Leave With Me by Memphis
As I sit here on the couch in the living room it feels hard to believe that in less than 4 hours from now we will start cycling on our three week trip to St. John's. Yes, you read that right. I'm going to cycle 143km to Oshawa tomorrow on 4 hours of sleep - good start, right? Starting here in Hamilton has a very different feel to it than when Wade and I began in Vancouver. I can't quite place what makes things feel so different, but perhaps it will come to me at some point along the ride.
The last few weeks have been busy ones as Shantel and I have scrambled to get as much of the last minute logistics worked out. We now have a place arranged to stay in all, but two of the places we plan to crash (Quebec City and Moncton). We also both had a number of bike-related things to take care on top of work and other tasks. In terms of bike stuff, I had a number of things being delivered I need to get sorted out including getting my Cateye odometer installed, making some very crucial adjustments like shortening the stem on my bike - so hopefully, I don't suffer nearly as much hand pain as the last trip and also figuring out all the GoPro mounting stuff so we could mess around a bit with trying to film part of the trip. Thanks to my pal Andy Milton for some tips.
In the week leading up to the ride, we also made some significant gains in our fundraising efforts and thanks to the generosity of so many of you we're now only $545 dollars from reaching our goal.
This past week hasn't been all business though. Last weekend I was spoiled with two awesome concerts. The first which took place on the 6th was at the RBG to see my amazing friends in Dizzy play (Dizzy - if you're reading this thank you again for helping us get into the show!) Also on the line up was Donovan Woods, Dan Mangan, and the Strumbellas. The weather held up for Dizzy and Donovan Woods, but a thunderstorm ended up resulting in Dan Mangan and Strumbellas set being canceled. Dan Mangan treated us to a few songs in the parking lot though when the ran let up which was pretty awesome.
The next day Shantel went to work and I made my way to see Chvrches in Toronto. They were great as you might expect. The only downside was the incredibly intoxicated women in front of me for much of the show who could barely stand and was all over her boyfriend.
Seeing these concerts seems strangely appropriate given that the last cycling trip started with seeing some of my favorite bands. It also seems completely amazing to me given that I met the folks in Dizzy just one day after my last cycling trip and that now nearly two years later I will be spending the first day of the ride crashing at Katie's house.
The rest of the week we both kept busy with work and other odds and ends.
The final day before the trip I spent at work finishing up some boring data entry and planning for the fall semester. Sending one last email to co-workers reminding them of the adventure I was spoiled to get an influx of donations which was a nice treat. The highlight of the work day though was quite easily all the hugs and words of encouragement they gave me before the day came to end. Oh, and the other highlight also the vegan treats my co-worker Raelyn made - I could have eaten hundreds of them. Seriously.
While I was at work Shantel was doing some other last minute things (like getting a mirror for her bike)and also buzzing off all of her hair to be donated! I'm sure once she posts photos you'll all agree it looks amazing. I'm pretty damn lucky.
Once at home, I got to see her amazing new haircut in person before we set off to get our legs (and in my case my back as well) waxed. It was my first time getting waxed and it wasn't nearly as painful as I'd have expected. And if you're wondering why I opted to get my legs and back waxed before the trip the answer is pretty simple - it was something I've always wanted to do and now seemed as good of time as any to do it since we'd be outdoors for the next three weeks - not that having less body hair really makes any difference in helping to cool down. The truth is there's no fancy technical or specific reason for doing it.
After the waxing adventure, I took a quick shower and went out for my own haircut. Copying Shantel's new hairstyle I got it cut shorter than it's ever been and trimmed my beard short so I'd be as comfortable as I can for the ride.
After all of our personal grooming was taken care we were treated to some yummy food from Democracy from Shantel's cousin Melissa and her husband Eric. Melissa and Eric have been encouraging us and supporting us since we first announced we were doing the ride to it was really nice to share this meal with them before we take off on our adventure. They're heading off on their own adventure to Iceland soon which I know both Shantel and I are looking to hear about once we get back from our trip.
Once we said our goodbyes Shantel got straight to work on getting her things packed while I watched Mart (my co-worker Tricia husband) come to work his magic fixing our AC. I can happily say the AC in the house is working now and I'm sure Mike will be quite pleased to enjoy while we're gone.
It was around this time that Mike came home and came up to give his well-wishes (read: mostly laugh at me for being so unprepared) for the ride. His reaction to Shantel's haircut was priceless. We didn't chat too long though since he knew very well I hadn't even begun packing and was still trying to find some things... like my waterproof pants. Let's hope they turn up.
Once this was all finished Shantel realized she forgot to pick up the spare inner tubes we ordered online to a bike shop in Toronto and had her sister pick up from the shop for us. Luckily for us, Shantel's mom was willing to help out and went to get them for it. Given that they were the tubes for my tires I'll be especially more grateful if I end up getting a flat at any point.
Enough rambling for now though. I still need to finish packing so I should call it a night now. I also need to try to ignore this awful pain in my butt/back and leg (more information on that later) and get some rest so the trip can start off well.
Love, Peace, and Bike Grease,
Nate (and Shantel)