Scott Graham

Day 9
3:15 PM
Coming into Fredericton

The day count is confusing. We left Vancouver at 7am so our clock began then. With time changes, our day now starts at 11am. Sooo, Day 9 ends at 11 am on Monday. Thus, we need to arrive in Halifax by 11am on Tuesday.

Freddy and I had a great ride last night along the St. Lawrence and then south towards New Brunswick. Night rides are fun because you feel as though you’re going way faster than actual speed. Even so, Fred and I clocked along at 35kmp through the early morning hours. The best few klicks were through a small town with twisty road and turn of the century homes snuggled close to the curb. We banked and cranked through the ‘S’ turns at full throttle. So much fun. Fred broke into a narration ala Phil Liggot, the famous announcer that covers the Tour de France. Darkness and speed, that was our ride. Could have gone forever. Didn’t though. Our turn ended at a truck stop where we grabbed $5.00 showers before retiring to the RV for din-din. I packed in a breakfast of 6-egg omelets with 4 pieces of DIMPFLMEIER pumpernickel bread. Then to my surprise, I actually fell asleep and stayed unconscious until morning. The first good sleep.

I might mention that TIFFANY GATE’s contribution of ready to eat food was our first choice for this trip. Everything they provided, fresh and frozen, was absolutely fantastic. Good enough to serve to discerning guests. Really top notch. The meals that Pat tossed together from scratch, TIFFANY GATE rice and tuna were enriched with HEMPOLA hemp oil. Pat says, Hempola’s product is a naturally balanced oil with an ideal ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 9 EFAs (Essential fatty acids which are good for everything) My favourite snack is that delicious bread from DIMPFLMEIRER topped with a special spread made from NUTS TO YOU almond butter. I’ve tried a few brands of almond butter but this one has the best consistency and flavour. I eat it by the spoonful. Smoothies are chugged down in seconds. Ours were made with ORGANIC MEADOW yogurt which is by far the most available organic yogurt that I have seen. At home, I drink their milk. All these items would make a wonderful summer picnic laid out on a HUDSON BAY blanket. Of course, the best beverage for a hot summer afternoon is a refreshing mug of HUDSON BAY water. By the way, we drink their bottled water exclusively. Does that come as a surprise?
And one more thing. THE RIDGE and Dr. Pat Hewitt know more about nutrition, training and body wellness than I’ll ever know. You may think your diet and health practices are tuned but I’ll bet despite your best intentions, you could be doing a lot better. Give Dr. Pat a call. He’s approachable and a good guy (though I’ll deny that to his face).

Day 8
3:30PM
Along the St. Lawrence

I’m still exhausted. Rode the night shift from 9pm to 1 am. See the note below. I managed to get a couple of hours of fitful sleep but it was of very poor quality. Layers of road grim sealed with sunscreen and perspiration baked on by the sun and wind. Now that’s a lamination that makes for uncomfortable relaxation. Everyone’s the same. We are turning into emotional wrecks. Neeeeed sleeeeeep.

The plan. Beds are being stripped; sheets are off to the laundry on express service. Once the RV water tanks are refilled (can’t find a pit stop to service water and sewage right now), showers for everyone. Showers after shifts are to be the priority so people can get sound nights of bloom’n rest! Sheesh.

This morning around 8am voices and laughter stirred me from the top bunk. Poking my head out from the top bunk, I tried to determine if the commotion was anything worth struggling away from the sheets entangled around my appendages. I, and others, tuck the linen between skin surfaces to avoid contact. The same precaution you might take if using rubber cement. I was now awake and feeling pretty lousy and looking much worse.

A group of cyclists had joined Jamie and whomever he was paired with at the Ontario/Quebec border. They convened at 3am to find our team for a 6:30 rendezvous. See what I mean? People are doing extraordinary things to help C2C achieve its goals. Check out Jimmies’ report for details on the early portion of the ride – I assume he’ll talk about it. The group moved on form the RV around 8am. I’d quickly dressed to join the mass as it moved through Montreal with a FIVE car police escort! Man, can those cops break a trail! We blasted through every red light in town. It was like they were searching for reds and turning away from greens. Sirens, the whole nine yards. Another example of people showing support and respect for the cause.

Around 11am the last of the club riders peeled of and shortly later so did the police. We were on 138 along the river and back to self-sufficiency. Jeff, Mitch Erik and I clipped along at 33-27kph following the flat and scenic road. The sun grew hotter but the cadence persisted. A brief stop at noon then back at it until 2pm. Hamish and Kev took over from there.

