Today we slept in a little. We set the alarm for early, but didn't want to start cycling through the rain. So we woke up at around 6:30, saw it was still drizzling a bit, then went back to bed for an hour. We got up, got everything packed up, at the continental breakfast offered at the hotel (it was dismal at best, but it's exactly what we expected based on the room). Before heading out, we had to do a bit of bike maintenance, which pushed back our departure time to about 11am. My back brake was rubbing against the wheel, and when Michael went to loosen it, he noticed one of the screws was stripped so luckily we had extra bolts to fix the brakes! So it was fixed! But at closer inspection, we noticed that there was in fact rust on my new chain! Not cool! But after our bikes were all sorted out, we hit the road! The rain had stopped, although the ground was still wet. And we had a wicked cross-tail wind! We were averaging between 35-30km/hr! We busted through to Rosetown (which, we realized would have been BRUTAL if we attempted it yesterday with the wind, but which was nice and quick with our wind change!). We didn't stay there long, and went down the 5 for a few kilometers until we hit the 15. Saskatchewan looked much nicer without the rain! It was very nice and very green. It was a very enjoyable ride because it was fast, and the scenery was, although flat, pretty in a different kind of way. It wasn't stunning, but more of a peaceful, subtle pretty. The grass was very green, and the sky very large and blue. In BC, the mountains are the scenery. In Saskatchewan, the sky becomes the scenery, contrasted with the green grass. It was quite enjoyable! On the 15, at one point, I thought I heard my front pannier rub against my front tire, I adjusted it a bit, but as I did a gust of wind came, and I swerved a bit, which in a normal situation would be alright. However, there were cars coming, so to avoid swerving into them, I quickly changed directions and lost control of the bike (and not wanting to risk hitting a car, I heard Mike (the warden's) words go through my head: “DITCH!”). So I flipped over my handle bar (which has NEVER happened to me before! In fact, I've never had a real fall on my bike! I only ever fell from clipping in or out (while more or less stationary) when I was learning to use my clips AGES ago!). My helmet cracked, and I somehow (don't know how) managed to unclip and do a front roll of sorts (based on my lack of injury, and where my helmet cracked, my form was pretty good (I would like to think)! Must be a fluke or I'm just a pro-star at front rolls!). But in all seriousness, I didn't have a scrape on me! My helmet took the brunt of it! One of the cars turned back to see if I was alright, which was really nice! Michael checked to see that my bike was alright, while I checked to see if I was alright, and then we were off again! Being a giant baby, I jumped at Michael's idea to have a treat in Outlook (when kids get hurt, their parents give them treats, this was my equivalent!). So we stopped off, went to the grocery store, and had lunch/dinner, and then some ice cream and Saskatoon berry pie! (When in Rome, so we HAD to have Saskatoon berry something before we left Saskatchewan!). While we were eating, a cyclist (who we never got his name) came over to talk to us. He saw our panniers, and figured we were cycling across Canada. He did the trip the year before, and was very excited to talk about his trip, and tell us how much fun we will have on ours! When we were saying how much fun we've been having so far, he was excited to tell us it will continue all the way through! He said if he could, he would jump on his bike and join us! It was fun to talk to him! One thing he warned us about, was Manitoba. He said the roads were worse in Manitoba than anywhere else in Canada (even worse than northern Ontario, which has a bad reputation). And, he said the Manitoban drivers are the worst for giving space to cyclists. When we said we heard that Hwy 1, coming into Winnipeg was the worst section in Canada (our dentist who cycled across Canada a few years back told us that), this guy agreed. He also told us about Hwy 1, just outside of Medicine Hat, over the border into Saskatchewan. Apparently like 8 miles are completely under water! They are derouting the trucks (which is why there are trucks on this highway. Usually there aren't really any that come up this way). But it's a really good thing we didn't take that route! It could have been disastrous! The worst we had was a storm, during which, we just stayed inside! After a nice, long break, we hit the road again. We stopped just outside of the turnoff to highway 11, and camped at the side of the road (the cyclist told us he knows all the farmers from Outlook to the turnoff, and none of them would have a problem if we just camped out at the side of the road! So we did!). When we stopped, we were SWARMED with mosquitoes though! The rain from the past few days must be responsible! But it was brutal! We threw together the tent as fast as we could, and quickly unzipped the tent, threw in a bag, then quickly zipped it up again (and then repeated the process). Since we were in such a hurry to both get everything and ourselves in fast, while avoiding getting any mosquitoes in the tent, we unfortunately ripped the mesh in the tent. When I was putting in Michael's pannier, the hook on it caught and tore the mesh. We temporarily repaired it with duct tape, but will have to do some proper repairs when we get a sewing kit! But on the plus side, we had our longest day today (just over 200km!). We probably could have gone longer if we left earlier, but we were pretty happy about our 200!
Posted by Nicole