Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tip to Tip - More Than Half Way to Somewhere

Saturday night I have the luxury of sleeping in my own bed. I took my bike on the bus back to Charlottetown as a precaution. Just in case I get no sleep, I want the option of taking the short trip on Sunday. It strikes me that my propensity to commit to something is entirely dependent on the circumstances and, perhaps, amount of alcohol I’ve consumed. It took me about two seconds to commit entirely to the idea of doing the Tip to Tip, but making up my mind about 40 kilometres of the trip seems a much more daunting decision. That being said, I knew even as I put my bike on the bus, that I would be doing the long haul on Sunday.

Sleep does not come easily in my own bed. I curse myself for thinking too much when I clearly needed sleep. Hurrah. I finally doze off and manage a good FOUR hours. The next morning, back at the Rodd we all pile onto the coach and made our way back to Emerald Junction. I plan to ride with Jen, but my impatience gets the better of me and so off I go on my own. I’m not alone for long though, as I fid myself in the company of Bob and a couple of other bikers. It’s an overcast morning, but the sun looks like it’s promising to make a breakthrough and the trail is kindly sloping down. Bob and I bike side by side, keeping a good pace until we hit the first snack break in Hunter River. Oh my goodness – I have discovered the second best cinnamon rolls on PEI - Kudos to the bakery in Hunter River, the name of which escapes me right now. Only Mary’s Bakery in Cornwall serves up comparable cinnamon rolls!

And then Bob & I are off again, climbing the hills of Hunter River en route to our lunch break in Winsloe. Bob is kitted out with an odometer and we clock varying speeds, depending on the grade. We hit 28 kph at one point, but then, at other points we are averaging about 18 kph. Oh, this is so much more fun than going nowhere on a treadmill at the gym!! We make it to the Winsloe United Church about twenty minutes after the service has begun. There are a couple of bikers already in the church, but most of the pack is behind us. We decide, after indulging in extra cinnamon rolls that appear in the back of the support vehicle, that we won’t be hungry at 11.30, when church gets out and the food is served. So Bob and I take off for the next pit stop, which is in Morrell. The sun is shining brightly now and we just want to keep moving along. It’s forty kilometres to Mount Stewart, where we plan to nip off the trail for a quick bite. The going is good, although I find the last few kilometres tough because my stomach is screaming out for food and I am rather dehydrated. Oh to have a camelback!

We stop at Josie’s Diner for lunch. It’s so typically a small town diner, with mediocre fare on offer and a church crowd leaving just as we come in, all sweaty and spandexy. About an hour later, with tummies filled up, Bob and I make our way to the trail to discover that some of the front riders have caught up with us. We ride as five, sporadically pulling. For anyone who is wondering – the trek from Mount Stewart to Morrell is kind of tough, thanks to a softer trail

We hit up the snack break in Morrell. A crowd of people is starting to gather – these are Adam’s friends and family. We are all headed up the trail a few kilometres to the most beautiful stretch of the trail, where a short ceremony will be held in honour of Adam Mermyus, a young man who rode the Tip to Tip and passed away in April of 2007 from an aggressive cancer. I think of Patrick, who counted Adam amongst his closest friends, and who is now in Korea teaching English. Patrick’s always had a love for living life to its fullest and that, I think, is the best way we can honour those who pass before their time – by realizing our dreams and giving every moment our fullest devotion.

That evening we eat well - a lobster dinner in St. Peter’s Bay Community Centre, followed by some great music by Chas Guy and friends. Extra entertainment provided by some of the Nova Scotia guys, most notably Ian whose dance moves rival those of the contestants on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’

Finally, finally, after a long day and fun-filled evening, we hit the sack. And I sleep a full 6 hours. It’s wonderful.

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