During the break mentioned above, there was team meeting regarding our collective need to remain focused on the task. Seems some people felt we had loitered too long with the departing club riders and were dropping critical details during transfers and support obligations. I disagreed. My position was (is) that the sleep issue was putting people on edge and we were all so tired that we are unable to make sound assessments! We are doing fine but are so edgy that people are getting upset and scattered. (See missing sock discussion in previous note).
While Jeff, Mitch and I completed the noon- 2 pm stretch, the support crew hopped in the pick up to replenish our food supply with new tasties. Swedish meatballs for instance. Those on board the RV tidied and made house. As I type we are in search of facilities to clean out the holding tanks. We’ve left the riders with the PU truck as we head on down the expressway towards a truck stop.

It’s hot, we’re all exhausted. The riding won’t stop us but the living conditions just might!
The Message Board has been covered with the wishes of so many interested people. We appreciate your letters tremendously as they push on towards Halifax. At this point, you know, what we really need is money. Please tell everyone you know about the event and ask them to make a donation on behalf of Candlelighters (or LAF). We will do the distance. We will do the 10 days. The third and most import objective of our project is to hit $500,000. Your participation towards that target is what this adventure is all about.

Day 7
(Technically, Saturday but late Friday night, 12:45am)

I'm back, b-b-b-b-b back! These are lyrics from the Eminem song that rolled through my head most of the day today. I 'm not sure why that tune was locked in play mode but that's just one of the mysteries of this journey. And what trip it is.

I'm hesitant to do a recap of the day because all six guys and Ron are probably covering that angle. So how about I dip into recounts of events as a thread on which to hang my observations about people and myself? Let's start in Woodstock, ON at 6AM Friday morning where I awoke from my one hour snooze at the end of a 3 hour attempt at sleep. Sleep deprivation is a greater inhibitor than fitness. It clouds the mind making small things like missing socks so bloody irritating and all consuming that my world crashes in. A sock. One missing sock made me scramble to get dressed on time. I always put my socks on before my leggings but this moring, I had to change my routine and it was driving me nuts. I have to be ready in 30 seconds and someone stole my sock. I'll kill them... Oh yeah, there it is on the Perrier crate crowded in by the door with the garbage, bike pump, and laundry bags awaiting pick up by Hal in, well, a pick up. Eleven guys in this place. Get the picture? (I'm rambling... see earlier note about sleep deprevation) Uhg.

Emotions. My Mom and Dad drove to Kitchener to pick up my son so they could greet me as we passed through Mississauga. As I rode from Woodstack I thought of them doing their part to make this a special day. I teared up. As Hamish and I approached Hamilton, Andrea Page and Dave Robson fell in their bikes. Two more people who wanted to be part of something that was expanding like ripples in an ocean. More riders came in through Oakville. Turning the final corner to our scheduled greet & meet, throngs of children, with signs they had taken time and care to make, stood along the curb cheering. High fives down the line. Police escorted us through traffic lights. It was amazing. But why? Why have so many people made the effort? Emotion. Support, sympathy and empathy for others. C2C was created to help charities help others. People and their companies have come forward to help C2C become a reality. Other people reach out to help individuals, help C2C. Families pick up kids, truck drivers leave their kids to carry our food, engaged couples interupt their wedding planing weeks before the big day, people drive a hundred miles to stop the RV and hand deliver cheques. It is my good fortune to be one of several at the epic centre of this phenonium. We marvel at the chain of good deeds from caring people that in the end will save lives and assist greiving families. Everyday, stories of heros are read from the dedications on our web site. Initially, it was our hope to help children with cancer but I think we have helped hundreds, maybe thousands of people start rings of their own. I thought of this as I held my healthy six year old, hugged my parents, and embraced my friends. Jeff Rushton started this particular ripple and the more ripples the better,

It's now 2:20 am. I definately should have practised my typing more in grade 7. Next ride is 8AM. (I'm such a slacker compared to these guys.) I leave you with another Eminem line.. I lov'n it. (Probably should proof-read this but ... yawn.)

Day 6
(Thursday)

10:50PMBasically, it's one long day interupted by rides. there is little to distinguish one from the next...ride, eat, attempto sleep and , if unbale, sit around laughing at nothing. At 10 O'clock, I finished my 3rd consecutive shift with Hamish. The schedule has us teamed up for one more ride Friday moring.. into Mississauga! It is a certainty that the other cyclists will be one road for the last few miles of our leg as we hit the family gathering near Gears. We're all excited about that.
If you check Hamishe's entry for today, you'll get an account of our little adventure off the planned route. We zigged when a zag was in order!

I'm thinking that I'll forego tales of our time in the saddle and tell you about some of the less athletic aspects of our routine. Perhaps you've glimpsed at stories submitted by the rest of the bikers but incase you haven;t, I need to bring attention to some key aspects of Coast to Coast.
The charity componenti has always been at the forefront of our mission, but for me, "raising money" lacked real emotional value. It's just figures. Cash. Several times each day, one of the crew reads a dedication over teh radio to the cyclists. The stories are heart-wrenching. They talk of family memebers and friends that took up challenges cast upon them with such courage and will power that it's impossible not to hold back tears. It brings the team together. Turns out that this trip is alittle exercise, a little do gooding and a little personal therapy! A retreat with cramped accommodations!

