cycletouring

Cancer Free Cycling

Two years ago yesterday I started this trip. I thought about that all day yesterday, and about how far I’ve come in two years. Not just literally (3,229 miles) but figuratively as well.

For those who don’t know, I found out I had colon cancer while on this tour in 2015. I started with stage II, which was aggressively treated with chemo and radiation. Six months later a follow up scan revealed more cancer. I was suddenly Stage III and required immediate surgery, which I had on June 9, 2016. I was in the hospital for a week and exactly one year to the day that I got out of the hospital (June 16th) I was back on the bike and cycling out of Fort Nelson, BC.

I don’t know what the immediate future holds for me, none of us do really. But what I do know is that time is compressing for us all and I absolutely will not sit around waiting….

Mornings Pan-American Trail

It doesn’t get much better than this. 

I’m averaging only 41.6 miles per day. That’s 25 miles fewer than my pre-cancer days. I’m hoping to improve that daily distance but if it remains only 41.6 miles each day for the rest of the journey, I should be in Ushuaia, Argentina sometime in the next 7 months. Hopefully there will be plenty of campfires along the way. I ❤️ campfires 😊 🚲

Wild Camp to Cold Foot - Day 3-4

Day 3: 
165 miles Total
I met Sara and Wayman from Texas today. They stopped to say hello. I had seen them my first day when they passed me on their way to Prudhoe Bay. We had both stopped to see the muskox. It was great to see them again and they gave me a couple of granola bars and a banana. Before we said goodbye, Sara said a prayer for me.

The road is gravel, have I mentioned that before? It’s pretty much all gravel. It looks like it was once tarred about 400 years ago and then the road washed away and a few strips of tar about 10’ long remained behind in sections about 10 miles apart. Hills are difficult to climb because of the gravel. It’s hard to get traction. Hills are difficult to descend because of the gravel. If I go too fast I fishtail and my back tire has spun away from me too many times to risk speed on downhill descents. So I’m moseying along at a glacial pace. Better safe than sorry…especially since I’m still over 350 miles from Fairbanks.

I found a rustic campsite along the road just before Atigun Pass.

Day 4 
240 miles total
I was up early and on the road by 0700. I wasn’t near water and needed to refill water bottles so I ate a granola bar and got on the bike right away. Another trucker gave me an apple today.

I pulled off the road 50 miles short of Coldfoot and made coffee and was able to clean up a little bit. It’s rustic out here. I’m on day 3 without a shower and I was pretty much willing to go in the freezing water of any one of the numerous rivers at this point. Fortunately, Coldfoot had showers.

I pulled into Coldfoot close to 6:30 pm. Camping is free but showers are $14 and I was able to do a load of laundry, since the laundry room was right next to the women’s bathroom. The laundry room isn’t open to the public and if anyone had seen me I might have been charged a fee for using it but everyone was busy and I was pretty desperate to get clean clothes. Nobody noticed and having everything clean again is really nice.

I ran into Rito and Lydia again in the diner. We’re traveling the same path down into Canada so I’m sure we’ll be crossing paths several times. It’s great to see a familiar face, even if it’s only someone I just met a few days ago. Rain is predicted for tonight but I have a good tent so I’ll stay dry.

Tina, You Fat Lard

That’s the name of my bike and she was named long before she was built. In naming a bike, most cyclists tend to go with something that makes the bike sound tough. Something along the lines of Beast or Thor. My sense of humor needed something different. Two other name options were Richard Parker which was ruled out for obvious reasons (Richard aka Dick…think about it) and Phillip Beauregard which I thought was too formal.

Tina You Fat Lard might be a first, but for me, it’s the perfect name. Tina is the name of the Llama in the movie Napoleon Dynamite and it makes me laugh to be able to say “Tina you fat lard, get your butt up this hill” or “Tina you fat lard, you’re a pig” and having humor like that in the middle of the wilderness is priceless. I’ve looked at her on the side of the road loaded down with panniers and it makes me laugh to see her name. I haven’t actually started talking to her yet but I’m only 500 miles into this adventure.