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Day 152 October 5, 2011 Maple Ridge to Burnaby 46km

6 Oct

I made it

It was cold and wet this morning and I was sure I had only just gone to sleep when my alarm started going off, but as I got up there was a hint of the fun to take place today.
The 6km run to Maple Ridge was wet but our pace was swift in anticipation of what was to come. As we turned the corner and came down a hill we saw a police car waiting for us with a reporter and the mayor of Maple Ridge. After introductions and some discussion about the run we started off, our RCMP escort out in front with lights flashing.
Mike and I continued on along the Lougheed Hwy listening to the mostly friendly honks from the morning traffic. After about 10km we stopped for some water and another reporter showed up for an interview and to take some photos. At one point she wanted to take pictures of Mike and I stretching, and Mike got a panicked look on his face as he tried to decide what stretch to do.
As we started up again a 2nd RCMP officer, this time from Coquitlum joined us. Our Ridge Meadows escort peeled off as we entered Port Coquitlum and were joined by yet another RCMP car and a fire truck. At the same time Don Konantz arrived with 7 wonderful ladies from West Van who had come out to run. The 9 of us continued across the Pitt Meadows Bridge and as we approached the border to Coquitlum Rob Snowden pulled up with William Morse, a friend of mine from high school who joined in the run. Literally around the next corner we were met by three more fire trucks along with 10 or so fire fighters in their running gear. Now we had almost 20 people running and a huge escort as we continued along the highway. The ladies from West Van were delighted to now be surrounded by fire fighters!
Shortly thereafter my friend Wendy appeared by the side of the road with her son Cameron and the two of them joined in for a short jog alongside the growing group of runners. We continued in this fashion, with the Coquitlum fire fighters running until Burnaby and trading off with the Burnaby Fire Department, with some of their fire fighters running. As soon as we crossed into Burnaby I finally started to recognize my surroundings and the fact that I was nearing Vancouver really started to sink in a bit more. Just before cresting our last real hill before finishing we passed Rob Snowden again, this time cheering with some of his coworkers from Paladin Security by the side of the road.
As we turned on to Boundary Road and into the Trev Deeley Motorcycle dealership I was pretty excited.
The rest of the day was spent enjoying a beer over lunch at Earls, touring the motorcycle museum at the dealership, and thanks to the short day finally catching up on my blog.
Tonight is my last night in the MCC and it’s a little bittersweet. I’m pretty sure I won’t miss RV living, early mornings, blisters or the five H’s but I will miss spending my day meeting interesting people, seeing incredible scenery, and having no task to focus on other than putting one foot in front of the other. It’s been an incredible experience and if we’ve convinced even a few men to get checked, a totally worthwhile endeavor.
Tomorrow I will enter Vancouver

Day 151 October 4, 2011 Chilliwack to Maple Ridge 64km

6 Oct

I can smell the oceanI started off running through the nice Chilliwack countryside and soon I was on the Lougheed highway. It was a much quieter rode than the Trans-Canada but the shoulder was also much smaller. Both Russ and Zimmerman started the morn…

Day 151 October 4, 2011 Chilliwack to Maple Ridge 64km

6 Oct

I can smell the oceanI started off running through the nice Chilliwack countryside and soon I was on the Lougheed highway. It was a much quieter rode than the Trans-Canada but the shoulder was also much smaller. Both Russ and Zimmerman started the morn…

Day 151 October 4, 2011 Chilliwack to Maple Ridge 64km

6 Oct

I can smell the oceanI started off running through the nice Chilliwack countryside and soon I was on the Lougheed highway. It was a much quieter rode than the Trans-Canada but the shoulder was also much smaller. Both Russ and Zimmerman started the morn…

Day 151 October 4, 2011 Chilliwack to Maple Ridge 64km

6 Oct

I can smell the ocean

I started off running through the nice Chilliwack countryside and soon I was on the Lougheed highway. It was a much quieter rode than the Trans-Canada but the shoulder was also much smaller. Both Russ and Zimmerman started the morning running with me and while the forecast called for rain there was a strange combination of fog and sun.
After running only about five or six km we came upon what turned out to be the steepest ascent of my trip. Here I am in the Fraser Valley, enjoying the flat roads and having mentally checked out of running steep hills, when out of nowhere, on a road I wasn’t initially planning to run on, a 2.5km 11% grade hill appears. 11%! I’m still not entirely clear on the meaning of the % grades, but I do know that the steepest I’ve seen so far this trip is between 7 and 8. So 11% was an unwelcome discovery.
With Zimmerman now back in the RV, Russ and I scaled up this beast, and although we only gained about 250m in elevation I swear it was much colder at the top. We continued along the narrow highway, the MCC at our rear blocking traffic until we were greeted by our 11% grade descent. So barely into my morning and my legs were already tiring.
By the end of the day my legs were weak and wobbly and I couldn’t make it to the 70km I had hoped for, having to tap out at 64km. Russ handed me some chocolate milk and as I was drinking it I thought it tasted a little off. The thing about chocolate milk is that it tastes so good that it’s kind of hard to tell if the milk portion has gone bad. So I drank a lot of it before I decided it had gone bad. I hope that isn’t a problem.
While stretching a truck pulled up and out jumped a man in jeans and a green t-shirt. He walked over to where Mike and I were stretching and introduced himself as Fred Fox, Terry Fox’s brother. SO AWESOME! He had been driving along the Lougheed Hwy and saw us stretching and stopped. So I guess I have the ministry of transportation to thank for that (I still haven’t forgiven them for the 11% hill though). We chatted for a while and then he had to take off but it was definitely a highlight for me.
I only have 46km left to run tomorrow until I get to Boundary Rd, the border between Burnaby and Vancouver and I’m starting to get really excited!

