It started like any normal day. Scotty smashed two green teas, Ry stayed quiet and visualized how he would win another yellow jersey and Sean ate about 14 peanut butter sandwiches. But things weren’t quite the same for me.
Maybe it was because of the lack of sleep or maybe it was because of the elbow Scotty delivered to my lower back in the middle of the night, but something had induced this hostile state I was in. I woke up in one of those ‘how can I annoy every single person around me moods’. For anyone who knows me well, I can go through stages like this and be as annoying as any Aqua song.. Case and point today. I made it my mission to initially get under the skin of the youngest Mackinnon. Little, naive Ryan never stood a chance. First, he left his socks in our room prior to leaving. Instead of grabbing them I made it a point to walk all the way outside to the entrance of our motel, to where the boys were packing up their gear, to tell Ryan he had left his socks in the room. Ryan could not understand why I didn’t simply grab the socks and bring them outside.
Next, I go to get my bike from the garage and notice one of our waterproof pannier covers sitting on the ground. Knowing it was Ryan who left it there, I brought my bike out front, which was a solid walk and told the boys that someone had left their pannier cover there. Ryan looked at me, shook his head and walked 200 metres to the garage to go get it. Five minutes later he was back. Knowing that I was making his blood boil I decided to start stirring the pot a little more announcing that we needed to set some ground rules for the rest of the trip. I said in a confident voice looking directly at Ryan: ‘we now need someone to scan our sleeping area prior to every time we leave because people keep forgetting things’. These little jabs continued for the first hour of the day.
To Ryan’s credit he stayed calm and did not attack at my attempt to rattle him. Scotty, however, was a different story. These little stressors I was causing the group continued to be absorbed into Scotty’s head.
Scotty prides himself on punctuality. If he says we are leaving at 9am, we have to leave at 9am. No sooner, no later. It did not impress Scotty when I strolled out casually to my bike at 9:15, taking another 10 minutes to lather myself up with about two litres of suntan lotion. The best way I can explain it is like this. I was being like the young, naïve child that goes to the zoo and begins to poke the monkey, who is sitting behind the cage, with a stick. The child just keeps on poking him while giggling and laughing. Eventually the Monkey becomes so infuriated and built up with anger he snaps. And if that monkey gets loose, bad things happen to the child. Well Scotty was the monkey today and he got loose..
We have been super busy at nights as of late with figuring out PR stuff, accommodations, our schedule, fundraising ideas etc… The prior night we had a massive list of things to get done and nothing happened as we all did our own thing. So, while biking in the morning, it didn’t go over so well when I yelled from the back of the pack: “if Scotty didn’t fall asleep at 7pm every night, maybe we could get all this stuff done!” The zookeeper had just let the monkey out of its cage. Scotty unleashed a fury of words on me (both good and bad) and a full fledge debate had begun. The day was so beautiful too, so it must have been priceless for vehicles passing us to see two bikers side by side having a full on yelling match. The first verbal fist-fight lasted about 20 minutes, but was started all over again when after we called it a truce I decided to take one last jab at him, muttering under my breath that he was incompetent to lead our group. Neville and Ry stayed quiet and neutral for the most part, but when one of us said something funny or logical they were there to cheer us on.
When the biking fight finally ended we had a huge laugh and actually replayed some of the highlights of the debate. Almost critically analyzing key points of it as if we were TSN or ESPN analysts. All and all it was called a draw. I think one massive fight like that was long overdue and we all figured that it was healthy to unleash on one another!
In my opinion, the ride was by far one of the easiest legs of the trip. The sun was shining and we had a nice tailwind, which made life so much easier. One element that is has begun to kill us is the flies and Mosquitoes. I honestly thought we had passed the worse when we left the Prairies. I can’t complain though because Neville gets it the worse. Eating lunch today was one of the most uncomfortable experiences of the trip. Not only are you sweating profusely from the heat, you are constantly surrounded by bugs trying to devour you. And these aren’t little B.C flies. They are jacked black flies that must be on some sort of growth hormones. Neville might have 30 bites on his forehead alone. One bit me so badly on my head I began to just start bleeding from it. My respect went up immensely for those labour workers now and in the past that have to deal with this day to day.
Other then the early morning fights, the bugs and Ryan winning another yellow jersey the day went by very smoothly. We arrived in Upsala at around 6pm at a very cheap campsite and went for a swim in the refreshing Savanne river. Stoked for Thunder Bay tomorrow!