Archive for the Travel category
July 31st, 2008
We got up early, knowing this was our last day on the road. We were riding at 8am, and got to Cornwall by 9:30. Spencer’s spoke supply was getting low, and he misplaced his spoke wrench the day before, so we stopped in at Bicycle World in Cornwall to pick up what we needed. Bicycle World was the best bike store I’ve ever been to. The people were super nice, and they even let us in a few minutes before their usual opening time, since they knew we were on a big trip.
Bicycle World in Cornwall
We stopped for lunch at a McDonald’s not far from the Quebec border. Shortly after lunch, we hit the border and took a few pictures. We met a nice French cyclist who rode with us for a bit and gave us some tips on the construction we’d encounter. We took Route Verte #5, which was a very nice bike path that went on forever. It followed alongside the Soulanges Canal, which used to be Quebec’s main shipping route before the St. Lawrence Seaway opened in 1959.
At the Quebec border
Around this time, I started feeling a weird pain in my right ankle/achilles area. It got worse as the day went on, but luckily I was able to continue riding.
Riding alongside the St. Lawrence in Quebec
When we reached the end of Route Verte, we were mostly on streets, going through some very nice little towns. Pat got his first flat tire around this time. Shortly after that, Spencer broke another spoke. We stopped for dinner in some little town at a roadside pub. At about 7pm, we realized we still had about 30km to go before we’d be in Montreal. We knew this was the homestretch, so we started riding hard. Along the way, we encountered a spandex rider on a fast-looking bike, so we started chasing him. We were on his tail for over 30 minutes, and Spencer caught him at one point, but then fell back to join us. We were ripping it up, averaging over 30km/h with our fully loaded bikes, gaining speed up hills, racing through the busy streets. It was a lot of fun, and I’d like to think we kinda scared the guy away, although he very well may have just been going home…
We continued along at a pretty quick pace, making it to our hotel in Montreal at 8:30 – at the same time Pat and Spencer’s girlfriends rolled up in their cab.
It was quite the adventure, with a lot of ups and downs, but it was tons of fun. Riding our bikes was a full time job for those four days, and I know I really pushed myself to my limits, both physically and mentally. It was a great feeling to make it to our destination, knowing we could just relax and enjoy Montreal for a few days. And to top it all off, we had a free bus ride home.
Distance covered: 160km
Total time on the road: 12.5 hours (8am to 8:30pm)
Total trip distance: 633km
Total time on the road: 48.5 hours
July 24th, 2008
We woke up on Day 3, had the hottest campsite showers ever and were on the road by 9:30am.
Packing up the morning of Day 3
Around lunch time, we stopped for Spencer to fix a spoke and we were surprised to see our friends Chris and Sandra pull up in front of us. They were in the Brockville area for the weekend, so we met up with them again once we got into Brockville and had some lunch.
In the late afternoon, the rain started up again. It got really dark and windy just as we got to Crysler Park, which is somewhere around Morrisburg. We took cover at the pavilion there for about an hour while we waited out the storm. The rain slowed down, so we took off and eventually made it onto this really cool forest trail. The rain started coming down hard again and it was getting dark quickly. We started to worry a bit about where we’d be able spend the night, but we kept on pedaling through the rainy forest and suddenly we found ourselves at the entrance to Farran Park campground.
Waiting out the storm at Crysler Park
Nice sunset between the rain storms
Riding through the rainy forest at night
The young sweetie at the front gate must have liked us boys, because she was really nice and gave us free camping for the night. We set up our tent in the rain and had a shitty night’s sleep because of the rain and extreme winds.
Distance covered: 140km
Total time on the road: 12 hours (9:30am to 9:30pm)
July 23rd, 2008
Day 2 started out kinda shitty. We got up fairly early to a rainy morning. I was feeling pretty bad, not physically, but mentally. I didn’t want to start my morning off riding in the rain. I think I was even secretly thinking we could take the day off and get to Montreal a day late.
Spencer was down to his last spoke, which broke on the way out of Pat’s cottage. We stopped off at a tourist booth to wait while Spencer took Pat’s bike across the bridge to Belleville to find a bike shop. Spencer returned at around 10:30am with some replacement spokes, fixed up his bike and we were off by 11am.
