Hostages in Cochrane
Podcasts & Poetry

August 16, 2015

What happened…

Andrew writes: Amanda turned 42 today, and unlike previous bicycle-tour birthdays, we managed to make it the whole day without tears. It helped for sure that we woke up to an amazing breakfast from Greg, leaving Cochrane with the sun shining and the wind blowing on our back. Greg even hopped on his tractor and gave us an escort down the road. All in all, he is an awesome person.

We are always telling people that our motto is “Always Forward, Never Back!” so there was some trepidation in cycling back down Highway #1A towards Canmore, which we had taken to reach Calgary two weeks before. The tailwind made the terrain seem pretty forgiving, despite climbing 200 metres over the 80 or so kilometres.You know what though? It was strangely refreshing. Things just looked different from the other side of the road I guess. There were lakes that I didn’t remember seeing the first time for instance. There was a campground we missed the first time too, at Ghost Lake. So maybe sometimes it can be OK to cycle back down a road we’ve already cycled before.

We arrived in Canmore after 5 hours and popped into a Boston Pizza for some nachos and a birthday beer for Amanda. Lucky we did when we did because the heavens opened and cold, cold rain started pouring out. I got word from our Warmshowers hostess, Sheila, that she was at home, so we made our way the short distance to her apartment. Sheila is a really cool cat.

Warmshowers is a hospitality network for people who want to host cyclists while they are out on tour. Sheila has really embraced this ever since her return from New Zealand, where she spent four months cycling. Despite advertising max. 1 cyclist at a time, we learned that she was going to be hosting the two of us, plus one other tonight. She showed us to the spare room and indicated she would be sleeping on the couch tonight; what the heck!?!? We couldn’t talk her out of it. She gets to sleep under a roof every night she says, so we should enjoy the warmth and comfort of a real bed while we can. What an angel!

The other cyclist, Andrew, arrived close to 2230hrs having started riding at 0700hrs. He is really remarkable, as he is currently attempting to set the Guinness World Record for circumnavigating the world on a bicycle. As a result, he needs to average something like 290 kilometres every day. Today for instance, he started in Revelstoke, BC, cycling 313km to Canmore, climbing a total of 3,100m in elevation (net +800m) up and over the Rockies. He left Vancouver 4 days ago!?!

Amanda writes:
Today started off with a wonderful gourmet breakfast courtesy of Greg. The breakfast ended up fuelling us all the way to Canmore without getting hungry which is rare for a cyclist. The ride was better than I had expected. Being that we had ridden in the other direction earlier and knew that it would be uphill I was expecting it to be harder. It was quite easy and while we had seen the landscape before, somehow this time it was different. It was a pleasant surprise to feel like I was seeing new things.

It rained on and off most of the day and at one point was quite a downpour. Then just as we pulled into the Boston Pizza in Canmore to get a wifi connection and try and contact our warm showers host, they skies opened. It was great timing on our part. We had a plate of nachos as that was my request for my birthday and we got to use up one of our last Canadian gift cards and then headed over to our hosts house.

Sheila was just awesome. By far one of the most generous and gracious hosts we’ve had yet. We were treated to a lovely dinner, wonderful conversation and a birthday glass of wine. I was left feeling like had our paths crossed under different circumstances we would likely be friends and hang out together. She was just so fun to be around and we talked for hours sharing stories. I was also able to call home to some family members and enjoyed some birthday songs from nieces and nephews. When one of my nieces asked me what I got for my birthday she made me realize that I had a roof over my head which was one of the best gifts. Sheila lives in a community where she gets multiple requests a day so isn’t always able to host everyone. I’m really glad she chose us.

After hanging out with Sheila for hours, Andrew (the super fast cyclist) finally arrived and we got to hear some of his stories too. It’s incredible to hear about his dreams and the ease with which he is able to tackle his goal. I wish him total success of enjoying his trip.

Today’s Photographs

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Hostages in Cochrane
Podcasts & Poetry