The distance between Kenora and St-Annes is not crazy. It must be around 180 K. The problem is that while training in the months leading up to this trip I had used Winnipeg to Kenora as a proving ground. The problem was that both times I had attempted the Winnipeg to Kenora run, I had run into problems. it is my kryptonite. The last attempt had left me tired and exasperated only 20 k from Kenora. This day, however, would be different.
I took off from St-Anne early. The wind was not blowing in any direction so I looked at it as a blessing since it was not blowing in my face. My legs were pumping away. Mt ipod was still the only thing keeping me company and I started to become depressed. Not depressed because I was leaving home again but rather because I realised I had started to miss Downey. The fact that I started to miss that guy made me sick to my stomach and therefore depressed. Usually when I needed something to keep me entertained I would just look at Downey and say something like:
"You know what's awesome? Capitalism"
Or I would say something like
"You know what is great... Organized religion"
Then I would listen to my opinionated friend rant on for the next 45 minutes to an hour with his thoughts on the world and how it should work, and I would be entertained for a while. But now I was by myself. Facing my kryptonite... Kenora... All alone.
I changed my Ipod to some Gansta Rap. I thought if rap makes me speed uncounsiously when driving, maybe it will do the same while I biked. With no repair kit (carried by Downey) this stretch left no room for error. I was bound and determined to make it to Kenora today, but would my bike, myself, and my ego all make it in one piece?
The day wore on and I kept on pumping my little chicken legs (as Annique my sister referred to them, which they are totally not). The road signs kept me going: Kenora 88k, Kenora 40K...
I am going to make it! I thought, boasting.
"Take that Kenora! I am all that is man! No road can stop me!" I yelled into the sky while pumping my fists in victory.
"This is the single best day... O God No!"
And with that, the famillliar rumble of a flat tire began. And I put my head down and wept. Well, wept in a way. I mostly swore, I didn't really weep at all. I didn't have any tools to fix the tire, that was Downeys forte.
So there I stood, next to my bike, holding the staple that had suddenly halted my momentum.
"Who keeps dumping these staples on the highway! What do you want from me staple man? What do you want from me!!"
I grabbed my bike angrily by the handles and started walking down the highway. I was going to get to Kenora no matter what. I was only about 10 K away when the staple incident ruined my life so I figured I would just grit my teeth and keep moving.
I can appreciate the comedy of my situation. Here is a guy in tight shorts and bike shoes walking next to a bike, but for me at the time it was not so funny, and any attempt at humour was lost on me. At one point, I was passing a gas station when an older gentleman looked at me and with a big grin said:
"Beautiful day to take your bike for a walk eh"
"Beautiful indeed sir, haha" I had never wanted to kill a man as badly as I wanted to at this moment.
Finally, after two hours of walking and after getting a painful rash on my behind (TMI?) I made it. I stood in Kenora with a big grin on my face. No voodoo curse can hold me back. Not this guy.