Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Markus: Kelowna to Merritt

We interrupt this knitting blog for a quick trip into the world of a crazy cyclist. Comments in italics belong to me - wife of said crazy cyclist.

ETA: All photographs courtesy of Jacek Kaim (official R2S photographer) except for the last one which is from Gladys' camera.

How did it go? It’s an easy question to ask, but there are so many ways to answer when “it” is a 23 hour day that started in Kelowna and ended in Delta and you spent most of the day on your bicycle. And this year, there’s a new way to answer, how it went compared to last year…

I got up before my alarm went off. It was about 2:08am, I was in a room in the basement of a church which on most other days functions as a day care for small children, but currently served as a dorm for myself and about 5 others. I turned off the alarm, gathered my toiletries in the dark and headed off to see which of the washrooms was available. When I returned, it was still not the 2:30am I had set my alarm for, but the lights were on and everyone was up and preparing for the day.

After breakfast, I brought my overnight bag upstairs and handed it off at the trailer. Then I went back down and brought up my day bag, the one which would be available at each rest stop which I had stocked with all the things I might need during the day. Then I went back to get all the items I was going to wear or carry to start the day and my bicycle. Its really strange to see a church with bicycles lining every possible wall. This is when I discovered that the two gloves I had set aside were in fact both right hand gloves. So out to the trailer and inquire of the volunteers as to whether I can get to my bag. Fortunately it was at the front only under a couple of bags, since they were attempting to pack the bags in the order they would be put out. Each rider has a number, your bag is tagged with your number, and at each rest stop the bags are set out in numerical order. While Tony took pictures and ribbed me about being “that guy” I was able to quickly locate the ziplock containing my gloves, and pull out a left.

After the mayor said some kind words and rang the bell, we were off. At 3:30am, we were leaving half an hour earlier than last year, and with a police escort right at the start, we headed straight for the highway, as compared to the previous year when we turned onto the highway shortly before the bridge over the lake. I was looking back for a nice sunrise, but it was a bit early, and the clouds were not cooperating. A quick spin, and we were already at the first break. Refill a bottle, a couple of things to eat, an “emergency” banana for my back pocket and I was ready to go on.

The road to the next break, takes us a little further south along the lake, then we turn inland to the west. There is a gentle rise, then the road makes a dip across a small valley, and we start up the hill to the Pennask summit.

The dirt road right behind the riders is a runaway lane for trucks going down the hill.

The next break is a chain up area about half way to the summit. I was wearing the same as last year, jersey, vest, and arm warmers, but had decided over the last hour and a bit that wasn’t quite enough. So in my 10 minutes, I managed to strip all the way down, add a wool base layer, put everything back on top, fill my bottle, and eat a couple of things. One of my busier stops.

Markus is in the neon vest on the left pushing the rider in the middle.

The next stop is just past top of the climb. I didn’t remember the road as well as I thought, so I was thinking, around this corner a bit of a straight stretch, and we’re there. And we weren’t. And the next half hour became a series of here? No. There? No. Shut up and spin. Are we there yet? Just spin, you’ll get there. So much of getting through the day, is keeping your head straight, and this was one of the times it got away from me.

The stop at the summit is extremely short, essentially just water and gear. The pullout is too small to accommodate the whole encampment. I added a jacket, and tights. From here to the next break, its rolling terrain at altitude. The jacket is definitely zipped up for the downhills, and things start to unzip as we go up the hills. At the next stop, I don’t add any more clothes, but neither do I take any off. As always, get a couple things to eat, fill the water bottles. Still haven’t needed to use the washroom. Some people say if you don’t need the washroom at every stop, you’re not drinking enough!

Caught drinking and cycling!!!

The next stop is Merritt, our lunch break, even if its only 10am. More rolling terrain between here and there, but the last few km, our following vehicles block both lanes and we have the whole road for our descent to the Information Center. I’m reminded by a ride captain on the way down to keep right if I’m going slow. Perhaps he didn’t see me pass him a ways back… perhaps he doesn’t realize he has the whole lane to my left. Water under the bridge. I move to the right, finish my rest, and when I’m ready to pump down the hill again, move left again and practice my tuck. Two lanes, good pavement, dry roads, an absolute blast. At the information center a police officer and his motorbike have the intersection closed, he’s waving us in, and a cheering crowd!

Markus is busy shovelling food into his face.

