LYONS BROOK — Lloyd McLean has achieved his personal best time on the Confederation Trail while raising funds and awareness for the local SPCA.
McLean started at Tignish, P.E.I. at 6:30 a.m. under pleasant conditions that became more challenging over the day.
“I did reach my goal just in the nick of time to break my personal record,” he said. “There was no wind and by the time I got to Summerside it was already 30 degrees C.”
McLean was continually passing his checkpoints ahead of schedule, which meant it was difficult for his support vehicle to locate him and resupply him with water. Lack of cellular phone service in parts of the province also complicated matters.
His early success of maintaining an average speed of 26 kilometres per hour resulted in him riding for almost an hour without water.
“I continued at the same pace, placing all my hopes that my support vehicle would find me,” he said.
The rear tire on McLean’s bike was punctured twice near Kensington. He was able to plug the holes but was uncertain if the plugs would hold.
“My plan now was to change to the back-up bike to ensure I was not caught in the middle of the island walking with my bike,” he said. “(It was) bad enough the mosquitoes would swarm around me, but I could not afford to lose that much time.”
McLean finally met up with his wife Andrea Haughan in Hunter River which was exactly half the 273km distance from Tignish to the finish in Elmira. It allowed him to get re-hydrated and switch to the back-up bike.
“Now the battle was not dehydration, but against the clock,” he said. “I had a long climb from St. Peters to almost 10 kilometres within the finish and, now fighting the odd muscle cramp, I willed my legs to keep pedalling.
“I sprinted the final few kilometers, pedaling as fast as I could make my legs go and skidded to a finish two minutes and 46 seconds less than the 12 hour goal I had given myself.”
Lloyd McLean stands with his bike on Friday at the start of his bike ride along the length of P.E.I. (Submitted photo)