Day 150 October 3, 2011 Hope to Chilliwack 62km

6 Oct

Permits and problems

Today began like every other day on the trip but it ended much differently. Again I was up early and running by 8am. The morning was almost exclusively downhill, a treat compared to the previous days. Unfortunately what I gained in speed by the gentle downhill would be erased later in the day.
As I entered Hope Ian and Fred, two firefighters from Fire Hall No. 2, came out to escort us through. It was pouring rain for the majority of the day and I had to change a number of times to stay warm and shed the heavy rain soaked clothes. I managed to use only two pairs of shoes though, something I’m happy about as they take forever to dry.
Our escort left us at Peter’s Road and I stopped to get some water when Mike told me about the conversations he had been having with traffic services. Apparently they had gotten wind of the fact that I was running along the Trans-Canada and called to inform me that it was illegal for me to be on that road because I didn’t have a permit. According to traffic services I have needed a permit since I entered BC, a statement that seems a little ridiculous given that not only have I had numerous police escorts along the highway, but there are actually places along the Trans-Canada where people have houses and so they would be unable to leave their houses except by car. Also, she said they have never issued a permit to a pedestrian. We tried negotiating but the ministry of transport was adamant that I not run on the highway and insisted that I drive back to Hope and start running from there along the Lougheed Hwy.
That would have meant at least a 15km backtrack and about a 20km or more addition to my day. I decided that I would instead try and run along a gravel path adjacent to the road to see if I could get to a residential road about 10km away. The road led about 100m down to the train tracks and then continued parallel a bit before cutting back up into the bushes. I continued to run along it and it soon turned into a double lane paved road, albeit poorly kept. My optimism was soon shattered as the paved road came to an abrupt end blocked by forest. I backtracked to the train tracks and continued along them in the hopes that another road would open up but instead the terrain on either side of the tracks became impassable and had a train come I would have had no where to step off to. So I again backtracked. I decided to run along the highway until I could find another of these side roads to try again, but after three more dead ends I gave up, crossed over, and continued along the highway. During the short 7km it took to get to the residential area I was passed by two RCMP vehicles, the occupants of each giving me a friendly wave as they passed.
I ended my run just over the bridge into Agassiz, having blocked all traffic for the length of the bridge over the Fraser River thanks to a lack of a pedestrian crossing option. A quick drive to Chilliwack saw us meeting the mayor and local prostate cancer support group. It also served as the meeting spot to reunite with Russ, who is back for the remainder of the run, and our friend Mark Zimmerman, an Abbotsford native who was hosting us for the night.
Tomorrow I should make it to Maple Ridge.

Day 150 October 3, 2011 Hope to Chilliwack 62km

6 Oct

Permits and problemsToday began like every other day on the trip but it ended much differently. Again I was up early and running by 8am. The morning was almost exclusively downhill, a treat compared to the previous days. Unfortunately what I gained in …

Day 150 October 3, 2011 Hope to Chilliwack 62km

6 Oct

Permits and problemsToday began like every other day on the trip but it ended much differently. Again I was up early and running by 8am. The morning was almost exclusively downhill, a treat compared to the previous days. Unfortunately what I gained in …

Day 150 October 3, 2011 Hope to Chilliwack 62km

6 Oct

Permits and problemsToday began like every other day on the trip but it ended much differently. Again I was up early and running by 8am. The morning was almost exclusively downhill, a treat compared to the previous days. Unfortunately what I gained in …

Day 149 October 2, 2011 Merritt to Hope 71km

5 Oct

Big reunion

We were a little slower getting started this morning. Part of it had to do with the fact that my legs were sore from the past few days of hills and part of it had to do with the fact our battery died again. As happened to us in Dryden, nothing worked, included the starter for the generator, which usually solves the dead battery situation. We mulled over our possibilities and I even call a few of the boys to see if they had jumper cables but none of them would answer their phones at that early hour. Finally a Hail Mary attempt combining the auxiliary battery and the generator start worked, despite never working before, and we were on our way.
I managed to get 17km before the boys showed up. The first few kms were on a steep downhill, which immediately fed into a very steep uphill that continued for 3.5km. This time though I didn’t have Snowy to keep me company on the hill, so I slowly trudged up it listening to the same music I’ve been listening to for months.
Unlike yesterday where everybody seemed to run as much as they could all at once, today they took turns in cycles of about 3km each. This definitely seemed to work better and I could actually talk to people as we ran. A little before lunch my mum, dad and Sarah showed up, having driven in from Vancouver for the day. It was awesome having them there and they joined in the running rotation, although Sarah didn’t really rotate out, she just kept running.
The guys stayed until lunch, taking me past the Coquihalla Pass at 1278 or so metres. We said our goodbyes and then Sarah, Mike, Mum, Dad and I sat down for some lunch. The descent after lunch was hellish. It was about as steep as anything I’ve seen yet this trip and it lasted the rest of the run, all 26km of it. Ordinarily I don’t mind the downhill, but the pitch of this was really steep and my hips and knees started to ache and my quads started to burn. I had been scheduled to do 84.4km today but the terrain was too hard on my legs so I had to tap out at 71km. The two days after my descent from the BC border into Golden were the sorest my legs had been all trip and I hope my legs don’t hurt too much from this tomorrow.
I’m only a few km from Hope after which the hills disappear for good!