Life is good when you have sunshine and nothing to worry about for four days but cycling from point A to B. So went my trip to Cape Cod with Two-Wheeling Women, the same tour company (headed by the fantastic Jacki Lewis) that I went with to cycle across P.E.I. last summer. We started in Hyannis, at the bottom of the Cape. It was the summer retreat of the Kennedys, and with a bit of time to kill before meeting the rest of the group on Day 1, I checked out the JFK Museum, complete with a barefooted bronze of the man himself walking in sandy grasses. I was glad I did that, because knowing more about the history of this place set the mood; the Kennedy dynasty is an important part of the Cape’s unique fabric.
We cycled to the ferry bound for Martha’s Vineyard, then cycled around ‘The Vineyard’ and stayed the night in a beautiful inn in Edgartown. Here’s the view–beautiful.
Back on the bikes the next morning for more beachy views along pretty flat roads for Day 2, which was partly in The Vineyard, and then back on the Cape. Just gorgeous getting to take it all in from my bike’my trusty, beautiful, light and fast Specialized Dolce bike, to be precise. The day ended with a bit of an adventure. I wanted to do more distance than scheduled, since I’m prepping for a ‘true century”100 miles, which is 160km. It’s coming up on June 21 (I’m jointly hosting it with Jacki Lewis, and we will raise funds for Right To Play; you can do either 100k or 160k. Join me!! Get more info here.). So I need as much time in the saddle as possible. I opted to add another 40k to the 70k we did that day, and said goodbye to the others who were heading to our next inn, in the historic town of Sandwich. But up came a wicked strong headwind and it was really tough! And my water bottle was almost empty. Oops, should have topped up.
But I kept working at it, and just heading into the last stretch of 10k, along a lonely stretch of bike path with the shipping canal on one side and forest on the other, I blew my rear tire. Now I would certainly be late for our dinner time at the hotel, because I’d only ever changed a tire once–in my backyard, and with a pump. I turned my bike upside down and looked at it. I took out my spare inner tube, tire levers and a C02 canister from my under-seat pouch. Looked at that stuff. ‘Okay, I can do this,’ I thought. Not that I had a choice.
Suddenly, a man with long grey braided hair who was dressed in threadbare linen, beat-up shoes and a rope for a belt appeared out of the forest and approached me. It was a little unsettling. ‘Everything okay?’ he asked. ‘Yep, just got to change a tire, everything is great!’ I started looking busy, pretending I knew exactly what to do. He said, ‘Maybe I can help.’ And then he started speaking bike lingo, something I’ve heard a lot at cycling events but don’t understand much of. Turns out he used to road race, and the reason he was dressed the way he was is that he works in the Aptucxet Trading Post Museum, circa 17th century, as a guide’and was dressed in period costume. The museum, I now saw, was in the forest just beyond where I got my flat. John was great, and he walked me through each stage and let me do it all myself. It was so nice of him to lend a hand.
So, I got my extra distance that day, and a great learning experience. It made for a good story when I finally made it back to the hotel sore, thirsty and starving’and just on time for a fresh, local dinner. But what was making this trip, and what made the one to PEI last summer, so special is the camaraderie and laughs with the other 11 women. All day on the road, there’s this great feeling of teamwork, a laid-back but helpful, fun-loving and positive attitude that Jacki leads with and that spreads organically through us as a group. Maybe it’s her encouragement that we stop whenever we see fresh ice cream. 🙂
Day 3, and I was really feeling the 110k I’d done on Day 2, my longest distance ever. So I proudly accepted the ‘yellow jersey’ Jacki awards each day to someone who had a personal best. (It’s actually a yellow kerchief; see it tied below my seat.) That day I was happy to show off my Bell Let’s Talk jersey in honour of Clara Hughes’ quest to bring attention to mental illness through Clara’s Big Ride; Best Health is so proud to be the national magazine partner. And my cycling shorts I’m wearing were a shout out to Ride For Karen, which I’ll be doing for a third time this September to help raise funds for kids with cancer to go to summer camp.
That day, I just enjoyed the ride and didn’t push myself for speed, kept well hydrated, and took in the scene, riding with various of the other 11 women along the way. Check out this nice stretch of beach and riding.
Finally, on Day 4, the last day’and the only day that saw a bit of cloud’we arrived in Provincetown, at the top of the Cape. I haven’t mentioned yet that at the end of each day (well, during each day, too) we ate lavishly. Dinners involved fish, seafood, lobster rolls, organic chicken’whatever our lovely accommodations, and roadside clamshacks, had on offer. It was all delicious. Celebrating that evening in Provincetown involved some local microbrews and oysters from nearby Wellfleet, which were most welcome! What a great reward for a four-day-long workout. Just makes you feel so lucky, yet wishing the whole summer could be spent in such an awesome way.