The Rough Draft

If you can't go through it. Go around it.

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Mark’s having a look at my dodgy back brake, which had been giving me issue since the start of the trip. Turns out when I reinstalled my rear wheel, I hadn’t seated the rear brake block correctly and it wasn’t in its bracket properly… Oops.

Welcome back. Sorry this is taking so long to post up. Life is what happens when you’re making other plans. Still a bit stiff from our ride out from Bamfield to Port Alberni, we stopped for some Subway (my go to for road food) before gassing up the bikes and deciding we’d hit up our friends Mark and Mya Turchyn just outside of Duncan for a place to crash or the night. But first we decided to visit Cathedral Grove, one of the last stands of older growth forest on the island. After all, it was only 23 minutes away according to the GPS and it was just after lunch.

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And it would have taken 23 minutes if it wasn’t for this guy in front of me. Look, I get it, enjoy your ride but FFS you’re on a highway, please, please, please, go the speed limit not 10kmh under.

 

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Yep, we hit the back end of this guy on a section of road that was very hard to pass on. Add to that because he was so under speed, there was a line of frustrated traffic behind Mark and I, which starts to become a bit risky as those in four wheels start to lose their patience. Add to that that at every slight twist, turn or corner in the road, this guy hit the binders. Which you can see in every shot my helmet caught of him. So please, to this dude, take a course and learn how to use your throttle and body position to put you into the corner safely and with confidence. Because riding like that is anything but.

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Brake light

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Brake light

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Brake light

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Finally a section I could get past him. Unfortunately, it took Mark a few more corners to achieve the same.

Cathedral Grove is a busy spot with traffic slowing to let people pull out and for pedestrians to cross the road.

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The nice thing about bikes are we don’t take up too much room.

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I know it doesn’t look it but this is a really big tree.

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Mark caught me eying up the shot. I used my Canon G-16 a lot because my 7D Mk2 was buried under a ton of gear on the back of the bike. Still, for a point and shoot it’s versatile, handy and allows me to shoot in RAW in full manual mode.

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I told you, it was a really big tree…

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I was waiting for the Face-hugger to pop out of this one.

 

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This shows how the Cedar has a wide but not deep root network.

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We hung out at Cathedral Grove for a few hours and got our fill of big trees (something Ontario is missing) and even though it’s a busy place it’s spread out enough, it doesn’t feel saturated with people, unless you’re looking for parking.

Back on the road, we powered down the island towards Duncan and our friends Mark and Mya, where we had a great time catching up and a good home cooked meal. Mark got to crash in the spare bedroom and I racked out on the floor of the den.

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Mark and I also tackled my rear brake and got that back in form so no more nasty clacking and clunking from my rear if I hit the rear brake. At this point, the weather was nice, sunny and warm but there were literally storm clouds on the horizon, with rain forecast for the coming days. At this point, we were slightly ahead of schedule days wise but I was looking forward to taking a couple of days off and resting up in Nanaimo to see Brad and his daughter Hope, who I hadn’t seen since she was a toddler. My leg was also not getting any better and the pain in my knee had also moved into my upper thigh and hip. Advil was becoming a steady diet for me. After a few hours on the bike I needed to stop and walk around just to ease things up.

Still, it was good to catch up with Mark and Mya as I hadn’t seen them since we’d visited when Mark was posted to Ottawa.

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Washing the mud and dust of the last few days off of the bikes. If you look, you can see how dirty the water in the gutter is.

After a killer breakfast and a late start the next day, we headed back up the island to Nanaimo. I wanted to see Brad and Mark wanted to see some family so we were going to split up for the next day and meet back together in the evening. Kelly wasn’t due over until the Friday morning and seeing as he was coming into Nanaimo anyway, we decided to hang about and wait for him. Truthfully, I needed the break to try and get my leg back into a little bit of shape for any more of the big rides. I was also finding the pace of this trip a bit rough as I think because I ride solo for the most part, I enjoy the freedom this imparts. I can set my own pace which I’ll admit is slowing down a bit as I get older.

During last year’s trip, I had a good week and a bit before meeting up with Kelly in SLC and then we based ourselves out of Moab for the rest of the week with only a short jaunt over to Colorado Springs for the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb section of or ride. With Moab as the center, we could go out and do stuff with the bikes as lightly packed as we could make them, which really made a difference. On this trip, it was every stick of gear on the bike at all times, which doesn’t make for a light ride at all.

Deep down though, there was a small voice in my head that was expressing worry at what was coming up. I knew at least one section was going to be really technically difficult and that didn’t fill me with a warm fuzzy feeling.

 

Now to book news:

Devil’s Ante will be released the first week of September on Amazon and Createspace. Reliance will be released in audiobook format around the same time. I’m currently working on Augmented, a military SciFi novel I hope to finish in the Spring before I dive headfirst back into Sean Addison’s world in Devil’s Due.

You can check out all my books at my author page.

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