In my last post, The Cyclist, I shared how in the fall of 2012 I made some big changes in my life and my commitment to ride the 500km YK2HR (Yellowknife to Hay River) 2014 event. So how was the ride?
Challenging but rewarding. The first day was great weather with very little wind. Unfortunately, that evening, both my legs cramped up so bad I felt like they were coming apart. That meant day two was exhausting: lack of sleep, sore, and for the last 60km, cold and going into a strong headwind. Despite wearing padded shorts, I started to get a sore spot on my leg that just became worse with every kilometre. I was so glad when day 2 was over.
Day three was cool and windy. We were told we would be going into the wind until the last 40km then it would be at our back and we would be going downhill. The weird thing was, no matter what direction we faced, we were always going into the wind! Even the last section, which was supposed to be a sweet downhill ride, was a struggle with the wind. I owe a debt of gratitude to David and Caren, a couple on a tandem bike. We took turns drafting for each other and chatting when we could. If it wasn’t for them, I probably would have given up.
The other weird thing, something I never noticed when driving that section of the Northwest Territories, it’s basically all uphill. If you’ve ever cycled on hills, one of the best parts of a hill is when you crest the top and it’s flat or, even better, downhill. What it seemed like was we would crest the top of a hill only to find another @%#$*@ hill. The only upside is, I think it developed some mental fortitude. Either that or I went crazy and I’m not aware of it.
As the day wore on, we had one goal: make it to the Hay River swimming pool before it closed. We arrived with minutes to spare – that was the best shower ever. Then we had to drive home! I couldn’t move for three days. I’m glad I did it, like a bucket list thing. I don’t think I would do a long trip like that again.
After I recovered, I started to think what was next. I have found it very important to have regular, short-term, goals to stay motivated and focused on being healthy. I had a bike, I was a regular swimmer… what to do, what to do? I decided to… well, you’ll have to check out my next post to see what happened.
(Main photo of Yellowknife area by Dick Duerksen)