Posted by: Silver | May 20, 2011

Drumheller to Airdrie

Distance: 119 km
Ascent: 914 m
Cycling time: 8 hours, 28 minutes

I knew my luck with the wind wouldn’t last, but why does it always seem to turn against me when I’m battling against gravity as well? At least the challenges of this journey weren’t unexpected: I knew my route was going against the prevailing wind, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that, if you’re heading back towards the Rockies, you’re probably going to be going uphill. I even thought I was prepared for the mosquitoes, but every time the wind dropped sufficiently (which, admittedly, wasn’t very often), they would crowd in, methodically seeking out any tiny chink in my invisible armour of repellent. Thus, when the wind wasn’t exhausting me by trying to blow me back to Drumheller, I was exhausting myself by trying to maintain a sufficient speed to keep the bugs at bay – all whilst covering my second-longest distance ever and one of the highest amounts of vertical ascent that I’ve climbed in any day that hasn’t involved a mountain pass.

I was quite tired when I got to Airdrie.

Fortunately, my engagements in the town didn’t begin until the afternoon of the next day. A wonderful lady who had read about my journey in the local paper arranged for me to speak about SOS Children’s Villages at her daughter’s school: “We’ve been looking at the values of enthusiasm, determination, commitment and service with the children this year,” said the vice-principal, “so if you could angle your talk towards how your journey relates to those values, that’d be great. We’ve got 600 students, ranging in age from 5 to 13; you’re on in 15 minutes…”

119 km into a headwind, followed by stand-up improv in front of my largest, most diverse audience ever: my time in Airdrie left me wholly convinced that I could quite probably survive anything now…

My first bit of climbing was back up out of the Red Deer River valley: it may have been windy, but at least it was beautifully sunny!

I normally get very embarrassed if I think someone's watching me while I take a 'comfort break', but sometimes, I just take a photo of them instead...

Ranger relaxing after his big moment at Ralph McCall school. It was all worth it though: at the end of my talk, the school presented me with a cheque for $500 for SOS Children's Villages!

Most of the towns I visited in BC had a Japanese twin town, but here in Airdrie, their twin was Korean; the commemorative 'twinning garden' still seems to be a consistent feature though

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