The 60th message from Canada: Report of stage #32

Published on 4 June 2015 at 16:36

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Since yesterday Michael has two cycling buddies:

"Last night I slept well, even though I heard six trains come through close to the backyard that blow their horns loudly as they approach every railway crossing. After I get dressed I see that the owner of the house has already picked up coffee and breakfast for us at Tim Hortons. Fantastic! We have our picture taken with him then we pack up our gear and write him a thank you note.


The first thing we need to do is to go back to the village to return the inner tubes of Sann’s bike because they are too thin. That does not appear to be easy but in the end we do get a refund. When we are finally back on our bikes we are really enjoying ourselves. The wind is more or less diagonally in our back and that is actually the opposite direction as to what it normally is. It's wonderful and much to our advantage since we have to bike about 120km to Brandon today.


The road is open and flat. Sometimes it reminds me of Holland which inevitably makes my think of my family. I have to be honest I just miss them. I can hardly wait for July 4, just one more month. Then, we see a sign that says Holland. We stop and I jump in the air but, I still have to wait. ..


As we're leaving again we see a transport truck without a car escorting it. The trailer carries an entire (small) house! It passes at high speed without slowing down. The shoulders of the highway here are wide and clean so that we can bike beside each other but we still have to be on alert for traffic.


After a while we realize that Dave has started to bike faster and he is sprinting away. I find that strange. Although, I know he got a message this morning that his grandfather passed away and that his family wants him to come back. However, that is not his plan. Certainly not since nobody in his family wished him a Happy Birthday or has even asked him anything about his trip. I understand that this is difficult for him. Nevertheless, to bike away like that without saying anything, I think is wrong. Since it is slightly hilly, every now and then we can't even see him as he disappears in the distance. Sann thinks this is strange as well...


At one point, Dave stopped at a rest area, but I don’t see him. I keep on biking and Sann even calls my name but I did not see Dave. A little later he is riding behind us again but he keeps his distance for quite a while; as he gets closer I ask how he's doing but he does not answer.

I'm annoyed because I wanted to take a break since I'm really pushing beyond my strength right now. The guys are faster and their bikes don't have half the weight that my bike has; and they are a lot younger. We decide, with Dave’s agreement, to stop for a drink in the next village of Carberry.

When we get to Carberry, I am not feeling well. I'm wondering if I shouldn't send the guys ahead. The reason that they are with me is because I get attention and donations. I also think that they really want to continue together, but I am being cautious. The money from all the donations even for food for the three of us is in my possession and nobody else's. Dave is taking up a lot of space right now and I have already spoken to him about that. Then again, I am also exhausted because of the fast biking we're doing today. Dave biked for half an hour at a speed of 43 km/hr and Sann and I did our best not to get too far behind.


After I've eaten something I take a break and lie down on a bench in the sunshine. The guys are willing to do anything for me and they leave it up to me to decide when we continue. It is not easy to suddenly be three strangers spending so much time together in 24 hours. It's a good lesson for me and I need to be clear about my boundaries.

We continue our trip and get back on the highway. The wind is in our backs now, which is great but I notice that Sann is getting tired. His bike is fine now but I noticed that he is wobbling a bit. Just before Brandon all three of us are exhausted. We have biked approximately 130 km. I am not the only one who is tired even though Dave is the most fit of the three of us. We go to have something to eat. I am sticking to my plan to stay in a motel tonight. It seems a good idea to keep my distance a bit and to get a good night sleep. The guys want to go camping.


Na het inchecken bij Motel Barney's gaat na een klein uurtje mijn kamertelefoon. Het is Dave: "Michael, zeg jouw kamer maar op en vraag jouw geld terug, want wij hebben een complete camper waar wij in mogen." Leuk dat hij belt, maar ik doe het niet. Laat hen maar even. Ik geef aan, dat ik alles al heb uitgepakt en ook dat ik mijn spullen wil opladen.

About an hour after I’ve checked into Barney’s Motel the phone rings. It's Dave. “Michael, why don't you cancel your room and ask for your money back, we have access to an entire camper to sleep in!” I think it's nice that he calls but I politely decline. I can’t be bothered. I tell him that I've already unpacked everything and that I need to charge my electronics. We agree to meet at the A&W in the morning. I just want to see where this is going. It is nice to be biking with the three of us but I don't need any overzealous promoters. We did have a good talk though..."


Han Schomakers, editor

Translation by Sytske van der Veen

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