Monday, June 20, 2011

I lied

I thought that I could get hubby to blog a little yesterday but I lied. He spent most of it "recovering" (i.e. sleeping, eating a little, and imitating a starchy tuber on the couch). So the gory ride details will have to wait until I can get him parked in front of a computer. I did snag his camera and uploaded all the pictures.

Here is his sleeping pad the night before the ride - tucked behind the church's piano:

Hubby only managed about 2.5 hrs of sleep.

And his legs full of names:

Photographs from the day of the ride are slowly being added to Flickr. Please take a look. Hubby is rider #39. Here's one of him:

He's on the left in the neon yellow vest giving Graham a push towards the Pennask summit. It is a tough climb - 60kms (12.5mi) long with an elevation increase of about 1328m (4357 ft). And they're doing this climb from 4-7am. They're crazy but I love every one of them.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

he's home!

There he is rolling in (hubby's the big guy right in the middle):

It's 12:45am and we're home. Hubby is taking a much deserved (and necessary) shower and then I'm going to toss him into bed. Hopefully, the Advil will be kicking in soon.

More stories about the ride tomorrow whenever he wakes up.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

almost home

They're getting close. I can almost see them :)

I'm all packed and heading off. I've got a change of clothes for hubby, fresh towels, a thermos of hot chocolate, a thermos of mushroom soup, a bottle of Advil, and a few chinese buns from his favourite bakery. For myself, I'm bringing Gortex, my big rubber boots, and my cow bell! Yahoo!


Gladys is liveblogging over at the R2S homepage.

Here's a picture of hubby (leftmost with Al & Rebecca) looking semi-awake at pre-dawn o'clock:

Gladys is also updating a Twitter feed. The GPS tracker is up and running.

It's pouring rain at home which is supposed to clear up by this afternoon. I hope that I don't get soaked setting up the welcome in party. Looks like today's WWKIP gathering might be a tad soggy.

Friday, June 17, 2011

and they're off

I got woken up early (for me) this morning so that I could drop off hubby and all his gear. The things I do for his hobby ;)

If you are in the mood to steal valuable cargo, this would be the semi-trailer to target today:

It has approx. 80 bicycles with an average cost of around $2500 per bike for a total of $200,000! That's a lot of bike!

The Cops for Cancer van was shuttling riders/volunteers & gear from the overnight parking lot to the bus pickup area in front of Cap's Bicycles.

There was a lot of nervous energy as everyone checked and double checked their gear, bought last minute stuff from Cap's, picked up their rider/crew packages, and got their box lunches from Cactus Club (who kindly opened their kitchens at 9am and will stay open extra late tomorrow night and not mind when very dirty, sweaty riders troop through their nice restaurant in clompy cycling shoes to use their washrooms).

There is some very precious cargo in this trailer:

Thousands of crepes, rice cakes (the wet kind), fruit, desserts, salami, soup, chocolate milk (!!!), and other valuables are in there. Each rider will be burning about a week's worth of calories tomorrow so a lot of food is required to keep them going.

One last picture before Graham (rider & cancer survivor) and his daughter, Rebecca (her second time as crew) board the bus:

Good luck to everyone! I will pray for dry weather, calm winds, and a speedy ride. See you at the welcome in party tomorrow night.

Hey Gladys! Are the potties blue this year?

PS. Love you, honey. Can't wait to kiss your salty face :*

Liveblogging the Ride2Survive

We'll be on the road to Kelowna in about 45 minutes. I've packed two pairs of socks and a sweater to work on for the drive there. Plus an extra two balls of sock yarn in case I run out of yarn. (Hmmm ... should I be packing more?)

If all goes well with my technology, I'll be liveblogging the ride starting tonight, over on the Ride2Survive blog.

Here's a quick video about the ride and what we'll be doing as of 2:30–3 am (yes, AM!!!) tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

you rock!

Big thanks goes to the bidders and the winners of the scarf auction! Hubby is blown away by everyone's generosity.

We're in the final countdown for the ride. I have to make hubby a portable changing room (aka a towel with ties to go around his waist) since I won't be there to hold his towel. Hubby's washed all his cycling gear and started a packing list. I am very jealous of Gladys who will be part of the crew. I was planning on joining her but I managed to double book myself. I can be so studip sometimes.

Gladys will be live blogging on Sat and we'll post a link to the satellite tracker (updated every 10 mins) so that you can see where the riders are. If anyone is in town and free Sat night, we would love to have you join us at the welcome home party. We will be lining up along Scott Road in Delta between 72nd and 80th. Riders are expected to arrive around 10pm. Bring noise makers (I'll be the one with the obnoxious cow bell) and lots of energy.

