Cycling Across Canada

Golden.

Amidst the awesome beauty of Glacier Park, I pedalled Sonja to the summit of Rogers Pass. The climb felt reasonably grueling in its grade and length. Only the culminating rise turned cruel, with a steeper set of switchbacks and numbing winds pushing against every exertion.

The cold had depleted my energy reserves, but I was feeling tank-empty from something more. From Hope to here, I had subsisted mostly on dried fruits, trail mix, chocolate chips, energy bars, bagels, and peanut butter. I’d never before deprived myself to this modest extent. I hadn’t trained or tried to learn any different. I didn’t know any better. As I neared the summit, my reliance on the barest essentials of food and water for a string of nights and days were being revealed in their toll. I felt wholly drained.

I recalled the selection of portable stoves to buy in Victoria. I had walked away, empty-handed, strident in my resolve to save the space and weight. Take that, consumerism! My approach was short-sighted and misguided. I had mistakenly devoted more energy to essentializing the contents of my panniers than ensuring I was providing my own self enough fuel. My first attempts to live with less had been far from faultless.

On the far side of Rogers Pass, I devoured the final remnants of my trail mix. With my fruits already long gone, I was left with only bagels and peanut butter for calories in my packs. I needed food. Real food. A feast of familiar excess.

The remaining stretches from Rogers Pass to Golden offered incredible views, even as my stomach grumbled and strained. I headed due south, riding with the mountains standing parallel and unobscured to my right, riding along the smooth, wide shoulder of the Trans-Canada. On fumes, this unfamiliar world still mesmerized. Physically undernourished and mentally washed-out, I rode straight ahead, pedal-to-pedal, alongside the mountains till my destination emerged.

Golden.

I was ready to give my body its first full day off Sonja’s seat since my jiurney’s beginnings in Victoria, which felt forever ago. I reminisced of my memories on the Galloping Goose. I was floored. Time had passed little more than ten days or so. All else felt dramatically changed. My body felt different. Stronger and more resilient in ways I’d never before even bothered trying to attain. My mind had opened to different bounds, mostly by unexpected brushes from the world outside, a few philosophical smacks to the mouth. I was feeling determined to open my world further within, too.

For the time being, though, I was thoroughly exhausted. I was bushed, blissfully eager to rest.

Seconds after reaching the nearest edges of Golden, I removed myself from Sonja’s perch. I walked ginger and slow through the doors of the first motel in view. I was pulled to four walls, a cooked meal, a climate-controlled room, and a comfortable bed.

Sold.

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