Day 12, 3 more to go!
I was out like a light last night. But soon got woken up by heavy rain on the tent and crows having a squawk-off from 4:30am. It was like squawk tennis, from one tree to another. And one of them poo’d on the tent!
I’d also pitched the tent on a slight slope which meant I’d slid down during the night, as had all my stuff.
After several failed attempts to snooze, I set about morning duties at 5:30am.
All of my kit was cold and damp, so I put it all in the sleeping bag to warm up. That did the trick, still damp but not cold.
I set the stove to boil the water and began packing up. Breakfast was a traditional morning meal of Macaroni and Cheese, the last one from my expedition foods. It’s my least favourite so I wasn’t sad to seen the last of that flavour, certainly not for breakfast. But nowhere was open at this time and I was hungry.
The tent was drenched, I got as much water off as possible but was still annoyed even those extra few grams would contribute towards hill agony!
I set off and made a really slow start, no getting away from it, my legs were sore. I made it to the junction to the main highway and Tofino and decided to drop into the Wya Surf Cafe, I needed a caffeine fix ASAP.
I got talking with the guy who owns it, he lost his father to cancer a few years ago and was right behind my ride. The coffee was just the ticket, I was gutted I’d already eaten breakfast, he had a superb menu! He also has a selection of hot, spicy sauces to could break records, about 30 on display and he said he has loads more! He makes his own too, a maple (of course) and chipotle mix. That sounded amazing, but at 8:00am ahead of a big ride, probably not wise to be sampling that stuff.
I really didn’t enjoy the ride today. It was stressful beyond belief. Not only were my legs painful, I was the most tired I’d been so far. But, the main factor was traffic.
All of those narrow winding roads against rock faces were coming up, but this time, I was on the side with even less of a hard shoulder to tuck into. I also had the rocky side too.
I would make my way up the steep hill and could hear the rumble of tricks but couldn’t tell which way from. It was a race to a section I could tuck into before a stream of traffic whizzed past. My refuge was pressing up against the rock or a tiny amount of Tarmac. That would allow just enough room for me and two way traffic. The problem being, if there wasn’t a gap, some cars try to over take or get angry and sound their horn.
I was forever starting and stopping, trying to sprint up 20% inclines before the next round of traffic. It was murder and made even worse when you’re blowing up and getting grief from drivers for holding them up. There wasn’t much I could do. Trucks would fly by with about 6 inches to spare if they didn’t couldn’t move to the opposite lane. When a tiny bike sized gap did appear, so did a selection of rocks that had fallen from above. Even more things to dodge and hope didn’t come down on me.
My legs were on fire. Cramps setting in, like someone sticking an electrode into my legs. This wasn’t what I signed up for with cars getting inpatient behind me. What was I doing wrong, I pulled in when I could. I put in a huge amount of effort to let them past when all it did for them was delay them by a few minutes. A whole lifetime and they beep their horns about a few minutes hold up. They saw the load I was carrying! Anyway.
After 8 miles of this kind of cat and mouse, I was struggling to keep it up. I was about ready to drain all the water out of my packs to make riding easier. I had a pain developing in my left leg, it started yesterday but didn’t bother me that much. By now, and because is pushed myself too hard too soon to escape being squashed, it felt like a sharp knife being pressed against my quad. It wasn’t a cramp type pain, so I toned down the effort to a crawl.
Even with a 2ft wide hard shoulder further down the road, trucks would fly past and suck you into a speed wobble with their backdraft. Every time I heard the roar from their tyres and engine coming behind me, I’d brace myself. They wouldn’t make any extra distance on a clear road and always seem to be travelling faster than anyone else!
I couldn’t wait to get back to Port Alberni. I’d had enough of traffic for one day and I was hungry. Burgers, chips, chocolate, kebab, sandwiches, pizza – I fancied just about every kind of junk food at that moment!
I arrived in Port Alberni at 2:30 and chowed down on a combo meal from a food truck. That hit the spot. I needed to get rested so ended up falling asleep for 3 hours, which I must have really needed.
I did 63 miles, 4,000ft today. Not a huge ride but was the one planned. The past 11 days really caught up with me today but I’m looking back on an amazing adventure so far. 3 days left and it will be over!
Tomorrow will be logging roads for 70 miles to Bamfield, I can’t wait to get there. It’s supposed to be a beautiful place. I’m also looking forward to getting off highways and onto logging roads again. Although much tough going, far more interesting and better chances of seeing wildlife. All I saw today was a dead snake and a mouse! Oh and those pesky crows.
Despite the stressful ride, I can’t complain at all. The scenery is just amazing. I won’t get to do this again for sometime, so I soaked it up as much as I could.