probably they may be right.
I am dropped off at a hotel where the pickup truck can come and that turns out to be a good choice. I would like to thank them, but they do not want money for a beer, just in the picture with me... Thank you folks!!
I check in and go to my room. I decide to take a rest day tomorrow, even though I am already behind on schedule. I need to fix my bike, still need stuff to pick up. Tomorrow the weather will be cold with a maximum temperature of -5 degrees ,and a strong wind. After showering I skype with my family and my mother, I'm going to eat in the hotel. Delicious, good food here in Hotel Gander.
Before I leave the restaurant I have a conversation with a man who had heard that I’m the man that cycles through Newfoundland. He warns me about the danger on a few roads in Ontario: "Skip that part! Don't do that! Last year I saw how two cyclists lost their lives over there. The emergency lanes are narrow and along rocky cliffs. The roads wriggle and there is a lot of traffic. In recent years much has changed in terms of crowds. Don't go over there!"
The conversation continues and it turns out that we have many similarities. His aunt died of Sarcoidosis and he is impressed that I do this. "But that is not at all possible?" I tell him my story and that I have the acute form. Still, he is amazing. "This disease is killing. No one sees how sick you really are." I am quite touched by his response, because I recognize what he says. On my work I also have heard: "But surely you're not sick anymore?" Thankfully I can say that now.
The man gets his food and invites me to sit with him at the table. I shake his hand and tell him my name. His name is Michael too... What ..?! He worked at a major airline, but now he travels throughout North America with a big truck to make TV programs around major sporting events. He goes to Clarenville to the finals of the Allencup. The similarities in both our lives are just scary. He is 9 years older than me and from the same year as Terry Fox. He talks about his private life, that's almost equal to mine. We are both so impressed that we have not noticed that it is almost 9:30 pm and the restaurant has been closed already for an ½ hour.
We talk further about his and my journey in life. The courage to follow your heart and from there taking care of your environment and your loved ones. A very special encounter that felt almost like a conversation with my image. He would like to have a business card of my website and I get a nice donation from him. I am so impressed that I can sleep not directly. His words were special... It was a very special day..."
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Michael van Beek & Han Schomakers