May 17, 2001
-- Picked up another support crew
member ... and guess what? ... he is a journalist! ... Welcome
aboard Rick Toor! ... He is on his way to Halifax from Vancouver
with an overnight stop-over in Toronto. Thanks for all
the other offers to join the team!!
May 16, 2001
-- The support crew loses 2
members of the team but gains 1 new member Lyn Davies! ... Welcome
aboard Lyn!! ... We still need one member to join the on-the-road
team, preferably a
May 14, 2001
-- Media Kit added to website click
May 12, 2001 -- Kevin
and Jane head out in one of the motorhomes with the RoadBoat in
tow from Vancouver to Halifax.
May 8, 2001 --
Daryl and Eric have been working like werewolves for the past little while with plenty of accompanying scary creatures. Daryl's business partner, Olaf has been cutting and grinding. Jeff has been craftily creating little gems. The rowers have been dipping into inspired moments of helpfulness. Craig and his gigglegirl Pam have been drilling and screwing in four different rowing locations. And on Monday night we even had Winston, Cheryl, Lisa, Jane, Rob, Bob, RJ and Rick come out for some participation. Thanks to everyone!
It's been a slower go than expected due to the Herculean effort it has taken to tweak and bash the frame into alignment after my bastardization of it down at the heat treatment site. It was warped twenty ways to Sunday, but after a marathon session today, Daryl, Craig, Eric and Mike were able to hit the sweet spot. Now it's only 47 more huge challenges away from being ready for the next 34 challenges! So it's all going very nicely.
I left the gang there tonight as Jono and Neil were lightheadedly drilling "holes" in the front rails. Mike was trying to create something for the chain to slide through on the back stroke. Daryl was hooking up some axles, and Eric and John (Eric's buddy from Deep Cove Bike Shop) were working on gear shift levers and where they go. We have one drive assembly in line now with three more to go. It's a huge production with so many pieces and issues, that the only thing that looks under control are the attitudes of the men at the helm.
Thanks to everyone for putting this wild device together. It is far beyond obvious how little we (meaning me and the rowers) were prepared for how much work was ahead to get this vehicle built. It is incredible to see the dedication and energy going into the building team's marathon of patience and problem-solving. Soon it will be up to the rowers to pull the thing across Canada, but we will not forget what it took to get us in that seat.
Looking ahead, we see a slight delay in departure for the RoadBoat. However, Lea and Larry embark on their cross Canada journey tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. They are taking the 28 footer that is now loaded down with over $1000 worth of food, and many treasures of supplies. We are hoping for a Friday departure for the RoadBoat, but at this point in time, the only change in the schedule is for Jane and I to do longer driving days. So we're still on track!
Way to go team! It sure does feel like a team these days! Well done, everyone!
May 6, 2001
It was a dark and quiet evening that had dipped its toe into the next day by about 1.5 hours. Hunjar Purwanto of YESS Frames had just finished up his master welding session under the supervision of Daryl and Eric. We loaded the RoadBoat frame in the Ryder donated cube truck and the job now turned to me for the next step.
Now I have returned from this international journey whereupon I was fortunate to secure the services of Almet Heat Treatment. They have the only oven this side of the Mississippi and north of California that can handle our needs and they gave us the treatment for free! These are very generous and helpful folk. So now we have an incredibly strong frame. It needs some loving.
The heat treatment takes the aluminum to almost the melting point and then cools it back down. In order to cool it, they do something called "quenching". When aluminum is quenched, it reacts by contorting itself, which is why most people who heat treat items have a jig into which they can re-shape their treasured products. Having no such jig, our RoadBoat was tugged and yanked and strapped and jumped upon in order for it to come into line. How successful we were in this
endeavor remains to be seen. But it's all fixable and that is what we shall do.
(click here to see the latest)
May 1, 2001
Hello cross Canada enthusiasts,
Jane & I are 9 days away from getting into a motor home and towing the RoadBoat to the starting line for the Row for the Record. Holy smokes!
The RoadBoat is coming along very smoothly with the aid of our incredible partners. And every once in a while some of the rowing team gets in there and cuts, drills and grinds some pieces into shape. We'll be taking the frame down to Seattle for heat treating tomorrow night, then back to Vancouver for final welding and component assembly. After some testing, it's onto the trailer and off to Halifax! Simple!
This quick update has an invitation for you to become involved in the project. We have had some delays coming up with the corporate sponsorship necessary to cover all our costs, but the team has pulled together to pay for most of the trip's expenses. Out of an original budget of about $70,000, we are now only short about $5000 for gas money, but bound and determined to find it wherever we can. During last night's general meeting, RJ, our film maker, offered up an interesting idea. If anyone wanted to donate a minimum of $20 to the trip, we would put their name on the credits of the film he is creating! Have you ever been credited on a film? If not, here is your chance!
