Day 5: Cornwall to Montreal (The Road to Friendship)

Suggested Listening: Relentless by Arkells

Total Distance Cycled: 708km

Cornwall to Montreal: 138km

Waking up a 6am again today was a struggle. I’ve never been a “morning person” and after hours of riding all day the temptation to want to stay in bed I strong. After snoozing only once again this morning though we managed to get ourselves out of bed and pack things up in pretty decent time. From there we had a quick peanut butter bagel breakfast and set off on the road after saying our goodbyes to Ang and Rich. This was our probably by a few minutes our earliest start yet and it felt good to start making progress towards our ride while most folks still lay in bed or head off to work. 

Our ride started along the #2 Highway, and continued on a service road as we made our way through South Lancaster stopping at the Tim Hortons there to use the washroom and get a bit of extra food to keep us going (hash browns and Beyond Meat Sausage, Lettuce, Tomato sandwiches).

It was around 9:30am with very little notice and signage that things changed from English to French and we entered in Quebec. With a big sign welcoming us into the province it didn’t carry the same excitement as a provincial crossing might otherwise have roused in us. We did still stop to get a photo in front of the sign since it seemed sensible to do so. Once we started riding in Quebec it didn’t take long two realize two things quite quickly. 1) Quebec has done a really great job of prioritizing cycling infrastructure. 2) Quebec has done an awful job of maintaining the road conditions. So wile it was quite pleasant to have dedicated cycling pats for a great deal of our day the pleasure of it was definitely dampened from the often ver bumpy nature of the road. We made our best effort to push to get some kilometres in before the heat came in the afternoon and it’s good we did so because around 11:45am we both started to feel it and needed a break. Thinking it was just going to be a short break we opted for Subway. After being there a while we needed a bit of rest and didn’t rush to set off.

From there we pushed on until hitting Montreal. It was around then that I started to feel some pain in my left knee… nothing major, but enough to cause some worry and keep an eye on. During the ride I was pleasantly surprised that the traffic wasn’t much of an issue because of the cycling paths/trails. GPS appeared to be our enemy in town since it often missed out on construction which was an annoyance. Our pump up song of choice was Relentless by. Arkells and it seemed fitting given how relentless and determined we are to complete this ride and fundraise as much as we can. Once we were in Montreal we really started to feel the effectives of the sun and felt drained. On top of this we were both feeling a fair bit of pain today in our backsides. I was hurting so much I was pretty much ready to throw my bike saddle away and buy something else. I was even ready to pay the money for pressure mapping so might be able to give me a better idea of what might work better for my body. We went to three different stores and none could do the mapping. The first store was super helpful though as they cleaned and lubed our chains for free. In the first shop we met a customer named Bobby that was curious about our ride. It turns out he had been thinking about doing something similar as his sister was diagnosed with Alzheimer. We passed him along a card and Shantel even invited him to come join us for a day of riding tomorrow. He seemed genuinely interested, but the last minute nature of things didn’t make it likely. They store tighten my saddle which I’ hopeful will help at least a bit. The second shop we went to also get some great advice and suggestions and confirmed that I was fitted for the bike well. The third and final shop was so brief as all we did was ask about pressure mapping which they didn’t. Ultimately I opted not to buy another saddle (largely because there are no guarantees another saddle will be an better and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on something I might be unhappy with right away.

After visiting the three cycling shops and having no luck we decided to finally make our way to my friend Nicola’s apartment. I haven’t seen Nicola in years, but we have stayed in touch online a bit. With that said I was looking forward to finally seeing him and catching up a bit. It was about 6pm when we arrived. Once we carried our bikes up to his place he introduced us to his lovely mother and gave us a tour of the place. It’s quite a nice apartment. From there we proceeded to get spoiled for the rest of the night! It started with some incredibly refreshing and delicious virgin pina coladas and fresh fruit. It was absolutely perfect after the long day outside. From there Shantel and I stretched and showered while Nicola prepared us a great pasta dinner wit some delicious salads made by his mom. And just when I didn’t think things could get any better he surprised us with cashew ice cream with fruit and also vegan ice creams. It was like heaven on earth! Shantel and I jumped on the opportunity to enjoy the delicious treat.

After dinner Shantel rested for a bit and gave Nicola and I some time to catch up on our own which was really nice. Our conversation spanned a pretty wide spectrum and including politics, veganism, work, cycling, environmentalism, music, and Dungeon and Dragons. After some rest Shantel joined us as we all chatted some more before calling it a night at 10:30pm so I could finish writing the blog.

Tomorrow we’re heading to Trois Rivieres where we will be staying with some folks Shantel knows. It should be about a 140km trip. Here’s to hoping we have good weather the whole way!

Love, Peace, and Bike Grease,

Nate

PS: To my other Montreal friends – sorry I wasn’t able to make time to see you all. I would have really liked to do so, but things were just too rushed. Hopefully I am able to make I back again sooner than later.

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