Checking the ditches travel blog

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Day ten – rest day


Before I get on with describing our second rest day of the Tour du Canada, I need to explain about a light at the end of the tunnel. This happened coming down off of Roger’s Pass yesterday.

On the east side of the summit of Roger’s Pass there are a series of avalanche sheds that cover the TransCanada Highway. The first one encountered on the way down is dark, completely dark. There are no lights in the tunnel; there are no wall perforations. Cycling into this snow shed is a test of faith: that the road surface is clean and good. When I cycled into the tunnel I could see the end a couple hundred meters away as a square of light. I could not see the walls, I could not see the floor, I could not see my bike. Even when a vehicle passed, its light was absorbed and hardly illuminated anything. Maybe the walls are painted black. And here I am going at 35 kph when I entered and accelerating because the road is going down. Hold on, aim for the light and hope there’s no detris on the road surface.

The road surface was smooth – where I rode. No rider hit anything going through the tunnel. Some of them accelerated, moved to the centre and got out as quick as they could. And the next tunnel down the road has lights and the exterior wall is perforated with windows. It is only a couple hundred meters separating the two. Hey, I’ll throw in twenty dollars for an extension cord to run from the second tunnel to the first. I’m sure other cyclists will do the same.

I slept in this morning, all the way to seven am. On rest days there is no crew assigned to meal preparation. The staff puts out cold cereals and fruit, and coffee drinkers make coffee. It is forage time. I found an orange to peel and consume.

At about 8:30, Old Bob O (obo) and I walked into Golden and had breakfast in a local coffee shop bakery. I had a more traditional breakfast than what we have been having on the tour. The breakfast was bacon and eggs and hash browns and rye toast and coffee. Obo had something similar.

After breakfast the two of us went looking for a pay phone. Obo had to phone home. We thought the local grocery store would be a good bet on a pay phone. We lost. There was a patron who directed us to the local laundry mat. As Obo headed off to the phone I walked back to camp to do some updates on my travel journal.

I set up my lap top on the camp table and tried to remember what had transpired in the previous days. Some sprinkles of rain chased me into my tent to compose myself and the journal. I would be in an out of the tent over the next few hours as I kept tempting the rain clouds. And the clouds would taunt me.

I took a break from the journal and started to clean and oil my bike. When I touched a pedal arm I noticed that it had a wobble to it. This was new. This wasn’t good. Grabbing the arm I was able to rock it slightly. There should be no rock. Same with the other pedal arm. It was loose. My bottom bracket was failing.

There are a couple bicycle shops in Golden so I hopped on the bike, sans helmet and gloves, and set off for a repair. The first shop looked at the bracket, looked around the store and said that he did not have a bottom bracket sealed unit that would fit. I was directed to the second shop.

The mechanic in the second shop looked at the bracket, measured it and said that he could have one in the store on Wednesday. I took the measurements from him and left the store got back on my bike, slunk off of camp to consider my options. Actually it was one option: make it to Calgary. I sent an email and voice mail off to my bicycle mechanic in Calgary and explained the situation to him. He wasn’t answering.

Back in camp I told a few people what was going on. Then I had to fend off their good intentions by explaining that there were no adjustments to be made. This was a sealed bottom bracket. It was either good or in need of replacement. Mine was in need of replacement. Unlike last rest day when I misplaced my wallet, this bottom bracket wasn’t going to come back to a new like condition. So hopefully it would keep rotating until Calgary, three days of riding away.

I spent the next couple of hours finishing the entries for the last few days of riding. There was no replay yet from my mechanic. The fall back plan was a bike shop in Calgary. Not to worry yet.

I rounded up Obo and we went back downtown for supper. Golden was strangely quiet for a long weekend in summer. Granted there was some shower activity going on but the streets were deserted. We parked ourselves at a local pub’s patio and ordered beer and food. There were no other outside patrons but the two of us; the inside wasn’t that busy either. When we were back in camp some of the other riders invited us back to the pub for the evening. I declined. It started to rain at 7:30.

I hid out in the tent for the next hour doing some reading. At around 8:30 I fell asleep but wake up at around ten. The patter of rain and the scurrying of campers as they open and close their camper doors keeps me awake for a while. Sleep is hindered also by the contemplation of cycling out of Golden with the rain coming down. Not a pretty picture.

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