Last night's meeting was also a time to re-commit to the entire project for everyone involved. We have all spent more time, money and energy than we originally intended on this
endeavor, but we realize that if it were easy, there would be no challenge to it. During the journey, as in the preparation, we are expected to handle all manners of surprises. So there's our first one! Well, it's more like our 67th, and we've always managed to solve the others. This time, you can help too!
Please do not feel bad if you do not send us some dollars. We also need to have your support through enthusiasm and good wishes. It's all important to us. However, if you do choose to contribute to the project, please send an email to
robc@GTOonline.com and Rob will give you some details on where to send it.
In the meantime, we had a fabulous launch party at the Shark Club with over 120 people in attendance and having some of our sponsors meet team members, and vice versa. We raised some money and had some fun as we took a break from preparing ourselves for this adventure.
Dean was visiting from Ontario and the rowers did some training together. We cannot imagine doing all the long hours that he has done in complete solitude. What a dedicated rower and team player Dean has been. Coach Craig decided that we should finally try a real rowing shell, so we got into a 4 man boat on False Creek to see what it was all about. After about 1 hour of complete frustration and total ineptitude, we realized that land rowing is definitely our sport. Craig was amazed that we did not tip the boat with all the shenanigans we went through trying to stay upright. An eye-opening experience.
Our team is officially complete with the addition of a backup rower, massage therapist and bike mechanic. To celebrate the completeness of our team, we gathered at Trinity Western College for a day of team-building organized by Pinnacle Pursuits. The neat thing about this location is that it has a high ropes course which allowed our team to experience discomfort, panic, stress and emotional duress in the company of each other.
If you get a chance to read the Explore magazine article called "Row Warrior" in the June issue, you will notice that the writer seems to spend most of the time asking us the question "Why?". This obvious question is one that all of us seem to have to deal with every time we explain the project to anyone, but there is no answer. We may say that the reason is to raise funds and awareness for The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada (we have raised almost $4000 for them through corporate donation), or to break the record, but those are reasons we express mostly to appease the person asking. In reality, we are each inspired for individual reasons that may change from time to time. Much in the same way that people choose to go to work every day. Each day could be for different reasons.
And more importantly, the reason does not even matter. Once someone commits to do something, the reason is entirely irrelevant. The only thing that is important is whether or not they are committed to it. You may forget the original reason you feel like having pasta tonight, but it doesn't really matter as you're preparing it, or eating it, or cleaning up afterwards, because you have committed and you are involved in the process.
We are a team of 5 rowers, 8 support crew, 3 film crew and a very large group of sponsors, partners and friends who have committed to this project. We are leaving from Halifax on Monday, May 21st to make an attempt on the human powered record crossing of Canada. Is the reason important? Is the record important? Is this trip at all important for any reason whatsoever? The answers depend totally on who you are and how you feel when you're answering them.
For some who view it, it is an inspiration. For others, it is completely stupid. For us, it's an adventure, and a chance to remind people that anything is possible. Once you choose something and commit yourself to it fully, anything is possible. We are committed.
If for some reason, we do not make it all the way across Canada, we will rejoice because we have made the effort to achieve something challenging. If it were guaranteed, it would not be exciting, just a dull slog of misery. Instead, it is the essence of adventure, and we are very pleased to have you along for the ride!
April 11, 2001
It’s been a while since we've done an update on our row across Canada, but please do not worry since all is going very well!
The rowers are relentlessly continuing their training with April as the biggest mileage month yet. Included in the training this month is the splendid 200-kilometre day on Saturday, April 21st. For those of you in Vancouver who would like to visit the rowers, you can find them at English Bay from 2:00am to about 10:00pm with the best viewing time somewhere around 8:00pm or 9:00pm when they are at the end of their ropes, and most likely crying and whatnot. Come out and see the whiners! Don't miss it!
Within a week of that day, we are expecting to have a fully functional RoadBoat available for testing! This would be due to the incredible efforts of Daryl Musselman of First Principles Engineering, Bill and Hunjar of YESS Frames, Bob Eiffes at Arteck Precision and Eric Goss of Deep Cove Bike Shop. We’re very pleased to have this great team working on our little project to get it ready in time for departure, which is appears to be looming. The RoadBoat has gone through some big changes recently with the added intelligence of our engineer, Daryl. We only now realize how deeply over our heads we were, but we’re okay now! Pshew!
