I got back to Calgary early in April, with an option of immediately jumping in the car and getting out east in time for Tour of the Battenkill. Once I got back though, I knew that trying to pack my life in a few boxes and get sorted within 24 hours, to give me a fighting chance of making it out to the race in time, was unrealistic. Instead I stayed at Trev's, donned the winter riding gear and tried to train, while waiting for team bikes that were always arriving "in a couple of days". Eventually, enough was enough and we hit the road.
It turns out that Nick and I are not very good at road-tripping.
We should have realized after we took until 8pm to drive 6 hours to Redlands, when we had all day. Of course it would also just be a reasonable assumption based on my past history. After being led astray by Kelly the night before I left (although it did include my first trip to the Banff hotsprings and a wild deer sniffing my hand, outstretched more for self-defense than a gesture of inter-species friendliness) and one last ride in Calgary, I met Nick only an hour late at 2pm, and after putting a few things in the car, we set off promptly at 7pm.
Stop one was Regina, Saskatchewan, at Brad's parents'. His Dad came out, at 3am, to give us a guided tour of the house and generally being an excessively amazing host.
Although having two kayaks and a bike on the roof didn't help, we were only doing 100kmh on the highway, which would normally mean getting about 700km per tank of fuel. With the wind howling out of the east for the first time I can remember in 6 years of living in the prairies, we instead got as little at 370km! Yikes.
Winnipeg was our next stop, a meagre 6 hours drive later. Justin opened up his home, and even gave us a tour of downtown Winnipeg, including the largest skate part in western Canada? The next day we drove in the States for a shortcut to Toronto. We left at the crack of dawn...ok, 10am...stopped 2 hours later for a hour ride (which somehow took 3 hours), THEN we got some serious miles in...ok, we stopped for dinner a couple of hours later...then the rain and snow started, and I got tired, so we pulled in short of our planned destination in random tiny town, USA. Ok, the next day was going to be HUGE! Jumped out of bed at 9am, drove 5 minutes and stopped at a diner for breakfast....and so on and so on. Brutal. Nigel even lined up a place in Sarnia, seeing that we wouldn't make it to Toronto, but we didn't even get that far and opted for a $29 hotel in Battle Creek, Michigan.
Finally the next day we made it Toronto. God, it felt great to be back. Awesome friends, familiar surroundings. Missed catching up with everybody, but I'll be back this weekend by the looks of things.
Got to Montreal a couple of days ago, have amazing hosts here, and today found a place in a wicked village north of Montreal. Nick and I went riding there today and trashed ourselves, compensation for house-hunting rather than racing yesterday.