Tourist booth near Pat's cottage
Throughout the whole morning, the conditions were pretty bad. We were riding on fairly busy roads that didn’t have very good shoulders. The rain was coming and going, and we were riding into the wind for much of the time.
We stopped in Picton for lunch at Subway. It took me about an hour to eat my sub. I had a baby stomach for some reason, but it improved by the end of the day. After lunch, we took the Glenora Ferry across to Adolphustown, which led the way into Kingston. The ferry is part of the Loyalist Parkway (Hwy 33), and is free. The ride took about 10 minutes.
Once we landed on the other side, it was like a whole new day. The sun was shining, the winds were at our back, and the roads were nice and flat for as far as the eye could see. We were traveling as a pack, our mini peloton riding at a quick, yet easy to sustain pace for almost three straight hours.
Awesome straight roads with a nice paved shoulder
We made it to hilly downtown Kingston just in time for dinner, and we ate at a nice little pub. A short time later, we were in Gananoque, where some sort of biker weekend was taking place. We saw a lot of motorcycles, but didn’t run into any problems with the Hell’s Angels. We did however, run into a problem just outside Gananoque, when we took a wrong turn and got a bit lost. After riding for about 6km and not finding the campground we were expecting, we realized where we made the wrong turn and started heading back. That’s when Spencer broke another spoke and darkness started falling very quickly.
We struggled to get Spencer’s bike fixed quickly, trying to see what we were doing with flashlights. The mosquitoes were absolutely horrible and we got eaten pretty badly. Once fixed, we high-tailed it to the Landon Bay Campground in the dark. We were holding flashlights trying to see where we were going. It was pretty scary, but we made it to the park just after 10pm. They were closed, but there was a sign saying we could find a spot to camp and register later. We found a spot, set up the tent and went to bed. It was hot, humid and gross, and very difficult to sleep, especially with the thunderstorms and strong winds we had that night.
Distance covered: 160km
Total time on the road: 11 hours (11am to 10pm)
July 21st, 2008
lazy busy this past week…
As mentioned previously, we started off the day by meeting up at Spencer’s house for a little pre-ride sendoff party. We presented the money to Wyatt’s aunt, took some pictures and said our goodbyes.
The first day was by far the worst day. I was really discouraged a lot of the time, and felt like quitting and going home a few times. I just couldn’t picture doing this for three more days.
We were on the road for 13 hours, making it to Pat’s cottage at around 8:30pm. We covered 173km, which was the longest distance any of us had ever ridden in a single day.
I had two flat tires and Spencer broke four spokes, with no spares left.
When we finally made it to the cottage, I was really tired and could hardly breathe. It felt like my lungs were shutting down and just didn’t want to keep working. We did some stretching, which I think really helped with soreness and recovery. I slept really well that night.
Here’s a couple more from day 1:
Distance covered: 173km
Total time on the road: 13 hours (7:30am to 8:30pm)
June 24th, 2008
We leave for the big bike trip this Friday, and I’ve been stepping up the training these past few weeks. While doing some longer training rides, I’ve discovered a couple of things about being on a bike for an extended period of time.
First of all, I realized that if I’m going on a longer ride (more than 25km), the first 40 minutes to an hour is usually shit. I’m sure it’s all mental, and it’s definitely getting better, but I’ve noticed a few times that I’ll feel crappy or tired for no reason. I’ll usually think there’s no way I am going to make the distance and the thought of turning back home creeps into my mind a lot.
If I press on and push through the discomfort/pain/bad thoughts, the rest of the ride goes really well. I’ll pass a point where it seems like all of a sudden I’m “in the zone” and I could just keep riding all day. I think it’s probably similar to a runner’s high. I will ride for an hour straight and then sort of snap out of my trance and realize I’ve just gone a long distance, not totally sure how I got there.
At this point, I am as prepared as I can be for the trip. By Thursday, I will have put 1,000km on my bike this year. The hills are not as daunting as they used to be, and I almost look forward to some big climbs. The only thing I’m not sure about is riding long days back-to-back for four days straight. I think if I get enough rest, eat well and stay hydrated, I should be fine. The rest will all be psychological.
I’m really looking forward to this trip. I think it will be a great test of my abilities, and I’ll be pushing myself to the limit physically and mentally. I just keep thinking of the great feeling of accomplishment I’ll have when we roll into Montreal on June 30th.