We woke yesterday morning to a warm, overcast day in the Nation's Capital of Ottawa. We collectively decided that since we were so close to Parliament Hill, we should take a quick detour on our way to our last official transition to see the buildings since two of our group had never been before.
We had a few photo opportunities in front of the building and decided that we should poke our heads inside to take a quick look. Kathryn spotted a gorgeous hallway worthy of a team photo and that's how we met Bernard Ploufe. Bernard was an employee of Parliament Hill and when our second photo request was for him to take a picture of us falling on the floor, he looked at us with a grin and asked if we had time for a quick tour. He was on his break and spent it showing us the library which is now off limits unless on a guided tour and also the House of Commons itself.
When in the library Bernard pointed out the many levels of books accessible by staircases placed throughout the circular room. The floors of each level have been restored to their original state which was glass. You see the floors had to be converted to wood back in the late 1800's when women started working, as it was inappropriate for men to be enjoying the view from the lower levels when the women were on upper levels. The library was the only part of the main building that survived the fire of 1916 that destroyed the rest of the structure and that was because of the foresight that someone had to install heavy steel doors at the entrance. We all had a good giggle when Bernard told us a story about working security in the library years ago when they still worked a 24 hour night shift. His boss one night snuck in an alternate entrance with his shoes off and silently crept up behind Bernard and scared him within an inch of his life.
We hightailed it out of the building to get to our van and start our last team marathon drive. When we stopped for a coffee to take on the road, Gwen paid an extra long visit to the bathroom and Andrew indicated that he wasnt feeling well. Unfortunately our Red Deer, Alberta contingent was hit with the flu bug that was going around and they were both down for the count. We spent most of the day making our way to transition in Vermont with multiple stops on the side of the road for both Gwen and Andrew to empty the contents of their stomachs.
We had a few issues with the maps in Southern Quebec and the North part of Vermont and we ended up crossing the border at the wrong border crossing. It wasn't a big deal except for the fact that it meant we were now navigating ourselves across a series of farming community roads with which we were unfamiliar in the waning light of the day.
We finally made it to transition around 5:00pm and since we had been unsuccessful in raising the crew on the road on both radio and cell phone, we hunkered down in a gas station parking lot and watched the rain pour down. With two people in the back seat sick, the rain coming down hard, and no way to reach the volunteers or riders on the road, a frustrated feeling of helplessness set in. Finally we heard from the peloton that they were approaching the correct border crossing. The only problem was that it wasnt a 24 hour crossing and it was closed. Somehow when we planned the route we failed to double check that the crossing indicated on the map was the same one we called to set up our crossing. The poor folks had to pile into the motorhome and find their way west to the next crossing which made them late coming in to our transition.
With Gwen and Andrew sicker than Ive seen anyone in a long while, and under advisement from our wonderful medical staff, we decided that it was best to get them to a hotel as soon as possible rather than making them endure a 6 hour ride in the back of the motor home as we rode along at 25km/hr. The only challenge was sorting out how to get them to the hotel.
It was suggested that they pile into the Team 2 van and catch a ride with them as they were heading to the same hotel that we were planned to finish our ride at. For various reasons, it was decided that this wasn't a good idea and so once again our wonderful medical crew stepped in and solved the problem. Kevin and Diana piled our sick team-mates into the back of the ambulance and drove them into the hotel. Diana made sure they were comfortably settled with some anti-nausea medication and they headed back to help us finish our ride into the hotel.
The only part of this ride I find truly hard is knowing that you are missing some spectaclar scenery when you ride the night time shifts in the dark. We were riding through what appeared to be gorgeous thick wooded forests with amazing elevation gains and drops the entire way. The rain had made the pavement wet, the temperature was perfect for a sheen of frost on it and it was blanketed with a thick carpet of slippery leaves. None of us got to truly enjoy the downhills as we were gripping our brakes the entire way.
We finished up at midnight in St. Johnnysburg, Vermont and decided that we should have a team get together and finish as much of the food, wine and beer we've been toting around for the past week as possible. We had Kevin and Fred join us and sat in our hotel room until 5:00am local time. Im happy to report that the beer and wine has been taken care of and most of the food was eaten!
We are meeting this morning at 8:30 to start the last big shift of driving into Maine so we can get there in time to cheer in Team 5 and the Ambassador crew. I've spoken to Gwen and she and Andrew are both alive and feeling better and might even attempt to eat some breakfast when we meet.
We are all so excited to ride in to the welcome celebration tomorrow morning, I cant think of much else right now. Just thinking of all the people who will cheer us in makes me emotional.
I cant wait to see you all tomorrow and I hope to meet many of you who have been following our journey via this blog! Please come over and say hi, it's been so wonderful watching the facebook page and knowing how many of you there are supporting our ride. Its a heartwarming feeling to know so many people, lots of them complete strangers, are cheering us towards the finish line.
Powered by Coldstream Media