A big day should start with a big breakfast; 6 eggs, 5 strips of bacon, 3 potatoes, an orange, and a nectarine. Probably the most important thing for fighting the wear and tear of day-after-day riding is diet. I ate my mound of greasy protein and carbs, and then let it sit for 2 hours before I actually started to bike. This two-hour wait between breakfast and the first pedal is the reason I have to get up so early. I was up at 7am and on the road by 9.
Today I was cycling on the wide, smooth, paved shoulder of the Trans Canada between Victoria and Nanaimo. Very near the beginning of my
ride, I had my main challenge of the day—Malahat Mountain. I thought I reached the summit prematurely. The road appeared to be flat, yet it seemed more difficult to keep a high cadence in a flat-ground gear than it should. I was also still going quite slowly. I knew I was going up-hill. I just didn’t
realize how much altitude I was actually ascending. About 20 minutes after I
thought I had cycled over the crest of the mountain, I passed a marker: Summit of Mount Malahat. After that I had a nice 5-minute coast at about 60km/hr, and I was able to maintain a speed of about 40km/hr for a long time after that. On these long climbs, I have to stick it in a low gear, keep my cadence high, not push it—I’ll get to the top eventually—and most importantly, I need to not mentally deteriorate. In other words, I keep telling myself, what goes up, must come down. Start at sea level, end at sea level.
I cycled for 3 hours to Ladysmith, British Columbia, where I met a young woman—Joy—who uses a speech generating device to communicate. Joy, her mother Kathy, and grandmother Molly had come to meet me en route to meet and wish me luck. It turns out that Joy uses an auditory scanning system which is quite similar to what Kerr (my brother) uses. About an hour later, I had cycled into Pavilion Park in Nanaimo where members of the North Island Cool Communicator group greeted me with motivating posters.
The primary goal of Kilometres for Communication is awareness
and education. Whenever I meet people who speak with AAC on this trip, I ask them what they think the most important issues are. A fellow by the name of Kelly brought up an interesting point, which became an
important topic of conversation. He finds people stare at him a lot—often quite rudely. He wishes that people would come up and ask him questions instead of staring and assuming. Haleigh, a young woman who is a founding member of Cool Communicators along with Kelly, also had a problem with this response from people. What’s the underlying message for the general public who is unfamiliar with AAC? Don’t be shy. Ask questions if you want to know how someone uses that computer on their tray. Ask questions if you want to know how someone communicates.
Huge thanks to Jan, Rosemary, and everyone involved with the Cool Communicators! That was a lovely event. As well, a genuine thanks to
Taiga and Daphne for the West Coast gifts to inspire me as I travel across the country—an eagle feather, a homemade card, and a beautiful green rock from a beach, shaped by chance into a heart.
Again, it’s been a packed day. I’m up writing this blog way too late. I have to wake up fairly early tomorrow to get ready for our Vancouver bike ride. I did do an interview with a reporter from a local Nanaimo newspaper at our event. I decided not to mount the helmet cam today—time was a factor, and the road I was on was pretty boring except for a few scenic lookouts around Malahat. In addition, I don’t have photos of today’s event yet, but I will.
That’s all for now! Oh, and no flats and the weather was great, so that always helps.