Two RV’s will depart from Vancouver on Wednesday, May 9th arriving in Halifax for May 17th. The entire team will be flying into Halifax to meet them and be put up by the Lakeview Inn and Suites and Keddy’s Halifax until it’s time to begin. It’s a great start to the adventure to enjoy some maritime hospitality.
Look for the team on Canada AM on either the 17th or the 21st as they prepare themselves for the big launch in Halifax. The producer wants to do an interview at the start and also at the finish. It would be nice to see those two interviews back-to-back on a tape. It would make the whole thing seem so simple!
To celebrate the launch in Vancouver, there will be a Launch Party on Saturday, April 28th at the Shark Club. Everyone is invited, with the fundraising tickets costing only $10 and includes a refreshing treat, as well as door prizes and maybe a chance to meet an actual rower on the trip! OOOO…Ahhhhhh…. The RoadBoat will be there too, making a guest appearance on the Georgia Street sidewalk. Please come out to wish the team a successful journey. Tickets can be arranged by emailing your interest to Kevin at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other news, you can find an article about the trip in the May/June issue of Explore, which is due out on April 12th. We have no idea if it is a favourable article or not, and it may have too much focus on Kevin, but you may want to check it out anyway.
Our film crew is growing, but our rowers and support team have been shrinking. We’re still on the hunt for a backup rower, a bike mechanic, and a masseuse to tour with us. We've got some people interested so let's hope it all works out very soon. It’s so much more fun when deadlines are approaching for this sort of thing!
We do however, have Bob Mackin Jr. joining us as our official journalist! Bob will make daily updates available to the nation’s newspapers, and he seems to know how to catch their attention since he does very well with that already here in Vancouver.
The RoadBoat crew has changed with Rob planning to stay here in Vancouver to manage the website instead of participating in the trip as the driver. And what a job he's done with the website! If you haven't visited yet, take a tour at www.rowingacrossCanada.com. So now we have Dean, Jono, Kevin, Mike and Neil performing rowing and driving duties. They will do an 8-hour shift of stroking and a 2-hour shift of steering. Everyone agrees that they would all love to have some practice time driving the beast before setting out on the journey, but that’s just because they’re being sissies.
That’s the latest news for now, but you can expect a couple of more reports before we push off on the 22nd. In the meantime, we appreciate your happy thoughts for us, and maybe we'll see you at a training session or the launch party.
Here’s hoping you find new challenges at every corner, and embrace them as the gift they are.
Thanks for your interest in our challenge!
The 100k-day -
Sunday, February 25, 2001
This past Sunday Jono, Mike, Neil and Kevin attempted to come close to Dean’s Saturday 100k effort. Prior to beginning, we had all agreed to take 15-minute breaks every 2 hours to simulate the stopping of the RoadBoat.
Dean had set an incredible time of 8:04 including the 45 minutes of breaks, and Mike decided to attack that record. To do so, he had to hold 2:08 splits (that means it takes 2 minutes and 8 seconds to do 500 metres) for the first 4 hours. Yikes.
Meanwhile, Neil was pretty close to Mike by pumping out 2:13 splits for the first two hours while Jono and Kevin moseyed about in the 2:22 and 2:28 pastures respectively.
The first 15-minute break was nice, but nothing too special since all rowers are quite comfortable with a 2-hour session by now. Back on the C2’s, Mike got faster by holding 2:07’s for the whole time! Neil came back to reality by joining Jono and Kevin in the 2:25 to 2:27 region, but after this session, the 15-minute break was very welcomed.
For the third period, Mike was able to experience the joy of "The Bonk" which brought him down to a more comprehensible 2:25 pace, and the rest of the group saluted him for his previous efforts. This was to be a difficult period for all rowers, but everyone cheered each other on to make it to the 15-minute break, but 15 minutes goes pretty quick when you’re resting.
Thank goodness we had some visitors to help us through the challenging moments of the fourth session. We calculated our distances remaining, set the C2’s and began. It was not entirely pleasing to place our tired bums on the seats, but there we were.
Everyone struggled to the finish line in complete awe of Dean’s 8:04. Mike still managed an impressive 8:33, Neil had earlier thought 50k would be enough, but he did the 100k in 8:56, with Kevin meandering in later with a 9:37 and Jono learning some nutritional lessons with his 9:51.
It was a fantastic experience with many levels of education. Each rower learned much about his individual needs. The next day uncovered much more information as some of us realized stretching would be a good thing to do more of, others noting that you can bruise your fingernails from the fleshy side if you row long enough, and many more exciting pieces of trivia.
Special thanks to Jane, Cheryl, Lisa, Eric and Maureen for coming out to cheer us on. Additional thanks to Melanie who tried to find us at the wrong lake. Thanks!
Next biggie is 150k at Kits Beach on Saturday, March 24th. Way to go team!