Saturday, April 23, 2011

Reprising the Reprise


Luckily for me I found the rarest of things in Alberta - a patch of shade to eat my lunch and rest under.  Sitting near me was a gal named Arlene and as we cooled off, we swapped stories of the tour so far.  She related her plan to keep her bike in her tent so that she could start whenever she felt like it on Sunday morning instead of waiting for the bike barn to be opened hence releasing all the bikes.  I explained to her that my hotel was right on day two's route and I could start from there if I skipped the free breakfast at the start line.  What I didn't tell her is that I'm so cheap, I wouldn't pass up a free breakfast.

After lunch, I met up with a strong cyclist - Anna, a yoga therapist.  We chatted for a while riding side by side until she suggested that for safety's sake we ride single-file.  Since she was so fit, it wasn't long before we became separated.  I next saw her when she snapped a picture of me riding into the rest stop at Gwynne School and being eager for some shade, I didn't pause to talk but simply found a cool spot near a shed to rest.  I did wonder if our paths would cross again on the tour.  With 2,000 cyclists scattered over 200 kilometers, it was highly probable that we wouldn't meet again on the tour.  Being as vain as I am, I wanted that picture!

We had all been warned at lunch about road construction near Camrose and it did involve a bunch of us being stopped by a flagman and waiting for the paving crew to finish.  When we were waved through, I could hear the pearl sized tar bubbles popping beneath my hot tires.  Anyone on a road bike had to be trucked over the hot asphalt because of the risk of their high-pressure tires exploding from the added heat.

It was a long single file line of us entering Camrose and I realized that I had probably made better time than last year when I had pedalled into this fair city all alone (the majority of riders already having crossed the finish line and were quaffing cold beverages in the beer garden).  As further evidence that I had made better time, there was a group of volunteer "Cheerleaders" shouting congratulations as I crossed the finish line.  Unlike last year when I came in so late that the volunteers had given up seeing anyone else ride across the line.

Once in my air-conditioned room, I put the next day's powerbars and water into the bar fridge, showered and then put on long pants, a striped shirt and a bandana around my neck in a lame effort to look "Western" for the themed banquet.

After meeting the rest of my "Teammates" at the banquet, our defacto leader "Stew Hutchins" announced to the group that as a team, we had raised $16,000.00 towards the cure!

Next:  Day 2....

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And Thank You!

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