Home > Day to Day > Unleash the Winds of Wrath — Outlook to Craik, SK

Unleash the Winds of Wrath — Outlook to Craik, SK

Last night Nieka mentioned watching a film she downloaded on her iPhone. This may be the longest time I have gone without watching TV, films and plays and reading newspapers and magazines in like…forever. And strangely, I don’t much miss them, for the most part. And I also don’t mind not knowing which day of the week it is. Foremost on my mind, especially in the early morning, is ‘today’s ride’ – how far, what sort of terrain, what weather will we get, road conditions, how many idiot drivers will we encounter…

As scenic as Outlook was, I LOVED leaving it and its mosquitoes behind. Landen was planning on a late start so I set off on my own for the first time during this ride. Right from the start I was ploughing into a stiff headwind. “Oh well, life happens” was my thought. “This too shall pass.” I was riding in a low gear at a much slower pace than what I had come to expect, especially this early in the day. And then the clicks started.

Clicks. Rhythmic. One per rotation of the pedals, seemingly when the left pedal comes over the top. Emerging from somewhere around the crankcase or pedals or chain … hard to localize. And definitely not what cyclists want to hear — silence is much preferred!

I got off the bike – any excuse will do for a quick break! Inspected, tugged, stretched, rotated —  couldn’t figure out the cause. Nothing more to do but get back on and ride. But worried.

The road did not swerve much. Yet every time it did, the wind also shifted in perfect sync, always punching me head-on! There was one detour, to view the Blizzard Capital of Sask., and its 20 ft. Snowman. Then more wind-bucking riding till the intersection with Hwy 11 South. This is a four-lane divided highway. Speed limit is 110 kph, just under 70 mph. The shoulders are narrow to non-existent. And the southbound lanes are filling up with all manner of trucks and SUVs headed to Regina for the Sunday football game.

I am getting over-heated, tired, cranky and thirsty. The latter is because, for some unknown reason, I opted to fill only three of my four water bottles. “Not that long a ride … why carry the extra weight?” is how my thinking may have gone. Boy, was I regretting it now! With basically no place to stop and buy a beverage or food!

Headwind picked up. I am pounding the pedals and making about 17 kph. Then I start shouting: “You, you SOB wind! You just have to come from the south! East or west not good enough? Get lost, damn you!” Sounds crazy? Perhaps. But it provided huge release and relief. I repeated this act, using different words, several times during the next couple of hours.

Big sign for a Shell station. The ground is unpaved, gravely, filled with huge potholes. I navigate carefully to the store. Purchase a litre jug of Powerade and the biggest candy bar they have. Step outside, into a shady spot – there aren’t many of these. I glug down three quarters of the Powerade and then come up for air. Then I scarf down the candy. It does not taste great but I know it will give me instant energy.  I pour the rest of the drink into one of my bottles and leave the station, pedalling gingerly. Must be very careful when I am so drawn out. Several evenings ago I was tired when I went to retrieve my camping gear bag. I did not pay attention when I stepped on the metal deck leading into the back of the truck. My feet flew from under me and I landed, hard, on my back and shoulder. And later that evening, with a plate full of food, I almost sat on a chair. That is, I thought the chair was where I settled down. It was off to the side. I ended up collapsing to the ground, miraculously balancing the plate and not spilling a thing! And these two incidents were good reminders: be extra careful when you are tired!

Another bit of progress that feels sadly feeble. I kept looking back, expecting the rest of the team to come streaming over the horizon, catch up with me and pass me. “This isn’t a race”, I kept reminding myself. But the mind plays strange tricks at times like these.

I extract my phone and contact the supporter who offered to take me to dinner. We arrange to meet around 5:30. That gives me about three hours to reach camp, set up, clean up and meet her, and hopefully not fall asleep during the meal! And all goes well. The last stretch is steep and loose and I stand up on my pedals to refine my balance. I find our truck, do my things and am ready to go.

Lovely dinner at a nearby restaurant. This potential supporter is deeply enamoured with Nicaragua. And she has great ideas – for a business she plans to set up there, for giving back to that community, and for supporting SchoolBOX. I thoroughly enjoy the time with her and her older son.

Back to camp. A few minutes with my friends who are finishing their own meals. The sky, which had been bereft of any clouds just a couple of hours ago, is rapidly greying. When I spoke with Gay earlier she mentioned that the forecast for Craik was “thundershowers”. What? No way! Well, here they came. In a matter of minutes the roars of thunder and bolts of lightning shook the atmosphere. The air cooled suddenly. Rain was coming – now! I dove into my tent. Seconds later the sky opened up with a colossal deluge. I shone my flashlight at the tent’s ceiling and rain fly – they seemed to be up to the challenge. I crawled into my sleeping bag, covered my eyes, plugged my ears and dropped away.

imageHundreds of huge bales of hay waiting…and fermenting in the blazing sun
image20 ft. snowman in the Blizzard Capital of Sask.
image“Not politically correct” grain elevators (each carries a message, writ large!)

On the horizon a huge wheeled watering system. Yes, despite all the rains they still have to irrigate!

“Fueled by Equator coffee!”

Categories: Day to Day
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: