Dease are the Days
It's Windy and Wet

September 18th, 2014

What happened…

Andrew writes: It’s weird waking up and it still being dark out, but that’s the nature of stealth camping sometimes. In our case, we set our alarm for the usual 0620hrs, but then because we were a) camped behind the college and b) camped beside someones house, we tried to quickly and quietly pack up. I made the executive decision that we were going back to the Rumours Cafe for breakfast, and I was glad that I did. We reached the cafe and the parking lot was full. Oh oh, will we be able to get a table? Hey! There’s bikes here! Phil and Denise had told us yesterday that they had passed two sets of cyclists, first two ladies, and then us. We weren’t aware of any other people behind us, and also had no idea where they had seen them, so we didn’t think much of it. So it was with great happiness that I walked over and introduced myself to Esther from Simmer and Spoke. We spoke a few sentences and then I let her get back to enjoying her breakfast. I went over to our table and filled Amanda in with what I knew.

They had started in Anchorage and gotten as far as Whitehorse before catching a ride to Watson Lake and then Junction 37. They had done in 2 days what it had taken us 3.5 days to ride. Those must’ve been some looong days in the saddle! That was all I knew at this point. They paid for breakfast and left. Amanda and I got out breakfast, ate it, and then I went to go and talk to Esther and her sister Claire. They planned to cycle over 100km today (and pretty much everyday) so that they could get to Prince Rupert to catch a ferry before the 26th. It turns out that Esther’s other sister is getting married, so there is a big rush to get home.

Having already cycled across Canada together at some point in the past, Esther and Claire started cycling in Norway about 15 months ago. Claire only rode for a few weeks through Norway, Finland and Sweden, while Esther kept going for 15 months to places all over the world including Russia (her favourite), Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, New Zealand and Australia. This was her coming home ride, and her sister had rejoined her for the last few weeks of her trip.

The two of them left, since they had planned on riding pretty far, and Amanda came out. We got ready to ride and in short-order, were quickly tailing them by about 1km…then 500m…We reached the Arctic-Pacific Summit and saw the ladies stopped up ahead. From that point on, we spent the rest of the day riding, talking, climbing, talking, lunching, descending, and talking. It was great! Esther was a great resource to talk to about cycling all over the world, and I hope that she gets back out on the road again in the future.

Amanda talked a lot with Claire and found out she runs her own business designing and making bags / purses and bike accessories out of recycled bike tires. Urchin Bags Tres cool!

The riding menu today was an ascent from Dease Lake of several hundred meters to the top of Gnat Pass Summit, followed by a plateau, a descent of several hundred meters, and 8km down to the Stikine River. After lunch we immediately started climbing the South Stikine Hill which was 8km, at about 10%. With four of us chatting and cheering one another on, it felt so easy/wheezy! Then it was mostly flat or downhill into the village of Iskut. We said goodbye shortly after Iskut, stopping at the 90km mark and 6 hours of riding. Esther and Claire continued riding for at least another 30km I reckon.

I can’t stop thinking about how quickly the day went by with new people to interrogate. I really felt so happy today as I was able to honour a value I have around curiosity. Both Esther and Claire were so gracious in their responses, holding nothing back (that I could tell). Amanda was also amazing, as she really feels pressured not to be the slowest when riding in a group, and she stepped it up so that she was riding either beside, or in front of Claire. I felt really proud of her riding today on some tough terrain. I look forward to seeing what tomorrow brings.

Amanda writes:Our pack up today was super efficient; under one hour. Andrew helped pack up the tent which isn’t a usual part of the routine so maybe that helped. It’s funny that I’m even commenting on that as we’re trying so hard to not be ruled by time and trying to stay away from every moment being efficient. It’s such a hangover from regular life of filling every moment with something productive. In any event it was good that we were able to pack up quickly. From the time we left the cafe I could just tell that Andrew was going to try and catch Claire and Esther. He just had that silly grin on his face and was so excited to see other cyclists on the road. And while I really enjoy going at a leisurely pace I also was keen to try and ride with other cyclists too. When we first started riding with them I was focusing so much on making sure I was keeping up that I didn’t chat much. After getting into a groove it was better though.

Andrew is always the more talkative one but it was really easy chatting with Claire. As it worked out Esther rode up front with Andrew most of the day and Claire and I pulled up the rear. Claire was great to ride with and even allowed me to draft her every now and then. I enjoyed chatting and learning about her life and dreams. I’m always so impressed with entrepreneurs who have their own business and still take time for things like this trip. Another reason I really enjoyed today was having the casual conversation of women. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the company of both genders but women are just different. Add to that the fact that there are very few cycle touring women out there, at least that I’ve met. Chatting with women isn’t a pissing contest of sharing stories to see who did something bigger or better. Men can sometimes get into a circle of doing that and they enjoy it and there is nothing wrong with it, but sometimes I like to just chat about more chill things. So having that opportunity today was wonderful particularly with Claire and Esther who are both easy to chat with and seemed to relish the easy conversation too.

Today’s Photographs

Dease are the Days
It's Windy and Wet