Touch down

Posted: April 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

Success. We made it. Ross and agreed that this is never a given. Everyone arriving, bikes and luggage in tow, this is a
victory in itself. I had nightmares about getting on another train in the opposite direction (ya, this happened), missing
my flight and rushing to the race seconds before the gun goes off… But we made it. The drive from the airport to the
hotel confirmed the craziness I imagined into which we would be immersed. Organized chaos of people driving,
honking, shouting and waving in a friendly smorgasbord of communication. Strangely functional, but you had better jump
right into the madness or you’ll be flanked by the masses and stuck going nowhere. Kind of like bike racing. At least we
have this on our side.

I’ve finally managed to find a place windier than Belgium or Sarnia, Ontario. The wind has been howling off the water
and pissing down rain sideways at least half the time. On our first ride around Casablanca we were:
-Blasted by the wind, rain and sand
-Chased by a pack of wild dogs (who fortunately seemed more interested in barking than biting)
-Sliced up a few tires and blew a few tubes 
-Cheered on by people waving and yelling and totally disregarded by others

Yielding to oncoming traffic isn’t really a “thing” here, so, we ride with our heads up and hands on the brakes. You
think traffic is bad in Toronto..

Our hotel located just outside the heart of the city and looks like it would be frequented by one of James Bond’s
villains. White stucco, colorful tiled floors and tropical plants accompanied by people smoking in the elevator. An
indoor mezzanine with a view makes me want to put on a suit and run around with a loaded magnum, jumping from
balcony to balcony in pursuit of villains, but I’ll save that for next time.

Things kick off tomorrow with Stage One from El Jaida to Safi, 154km along the Atlantic.

Updates may be sparse, internet is never a sure thing here. Appreciate your little luxuries of home, Matteo is using the
hair dryer on our shorts.

 

Casablanca Or Bust!

Posted: March 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

Last year I was pissing around, lost somewhere in Florida on my way to Miami. This time ’round, me and some Canadian boys are on our way to Morocco for what will hopefully be an adventure to rival the last. But, we’re swapping out the snow for some sand.

I’ll be writing up a few blog posts in order to keep everyone who has helped us get to The Tour of Morocco stay in the know! Many thanks to our supporters and to those involved behind the scenes. Without you our adventures would not be possible.

Braydon BourneÉmile JeanMatteo Dal-Cin, Conor O’Brien, Cody Canning and myself land in Casablanca tomorrow to kick things off. 

1600k over 10 days while rocking the Wheelers jersey once again! 

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Welcome to Miami

Posted: March 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Well folks, I’ve made it to Miami and gotta say I’m pretty damn happy about it. Apart from the whole- returning to snow- I’m looking forward to heading home but I’m really glad I took a week to ride down here. This last little jog  down the sun shine state has certainly been an eye opener. My view on Florida hasn’t radically changed- palm trees, old people who shouldn’t be driving, beaches, quiet living, etc. However, I was very unaware of the amazing culture and atmosphere here in Miami. For those yet to experience it, South Florida varies greatly from the north on a serious cultural and climate basis. It’s like the first time you visit Montreal where most people are speaking French and dressed to the 9′s and you think: “Heyy… this doesn’t feel like Lunenburg at all”. The Latin American influence and is huge and that really makes the city what it is and gives it it’s charm. And don’t get me wrong, the weather in Tallahassee is nice, especially for a Canadian, but it sure hasn’t come close to the heat in the south.

Oh ya, and I’ve been training my ass off but I’m not sure anyone really cares about that.

But, with the good comes the bad. And by that I mean there are undesirable consequences for a place where, everyone in the world would like to live. According to Wikipedia, with over 19 million people living in Florida, urban development is pretty massive and the resulting traffic due to everything being spaced out does not make for the best riding. Though, riding along the beach never sucks and the amount of bike lanes are actually impressive but they seem to disappear once you near the massive Miami metropolis. And, unfortunately bike lanes don’t really deter people from occasionally driving in them or feeling the need to shout insults as they drive by.

There are enjoyable moments however. Such as eventually catching up to a rich kid driving his Dads truck that honked at you and drove you off the road whilst flipping the bird, hiding behind his Aviators and tinted windows with country music blaring, thinking he would never see you again…. I digress.

Today I did perhaps the most intelligent thing I’ve done while travelling in a very long time. I actually went to the airport ahead of time and figured some shit out. Good thing because after getting seriously lost and then discovering that bike boxes are magical elusive things that no ones ever seen (try Walmart was he best suggestion I heard), I most definitely would have missed my flight had I shown up the usual 20 minutes before..Yes Mom I know, I know, 2 1/2 hours before..Minimum. 

Until then…

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Swamp Creatures Vs. Canadian: 1-1

This week I’ve been searching for swamp creatures and owning them like a Canadian Steve Irwin.

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Not so lucky was the Wild Boar. Years from now I’ll stick to the story that I took down this bad-ass with my bare hands. I have a reputation to uphold (Discovery Channel, feel free to call) and future grand children to terrify. So I’m leaving this one for the imagination. Christopher Columbus never gave away his secrets. Obelix and Asterix would be proud. Now lets rewind to yesterday.