Two weeks ago, I teased you with a picture of some singles that I was spinning on my new-to-me wheel, Marilyn.

Lookit what followed me home one day. A solid oak spinning wheel stamped "1978 W.J. Robidoux, Cornwall, Ont, Can". Isn't she pretty?

She has some amazing details. To keep the footman from falling off the crank, there is a small piece of leather held in place with a metal pin. Aside from some doggie teeth marks at the bottom of the footman and a speck of paint on the drive wheel that I can't scrape off, she's in pristine condition. She spins beautifully and I'll make nice yarn once I figure out the tension. Marilyn is my first double drive wheel so there's a bit of a learning curve for me. We're not very good friends at the moment but I'm sure things will work out once we understand each other.

Did I mention that I have an addiction? BTW, the wheel came with a box of stuff that included of all things, a pair of real sheep shears!

Might have to try it out the next time a kitty needs a trim. Come here, Ricky!!!! He's in my bad books today. I was ummm occupied in the bathroom and he came in and put his paws on the plant stand (ignoring my yelling) and knocked the whole thing over. He ran out of there so fast that he smacked into the bathroom door which bounced off the door stop and smacked him in the butt once he rounded the corner. While I was cursing and cleaning up the mess (the plant survived), I heard the door move and Ricky stuck his face in, eyes as big as saucers, to see the aftermath. I have replaced the plant stand with a different one that has a bigger base so that he can't knock it over.

I've been doing lots of spinning. We had a glorious Sunday and after we put up the sun shelter, I sat outside all afternoon (with my lemonade and jelly beans) and spun up half a pound of merino. Don't I look comfy?

Monday, June 13, 2011

your last chance

Today is your last chance to bid on Gladys' woven scarves. There are currently no bids.

Phoebe sez, "I bid one catnip mousie!"

Sorry, Phoebe but the Canadian Cancer Society needs people money to find a cure for cancer. But if they ever decide that catnip works/helps, I will gladly mail them one of your (unused) mousies.

Monday, June 6, 2011

the power of yarn

A very big thank you to everyone who donated!!!! Hubby is completely blown away by the power of yarn. With the funds raised from the WM auction ($175!!!), the current total is $1000! That is awesome! I am sure you are anxiously awaiting the draw results. Here are the winners (in no particular order): Katie H, Linda R, Debra H, Gail D, Hilary G, Phyllis C, Lynne R, Cynthia L, and Alice C. Congratulations! I will be contacting you via email over the next few days so keep your eyes peeled. You might also want to check your spam folder in case your spam filter snags my email.

There is less than 2 weeks til the big day (Sat Jun 18th) and the riders have completed their last big training ride last Sat (almost 200km). The final push is on to get ready. Bikes are being tuned, riders are making last minute gear purchases, food is being prepared, etc. And fundraising is no exception. We have one last thing to auction (technically, there's 2) to help raise just a little bit more money. The famous I-am-teaching-at-Sock-Summit Gladys and her loom have been busy making two scarves which she has donated. I am auctioning both of them this week.

The first scarf is woven from Noro Kureyon Sock (warp) and a merino/angora blend (weft).

The second scarf is woven from the oh-so-soft Knit Picks Chroma.

These scarves are the perfect little something for yourself or a loved one (it's not too early to start Christmas shopping). Or maybe you just want to own something hand made by a knitting/pooling celebrity ;)

To bid, leave a comment on this post with the amount, some method of contacting you (Rav name or email address), and the name of the scarf you are bidding on.

Don't forget that all donations $25 or over will receive a tax receipt that is valid in Canada and the US.

I'll close the auction at 8pm PDT Mon June 13th.

Thank you again for your generosity. One of these days, a cure for cancer will be found! I am sure of it. Have a good week and happy bidding!

Friday, June 3, 2011


Just a quick reminder that the WM auction ends tomorrow at 8pm PDT. The current high bid is $125. And the raffle also ends tomorrow at midnight PDT. The current fundraising total is $750. Hubby is going on his last big training ride tomorrow - 160km/100mi and it's supposed to get pretty hot. I hope he doesn't melt. Only 2 weeks left before the big day!!!

Today, I hung out with my spinning friend, Vicki and we spun a little. This is what I did:

The spinners who read this blog will notice that this flyer is not an Ashford one. More details in an upcoming post...