Day 35: Kenora to a bit past Dryden 166km
I got out of bed, looked out the window, oblivious of the day and just thought, I should head straight back to bed. I was pretty exhausted from the previous two days of headwind yet wanted to complete my challenge of catching up to Will. I checked the forecast and it was calling for rain with a chance of thunder showers. I resigned myself that there was no point of delaying the envitable. It was only drizzling when I first started riding so I thought of it more as mist. This won’t be so bad. So much for the mist. Within twenty kilometres I was drenched. I kept laughing to myself how cautious I have been with money this year, and only allowed myself to make purchases related to the ride. I decided rain pants would be a waste of money. As I cycled in my drenched leggings with lots of mud on my back side from not having a rain guards, I definitely questioned my choice of where to cut costs.
At the twenty kilometre mark, I decided I would change my top layers as it had stopped raining. I think it was maybe two minutes later the downpour returned, causing me to be drenched again. You would think I would learn my lesson but maybe I just liked the first outfit better so sure enough after another twenty kilometres I switched clothes. Don’t worry this time I left these layers on for the rest of the ride.
I had stopped at one shop of little donuts and the women commented about how it was not really cycling weather and how I should wear a rain jacket. Well Ride Away Stigma does not ride only in good weather conditions and I was wearing a rain jacket. However rain jackets don’t necessarily work after many hours in the rain.
I did start to have some fun with the rain. I thought of my cycling outfit as a warm wetsuit. As long as I did not stop for long my body temperature would keep the clothes warm. I also found it entertaining each time a truck would go by and I would get a shower. I said to my mom at the end of the ride how it felt like I was being given a facial and the truck thought I was dirty. She expressed to me that I obviously have never had a facial because it does not feel that way.
During the ride I found I was feeling very reflective. I could not look around much as it was hard to see so I was not as distracted by the scenery. I thought about my presentations when I discuss my struggles. I have explained it as if there was this dark cloud over my head from which I couldn’t escape. When you are in the depths of it you feel as though you are drowning and could never possibly find a way to live without this cloud haunting you. I began to think of this rainy ride as a metaphor of life in that I know in the middle of the ride it feels like it will never end and I will never get to our hotel. At times feeling cold, low and wanting to give up. However, when I commit and take the first pedal to doing at least the 140km ride, I make a commitment and it gives me the necessary boost of energy. I turned the ride into entertainment finding joy where ever I could even if just for a moment. Like when I hid under the Inukshuk to escape the rain for a photo. I know that first step to escape your challenges can be scary but you can become the one that controls your future with support and resources. I had the support of my mom to prepare food for me so that I didn’t have to stop long at the side of the road.
Once we hit Dryden where our hotel was, I felt empowered. I did it. I just cycled 140km in the rain. So I decided I would continue with my plan of going ahead, to be able to try and catch back up to Will tomorrow. Knowing what I had already accomplished and not having the pressure to get somewhere made the ride more enjoyable. Since I also wasn’t feeling pressured for time I decided to stop on the edge of town at Tim Hortons. I have never had so many people stare at me before. I was waiting for someone to say something to me but no one did. They just starred at me wondering why I would be so silly to be drenched head to toe. This made me laugh and also excited to get back on the bike. As I cycled away a motorcylist looked back at me and gave me the thumbs up. I not going to lie it made me feel pretty hardcore.
I finished the ride at 166km. I was so pumped to have completed this ride and to think of it as showing how we can overcome uncomfortable situations and feel empowered! I picked up my bike and twirled around like a ballerina. Woo hoo.
By the time we drove back to the hotel I began crashing. I was getting cold, exhausted and hungry. I was so cold that I had to have a luke warm shower to warm up my body slowly. As hard as it was I made myself eat. I also realized that I needed my shoes and other items I don’t have multiples of to dry before another long day. I managed to get that all organized before crashing by 8pm. I could barely move by that point, I felt so warn out but so happy.