Yesterdays ride ended with me bunny hopping a snake on the bike path before turning around to investigate. Upon initial investigation, the snake was dead. So naturally I went to pick it up for a closer look. The first poke he was stiff as a board. Turns out he was just playing me for a Canadian. I went to grab the sucker and Bam! Sneaky guy came alive. I got a nasty “don’t fuck with me” look and a shake of the tail. “If I were you I wouldn’t get my face too close to him” says the Colombian. If he was worried then I probably should have been running in the other direction. I decided this battle was best left for another day and let the little guy soak up the sun in peace (animal lovers note: I did save his life).

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Info tidbit: During the ride to the coast I visited the St. Mark fortress and was educated about the Spanish conquering the Florida pan handle before they all promptly contracted some disease and died. The ones that didn’t got the hell out of there because it was too hot.

After a bit of rest and planning my next animal battle I’ve been back at doing the hard stuff and getting ready to pin on a number. Apart from kicking the animal kingdom’s ass, I’ve been administering daily doses of leg burning lactic acid and face cramping tempo efforts. How is it March 3rd already!?

Pelican congregation at the wharf. Thought about catching one but that’ll have to wait.

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Rest and Recovery

Posted: February 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Since I touched down in “Tally” as they call it, I’ve been treated to some great rides, amazing prehistoric like landscapes, crazy weather (including torrential rain) and a heap of much needed rest. I also took this time to recover from an injury I sustained on the last few miles of my trip. Not a crash, or “over-training” injury as most people would suspect (ppffhhh). No, this was a superb attempt to catch a Frisbee gone horrifically wrong. Extenuating circumstances leading up to this event would only highlight the accident, but I’ll spare those associated with me and get straight to it. As I turned to make a sick grab, I made some serious knee contact with a metal lighting post. I did not make the catch…

This is why I’m a bike rider and not a football player. Oh and I am the size of a horse jockey but that’s besides the point. Regardless, I brushed off the sore knee and continued on. This injury, along with doing some serious reading/ research on diet sparked my interest in really getting the necessary, nutritionally dense, alkaline, anti-inflammatory (the knee thing) all round healthy foods we all need, but often neglect. And as an active person, I tend to thrash my body to pieces and should be kinder to myself (recover faster and stronger) with a bit of solid nutrition- as we all should. Lucky for me they have farmers markets in Florida mid “winter” so Jose and I rigged up the trailer and headed out for supplies.

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During my down time I’ve had time to assess my training and look ahead to 2013. I’m getting super excited and hope to pin on some numbers soon. Hell, I’m stretching… and I hate stretching more than doing the dishes. I’m even getting a little nerdy with numbers, heart rate values and all that crap. And for those of you that were placing bets on my fate, I should have my precise total km’s and route all mapped out by tomorrow. A total of 28 days, 26 of them spent on the road. (A few missing below- Google doesn’t seem to think anyone will have more than “Y” destinations in one trip!)

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I’ve gotta make this one quick, however, great news. I’m almost in Florida! After not particularly paying attention to where I was heading (other than south) I managed to log some serious miles without realizing that I’m actually less than 150k away from my final destination: Florida!

Tallahassee is so close at this point I can basically smell the crocs from here. And I fully plan on wrastling with one of the ugly bastards as soon as I spot one. Wooo!

More dialogue to come..

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Aside  —  Posted: February 18, 2013 in Uncategorized

Rollin’ on 700c

Posted: February 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

After my close encounter with death last week things have been looking up. I’ve enjoyed some great riding and warmer temps. Apart from one miscommunication with Google, I’ve actually managed to ride in a straight-ish line due south. My navigational skills have greatly improved over the last few weeks.

Being able to follow the sun is really helpful. I don’t really remember seeing it up North that often. An American recently asked me if our winters were “all dark”. I said yes. Now, that is partly true depending on where you live in our vast Land, so I don’t think it was too misleading.

For those that are “Keeping” track, After Greensboro, or High Point, NC to be exact I’ve stopped in Richfield, NC, Lancaster, SC, Clinton, SC, Edgefield, SC and finally Milledgeville GA where I put my feet up for my second rest day off the bike. My ride to Milledgeville was an epic day to say the least. In the end it was 175k and many stops for food. With those kind of days its more a mental preparation that gets you through than anything. Setting goals along the way and staying in the game. And when Google throws a curve ball your way, you can be prepared for the worst.

Hypothetical conversation with Google:

Me: “Heyy… Google. What’s going on here, man? Did I miss a turn??”

Google: “Ahhh… Well, no this looks about right to me”

Me: “Seriously!? This is a dirt path!”

Google: “oh.. I thought you knew”

Me: “Come on!… Alright, alright. No worries. Where’s the next turn off?”

Google: “yea.. ummm. This is it. No turn off. My bad.”

Me: ” I swear to God….”

Eventually Google and I made up. I was back on track after getting cozy with the Georgian red mud. I made it back to civilization and now only a few days away from Florida it’s a weird feeling. I guess I’ll be unhooking the trailer and doing some bike racing! Time flies when your having fun.

I’m looking forward to mixing it up and dusting off my sprinting legs. I get antsy just thinking about Mardis Lachine…

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