The emdia is starting to pick up the story.Good news. People are responding to Coast to Coast. It's not about teh ride, its about the enegy of dozens of people to creat and astage an event that actually draws attention to helping children. EAch dedicaton we receive pounds home the real accomlishment fo thsi journey. It's a meeting place of people. A place where compassion and hope spread with greater tanacity than cancer.
I'm bagged. Maybe I'll have more energy during the day tomorrow. Thanks for checking in.

Day 5
10am CT?

Hey, what happened to Day 3 and 4? Every day slips into the next as we run on a 4 hour clock. The world revolves around shift changes and sleep periods. They slip out of synch with time of day. I'm coming out of a hard couple of days. The night flight with Kevin recorded in Day 2 took a heavy toll on me. I sse now that my strength that ride was fuelled by anaerobic effort. At the time, in the dark, I couldn't dee my HR so I hammered way to hard. Yesterday, Tuesday for the world outside our group, I had no power in my legs. Dead. Freddy and Jeff had to do more than their share to get me through. This morning I awoke at 4AM to do the 5-9 leg with Jeff. Again Jeff did the lion's share of pulls but I can feel energy returning... Got my care package from Robbie last night! Lucie (Hamish's wife) put it together. What a great lady. Anyway, He drew a (off colour) picture of me with a dog and wrote a funny letter.Thanks Robbie (xo)....

The RV is still holding up. Did a major tidy at 3AM after a town hall meeting about divergence from our original riding schedule. People have been adding in extra hours overlapping with other shifts. From a cyclist perspective, more on the road is more efficient, however, it plays havoc on logistics (crew) and physiology (endurance). Dr. Pat ends up prepping meals continuously on top of contributing to just about every other activity other thatn riding. It's not what he signed up for. He's very good at keeping us on track. The other issues is that no one needs to do extra time in the saddle if we stay with our training and ride to our zone. It's when people get in groups and pound to keep pace that we slip into anaerobic mode. This burns us (me) out. Time to regroup, recover strength and get back to the plan. Halfway home.

...Beautiful roads this morning. Through a park with rolling twists a couple of climbs and, most envigorating, long downhills... tuck and lean. Swish! Other stretches were along fresh asphault that allow the bike to hum along like fatboys over fresh pow (ski lingo)... Thanks for looking on the team. Please send real food... please... cheeseburger, chocolate shake, uhg.

Day 2

9:15pm MT

A relatively easy day for me. Relatively easy compared to some of the feats other cyclists performed. Early this morning, between mid-night a 4am, Kev and Freddy mounted Rogers pass with a pace that brought cheers from our assembled crew. I know because the noise woke me from my imagined sleep. Owing to James strategic scheduling, I enjoyed a 12-hour break returning to the saddle at noon with Kevin. Mitch joined us so it was a speedy decent from a point just east of Field B.C. Kev and Mitch are like two bull moose pounding down the road. I spent a good deal of time riding above my HR zone just to stay ahead of their sonic boom. In Canmore, we were joined by two local riders, Ryan Corey (who last year rode around the parameter of N. America and in 2005 will set out from Alaska to reach Argentina) and a racing pal. We screamed into and beyond Calgary at speeds in the high 40s and 50’s! I spent a good deal of the time in the caboose. …Dinner was fine; rice and 6oz of steak with some of Dr. Pat’s special tablets to aid digestion. I’m now prepping for an 11pm ride with Kev. The plan is a 5-hour shift with the first hour overlapping with Hamish and James who are on the road as I peck the keyboard. So many tales. Love to Robbie, M,D,F,L,S,A.

Day 1

11:45PM PST

Just finished my second shift of the day and retired to the RV for Dr. Pat's succulent bean and rice dish spiked with balsamic vinegar and hemp seed oil (Hempola). Jamie and I rode into the dusk as it slipped under the clouds through gaps of orange-tinged sky. A freight train chugged up along side of us with a river just beyond short of the silhouetted rolling mountains. Riding in pace with the engine, we pumped our fists to the engineer. Two long blasts of the horn brought smiles to us both. How great can it get! Ron read our dedication for Stephen Morse. Every story touches us deeply. At the same time, it picks up our cadence as we acknowledge our great fortune and how we hope to make life better for children like Stephen. ...The team is starting to gel. The RV is getting tidier, the transitions better choreographed and pace ever faster. We expect to break-free of the mountains in good time tomorrow.. amazing! It's not midnight (I'm a slow typist). HAPPY FATHER'S DAT TO ALL OF US! A special hug and kiss to the guy that makes this day and everyday a blessing for me...my 6 year old, Robbie. And a HFD to my Dad too! Keep reading the journal and get others to check in and donate. Dedications are still arriving. We'd love to hear about the heroes that you know.

Scott