Day 25 Part Two – Sesquecentury, plus tax: Weyburn to Souris to celebrate raising £5,000. After leaving the Subway in Stoughton, I had an inkling that I wasn’t going to settle for an ordinary day on the bike (as if any of these days are!) when all of you had made it possible to raise £5,000 for SOS Children’s Villages. Then I heard that some good friends were expecting their first child, which put a spring in my stride. Plus it was nearly the longest day of the year and the wind was set firmly at my back for the day, with or without the sun in tow. Right from the start after coffee it was a flyer.
- Today’s Distance (miles/km): 168 / 270
- Time in saddle: 7h 50
- Max/min temp (°c): 26°/10°
- Climb/descend (feet) : 961 / 1520
- Calories used: 10,795
- Cafe time: 1h 37
- And just for today, average speed cos I’m proud of it!: 21mph
My impulsive decision was to combine tomorrow and today’s targets into one big target, the town of Souris, Manitoba, as a tribute to the contribution of each and every one of you that has donated so far. So I buried myself in the task of clocking up the most miles in a single day that I have ever achieved. I can’t take credit for the wind though, which was my most willing supporter throughout the long day in the saddle, apart from one atrocious stretch where I had to head north for what felt like an eternity!
There’s a great quote from a hero of mine, Captain James Cook, in the ship’s log of his second circumnavigation of the world, where, in an attempt to establish the existence or non-existence of “Terra Australis” (fabled land below South America), he had the combined good fortune of currents, weather, sea-ice movement and a temperature window combined with his incredible navigational skills. He said something to the effect that he modestly believed no-one before and no-one in the future would ever travel so far south under sail to the Antartic again. And I believe his prediction still stands today. I channelled Cook all day, thinking how the lucky combination of the long June day, the incredible westerly wind, and the inspiration of so many bits of good news today, would probably not occur again, and should be grasped with both hands.
I was constantly hailed by drivers and everyone else with cries of “Hope you’re not headed west!” and such like. I have hardly a photo to share with you during the ride. This was a day all about riding a bike as hard as possible for as long as possible. I crossed into a new time zone and also into my next Province, Manitoba. I’ll really miss Saskatchewan, which surprised me with the generosity of the people I met, and the wide variety of its charms. I talked in the blog about getting my “climbing legs” after a few days, and the same has been true here. After struggling to adapt over the first days out of Calgary, I eventually got my Prairie legs, and even my Prairie brain! Coping with the long vistas and treeless miles is a special discipline.
When I arrived finally in Souris I set up my tent double-quick to get a swim in before supper:
Chilly air but lovely warm water, and a Lazy River where you just lie back and let the current take you round and round! My tent is just behind the red slide somewhere.
Now I’m at the town Deli having a wood fired pizza, a beer or two, and a big piece of Manitoba Buttertart with ice-cream. I’ve actually finished, and could eat it all again.
A couple of signs that caught my eye today:
And lastly, a What Is It, Sam? This beautiful but dead snake was helpfully twisted over to display its underside. I saw loads of roadkill today, some very large coyotes or foxes, a deer, a raccoon, but didn’t feel like stopping to be morbid.