Thursday, February 12, 2015

100 Days to Departure on May 23rd 2015

Today is the 12th of February 2015.  

It has been six months since Hélène asked me to update the blog but never could find the time to do it. I had planned on doing it on January 01st 2015 to mark the start of the New Year but something got in the way, more about that later.
This is what we have been up to since the end of our VéloQuebec cycling season.
  • Decided on a few training options that included what to do and more importantly where to do it. After trying training facilities at both the City of Ottawa and the YMCA we decided on the YMCA. The YMCA offered the better facilities and we were able to work out a reasonable  4 day training schedule.
  • After the less than successful experience with my Samsung tablet last summer, we decided that a Notepad​ (laptop) would be a better choice. The Notepad advantage over the the tablet is that it has a integrated keyboard.  A little heavier but a better option nonetheless.
  • Hélène starts working on the blog structure. This way daily blog updates will be easier and more timely. Again lessons learned from our Gaspésie trip last summer.
  • We put together our preliminary kit list.
  • On the last weekend, we drove down to Prince Edward County (PEC) for a cycling weekend. We rented tadpole trikes on Saturday and on the Sunday, we completed the Kiwanis Cribbage Run on our road bikes. We have been doing this trip for the last three years.
  • Training is going well. We have had no difficulty spinning twice a week and doing a long swim on the weekend. We usually have a quick swim after the first spinning class and yoga after the second class in the week. We cycle weather permitting.
  • Hélène continues to improve on her blog building skills. 
  • We have decided to carry business cards on the trip and have started working on the design. ​
  • Most of the individual and joint kit list was agreed too. I still don't have a sleeping bag and we have not yet decided how to carry the panniers when not on the bikes.
  • On Thanks Giving weekend, we drove GereMene (VW Bus) to the Eastern Townships for a cycling weekend. We loved the area and plan on making it an annual outing.
  • Well into training spinning/swimming and yoga. Looking forward to snow in order to add cross-country skiing to our training.
  • Hélène continues outstanding work on the blog. Our blog readers will be wowed by what she has done. I hope my writing will be at par!
  • We purchased our tickets to Vancouver (bought on Nov 11th)​. We booked space for the bikes on Westjet.
  • We arrived at a decision in respect to the sleeping bag. After much research it was agreed that we would forgo individual sleeping bags and go for one quilt for the both of us. Our understanding is that we each carry half of the quilt and that the total weight is same as a single sleeping bag. We ended up ordering a quilt kit from Ray Jardine. Ray claims that if you can drive you can sew and that with 8 hours of sewing, you can assemble your quilt. Neither of us can sew, yet!
  • Finally settled into our weekly training mode. We finally got a decent amount of snow and have been out on the skis a few times. This offers a nice change from the indoor training routine.
  • We managed to purchase two pairs of used Profile Design AirStrike S Aerobars for the Surly's. 
  • Daniel purchased a bright yellow Ortlied Rack Pack Duffle Bag (31L).
  • We had the bikes serviced by MobiVelo, a Chelsea, QC based mobile mechanic shop. Prices are very competitive and you get door to door service. 
  • Hélène purchased a lightweight Eton portable radio.  
  • The travelling cards design is finalized.
  • I purchased a pair of back-country skis and am contemplating the construction of two ski pulks. Now Hélène can expand our skiing territory and take advantage of the trails in the NCC Greenbelt. While not directly related to cycling nevertheless the back-country skiing makes a nice addition to our training plan. One can only do so much spinning!
  • Hélène continues outstanding work on the blog.
  • The Ray Jardine quilt and stow bag kits arrived on Dec 11th 2014. What did we get ourselves into?
  • We borrowed sewing machines from each of Hélène’s two sisters hoping to find one that is easiest to use. Neither machine turned out to be easy to use. We just could not set the thread tension to work right while spending many hours sewing stow bags out of old bed sheets.
  • We brought one of the sewing machines to a repair shop to get it tuned. Instead getting the sewing machine tuned, we instead bought ourselves an insanely cute Singer Featherweight 221 sewing machine.
  • We spent the last day of 2014, in the shop learning how to use our Singer Featherweight 221.
  • We continued practicing with our  Featherweight on January 1st, 2015 and did not have time to work on the blog.

January 2015
  • Training is going well and we are able to significantly increase the resistance on the bikes. We are also skiing more regularly.
  • Hélène continues outstanding work on the blog.
  • We have now completed our two Ray Jardine stow bags. So much more challenging to sew Silnylon than cotton as the Silnylon is incredibly slippery.
    Our cute sewing machine along with the stow bags
  • We also spent quite a bit of time cutting the quilt components to size. Again, we found that handling rip stop nylon is more challenging than old cotton bed sheets.
  • We took a well deserve respite from our sewing preparations and skied Gatineau Park trails on January 10th and the following day (my b'day), we took our newly build pulks for a trial run in the National Capital Commission (NCC) forest P20 on Anderson Road.
    Selfie with the sleds
  • We finally reached our spinning goal of 898.9 km  (distance Vancouver to BC-Alberta border) with Hélène speeding into Alberta 23 or so km ahead of me.
February 2015
  • We finally completed our quilt Feb 02nd. It looks very good.
    Quilt minus the draft-stopper
  • Hélène also got her very own bright red Ortlied Rack Pack Duffle Bag (31L)
  • We took a well-deserved weekend break and went skiing at Le Domaine St-Bernard near Mont-Tremblant, QC. Tried the quilt indoors and found that it is very warm as expected. The material makes it very slippery and we will have to find a way to secure it so it doesn’t keep slipping away during the night.
  • Got home to find that our two large pannier carry bags had arrived.
  • Nice to see that most of the pieces of our plan are coming together. We still have Tyvek overmitts and booties to sew and we will be ready to go!