Thursday, July 12, 2012

Potatoes And Sweat

Montmagny - Riviere-du-Loup - 145 km

I have to say that the ride on this day was one of the most scenic on the trip.  Views of the St. Lawrence were constantly on my left and to the right there were rolling farms and ancient mountains in the distance. I had The Decemberists in my head phone for most of the ride because it just seemed to fit the terrain. To make the point I actually ran across two ladies painting on the side of the road.  They didn't speak any English but I managed to fumble out 'Puis-je vous prendre en photo?' (I don't think it sounded like that though) and they agreed. To the right is also the view they were painting.  All in all it was a easy day on fairly flat roads after the big day before. Grabbed some groceries in Riviere-du-Loup and then found a place to camp for the night.

On this day I learned:
- There are lots of cyclists in Quebec.
- Its cool to roll though a town that was established in 1700's
- The St. Lawrence is a GIANT river

Riviere-du-Loup to Grand Falls - 180 km

On this ride I hit my 7th province and said goodbye to Quebec. The road gets hilly when you head south and leave the St. Lawrence behind. The boarder was only about 50 k away from where I was camped so I made it there in good time and did a little dance on my bike after some pictures.  It is crazy that I am this far and being that I am dealing with the distance every day verse the trip as a whole its hard to reflect and get perspective. Boarders slap me in the face and give me that perspective a bit.  So with that pump up I rolled into Edmundston to grab some lunch.

Somewhere a long the way I have expanded my Tim Hortons lunch budget.  At the beginning of this trip I would spend 6-7 dollars for lunch there and that was why I liked it. It was cheap and good and I knew what I was getting.  I rolled to my table with 16 dollars worth of The Hort...and I could eat more. I am going to miss guilt free donuts when I am done this trip. In the parking lot I ran into some conservation officers and chatted with them for a while about my trip.  I love the reactions from different people.  It is awesome that many people try to give me cash for Peloton65 but I direct them to the web.  I would have a large stack of cash though and it goes to show that Canadians are good people looking to help.

So I continued on to Grand Falls.  Very cool little town with a crazy gorge right in the middle of it.  Same routine as the night before grabbing some groceries and then off to find a place to camp.  The day was not too hot and the wind was at my back for most of the day so I rolled into town early and had a bit of time to explore.  Ate some poutine before heading out to the camping spot.  I will not and cannot get sick of poutine.

At camp I had a long chat with Don Theriault who was from the area, retired and now makes carvings out of moose antlers.  I have to say that the people of New Brunswick have been some of the nicest I have met along the way. Friendly, helpful and very interesting.

Yesterday I learned:
- You can dance on a bike but I am pretty sure I looked like an idiot
- Conservation dudes are cool
- I can eat more than obese people at Tim Hortons

Grand Falls to Fredericton - 210 km

I got out of my tent early and immediately realized that the wind was going to be in my face. Not a good thing when you are planning a 200+ day.  So I got my grind on.  The wind got much stronger as the day got warmer and pretty soon I was crawling along.  It was a slow painful day but at least the sun was out and even though it was slow at least the wind was cooling me off as I rode.  I stayed on the 130 for most of the morning and around 12:30 I was rolling into Florenceville one of the conservation officers that I met the day before saw me and pulled over his truck.  His name is Ed Sipprell and he directed me to the local Tims.  Ed was awesome as I ate we figured out a good route.  He was born and raised in the area and was pointing out things to see and a way to avoid the wind into Fredericton.  We decided I should hit the 104 by taking a cross section on the 585.  The route was so much better. Trees close to the road made the wind lighter and gave me occasional shade but man was it hot out. I was sweating buckets all day today.

I took a break to check out the longest covered bridge in the world at Hearland and drink as much as I could. I am a little bummed that I am missing the Potato Festival on the 21st.  Everywhere you look here its all about the taters.  McCain's is headquartered here and there are large factories every where you turn as well as huge fields of potatoes.  Hey if that is where poutine comes from then this place filled with nice people and potatoes dominates in my opinion.

The route Ed pointed out was awesome until I tried to modify it a bit at the 180 km mark.  I decided to jump on the 616 over Keswick Ridge. A road with the name Ridge in it should have tipped me off that this was a mistake.  Everything was fine as I rolled along and came to a lake about half way through.  After the lake however came the ridge part....HOLY CRAP was it a steep hill.  It was about 2 km of wall and I actually thought that I was seeing things.   I knew there was no turning back so into my easiest gear and away I went.  I couldn't sit and pedal and the only way I could keep going was to stand and use all my weight on the pedals.  I crawled up this thing basically at a walking pace. It was ugly as I was weaving all over the place dragging my 75 lbs worth of bike up the hill. At the top I had to stop as I was on the edge of puking.  It was the first time on this trip that I was out of breath and my head was swimming.  Stupid detour...I limped into Fredericton and I really hope that I didn't ruin myself for tomorrow.

Today I learned:
- Potatoes......Potatoes everywhere....
- The hardest day on the trip was today
- The hardest hill on the trip was not in the mountains
- Walmart has everything

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