Monday, September 03, 2012

City Walk 2012 -- Check!

It's a whole new game. The score is tied at 3 victories a piece.

I left the house at 4:40am--10 minutes behind schedule. I have often had company for this section of the journey, but this year I was on my own.

The first new thing for this trip is the new Tim Horton's in Stonebridge. I availed myself of a little pick-me-up and headed East. The morning was cold and calm. The moon looked over my shoulder as I headed out parallel to the railroad tracks. All the rain we've had this summer meant healthy plant growth and the cool morning was heavy with dew. My shoes were shortly soaked through and I found it necessary to pause every couple of hours to strip off my shoes and dry them in the sun.

A major change from previous years is that I didn't take a "real" camera. I had only my trusty iPhone3GS. I was feeling unsure about my ability to complete the trek this year and I was concerned about the extra weight a camera would add. That and Environment Canada predicting rain throughout the day meant that my Pentax stayed safely at home. Today, looking through all the great pictures from past years and observing the lack of 24hr precipitation, I'm regretting that choice.

To help minimize said regret... here is on of my favorite pictures from 2007.
Djaii does his best to stop to the "trash compactor" on the detention level
My favourite routing decision of this year was the addition of the wet river crossing. Wendy convinced me to give it a try and offered to swim it with me. With a 3/4 wet suit and life jacket, there was really nothing that could go wrong. On the contrary, I couldn't believe how much I enjoyed it. Next time I will definitely make the swimming leg last longer.

Me and 2 crucial members of this year's support crew
The swimming thing brings me to an important point. I could not have done the swim if I had stuck to my original concept of what the city walk was. Initially, I envisioned it as a very solitary walk. Not that other people couldn't come, but that it was each persons job to make it on their own power; your only support was to be the company of the others. As such, you would have to carry everything that you might need for the entire day--although we always allowed purchase of drinks and food (i.e. foraging). As it turns out, while there is something appealing about this 'purist' model, it certainly isn't the most fun.

Wendy drove out to see me 5 times yesterday, essentially spending her entire day supporting my outing. Each time she offered me coffee, soda, dry clothes and other niceties. She and the girls brought me a picnic lunch. I had 8 different people walk/swim with me. I had verbal or text exchanges with perhaps 15. At times, when I wasn't sulking or wishing it would all be over, it was positively festive. Over the last several years Wendy has helped me revisualize my city walk as a celebration in which others can participate in many ways--only one of which is walking. Okay, that's getting a bit inclusive and positively mushy. I'll just leave it there.

To assist me in feeling more manly again, I'll provide you with a photo of the huge and awesome caterpillar that I avoided stomping shortly after noon. It was very solid feeling and reared its head in positively Dune-like fashion.

Huge spike on tail (1.5cm), sadly not shown in this photo :(
My time to completion yesterday was 17h 24min. I hobbled into the house at 10:04pm--within 4min of my estimate.

Below is the map containing data points from all three of my successful walks. The part we care about at this point is the blue line. You can see where it diverges from the previous aqua and orange lines which gives you an indication of where neighbourhoods have expanded.

View Mik's City Quest in a larger map

Lots of you followed my google+ posts yesterday, which I have to say was really nice. I felt like I had company all day long. On a marathon undertaking like this, it can be pretty important.

A few more stats:
  • Total time17h 24min
  • 66km (as plotted on the Google Map of my 3 completions) 
  • Accompanied for 34km (I think that's a record when I've finished Nope, looks like David did 34.8km in 2006 and James did 36km in 2008)
  • saved 7km or 1-1/12hrs by swimming. 
  • So without swimming the total would have been about 72km--about 2 more than in 2008.
  • 1.5L of water, 700ml coffee, 650ml diet soda consumed
I thought the more desperately bored of you might enjoy browsing an album containing City Walk photos from 2006-2008 and 2012