Category Archives: British Columbia

Sick on the AlCan

Hoping to briefly update the blog world.  

We reached Summit Lake on the AlCan, the highest point on the highway.   The drab flat scenery exploded into a curious assortment of bald mountains combed back by the treeline.  Teetering rocks and large columns of rock precariously penetrteep mountain sides, kicking little rocks down onto the highway and us.  Caribou seemed unphased by the endless stream of cars, but inevitably, king around the world.

In Ft. Nelson we heard there was a Slovenian passing through on a bike journey around the world.  We kept our eyes open but did not see him while in town. Before leaving we got lunch at a Subway, and Goat was accosted by a drunk girl from the Northwest Territory who insisted on giving him the NWT plate (shaped like a polar bear) she had stolen from somebodies car so that they could drive legally into town with a plate whose registration expired boldly in 2002.

       We found our progress was moving along quite quickly on the flat and smoothly paved AlCan.  I couldn’t resist the partially eaten Oh Henry candybar that I encountered on the road.  I greedily consumed the free 400 calories and tossed any concerns aside with the wrapper in my pocket.

      We got sketched out by the cars blasting by us in the darkness and set up camp in an isolated gravel pit.  We cooked up our usual dinner of oats, granola, butter, dried fruit, apples, etc.  All conversation ended until the meal was consumed and our mouths had room to let air pass..

    I woke up early and felt really weird.  Not just because I woke up early, which in of itself, is..rather weird.  But my stomach was surely not agreeing with some choices I made recently.  It attempted to settle the disagreement by expunging everything from my intestines, including what wasnt there.  As I celebrated the disagreement with dry heaves I was able to see the lovely dinner under a whole new light.

      The raisins seemed to bloat into grapes and accented the pile of oatmeal puke nicely with gold and purple colors.  Unfortunately, t relief.  I just lay in the dirt, in a fetal position wondering what I had done so wrong.

    I directed my problems at Subway, claiming the corporate entity had poisoned my meal and was attempting to sabotage my attempts to enjoy life.  I cursed their Where fresh is the taste motto and simmered in pain simultaneously attempting to keep a fixed gaze to maintain my delicate balance.  Just looking at my bike made me ill.

      We saw the Slovenian pass, but we were unable to mobilize ourselves to catch up with him.  I could see Seans nervous energy taking grip as he watched the biker pass.  Overwhelmed by the undeniably strong urge to continue, to progress.  Under normal circumstances, without the sickening delay, Sean’s mindset is generally present to a certain impatience that reinforces our momentum.

       As the sun began setting I felt like I could get an hour so in on the bike, and was becoming more sympathetic to Sean’s eagerness to move forward.  But was thoroughly wiped out without any calories to burn.  The reality of how vulnerable we are on these longer stretches quickly set in.  Being a couple of healthy days ride away from any kind of help becomes up to a week of unhealthy riding.  I felt betrayed by my body, convinced that I am healthier than this, I’d dare say impervious to illness.  I worked a year in a school district and did not get sick, despite the presence of hundreds of youngsters and all the germs they can collect.

       About 10 minutes into the ride we crossed paths with Rosie who is running around the world.  She hauls a trailer behind her, built by the British military, capable of housing Rosie and all her worldly possessions.     She is a delightfully cheerful  English lady who stayed in her tent while she chatted with us, offering us her wardrobe to keep warm.  We were dumbfounded and thoroughly humbled by her mission, having taken 3 and a half years already, she is quite the inspiration and loads of fun.

      Feeling energized by the interaction I thought to myself, that if she can haul that cart around, then I should be able to pedal my sickly self down the road.  I did my best, but my stomach was always teetering towards the inevitable session of dry heaves.  Having spent the last two months chronically hungry from over-exertion, it was an awkward sensation to not feel that yearning for food.  I hoped the short evening ride would inspire a larger appetite.

      We camped and enjoyed a beautiful display of northern lights.  I was able to eat a few spoonfuls of oats without puking and felt quite proud of my accomplishment.  I had high hopes for being able to ride a bit more effectively the next day.

       I woke up without having to puke and felt mildly hungry.  I was able to eat almost a bowl full of oats and felt confident I could hold it down.  The ride was painful that day as the flats bent up and down a bit more than I was prepared for.  I spent a good thirty minutes expunging a precious few calories from my caloric deficient body.  I did my best to get back on my bike and attempt to catch up with my fellow riders.

       I kept my head down and zig-zagged my way along the freeway, beyond exhaustion.  Each hill I told myself that I would take a nap on the other side, hoping my company would be waiting.  Soon, I approached the final hill that my consciousness would allow.   Attempting anymore would surely result in an exhaustion fueled crashed.

       Even descending the slope felt painful.  My legs refused to cooperate and my eyelids were holding up the weight from hours of riding.  Keeping a straight line proved challenging.  My riding felt more like a clumsy stupor more than anything else.  After reaching them, I threw my tarp down and passed out with my helmet on.

      I awoke hearing Sean asking Goat how many more miles we might be able to go that day.  I grumpily mumbled that he should let me puke the rest of my guts out and wed be ready to go.  After sleeping, I developed a bit of an appetite and was able to consume some more food and successfully hold it down.

       That night we saw the moon rising, a golden hue stretching itself above the mountains.  It disappeared into the clouds and reappeared in an artificial horizon, staged by the clouds.  They formed a pool of water reflecting the image of the moon below the strip horizon that played with the shape of the soft night light.  Pulling it into a oblong circle extending it’s light across the sky.

       Gradually, I felt better and was able to return to our usual regimen of biking.  My mileage is currently above 2300 miles.  We should be leaving this town today and finally departing from the AlCan highway with too much traffic.