Suggested Listening: Non, Je ne regretted rein
Total Distance Cycled: 1268km
Saint Germain to Delegis: 126km
After our long and hot ride yesterday we figured we deserved a sleep in today so we opted to stay in bed until 7am. I remember thinking to myself we “only have 136km today to cycle today. How hard could it be? The answer: pretty damn difficult! Compared to the 160km we finished the day before in the heat today felt both easier and more challenging for me in some ways. When I asked Shantel to reflect on the day of riding for her it was perhaps the toughest. We got on the road at about 8:15am without having had much to eat.
Our first goal for the day was to make it the short distance along the 132 to a restaurant that our Air BnB host Melanie mentioned would probably be open early in the morning. Unlike yesterday though it was cold and wet this morning. It was so cool in fact that Shantel and I needed our jackets at first. Putting them on also doubled as protection from the mosquitoes which were hungry for us. We both got a few decent bites. It had rained last night and was trickling down a little bit here and there, but not enough for concern. It didn’t take long though before we got hot again and needed to take off our jackets. It seemed as though at this rate we’d never make it to the hotel. Having emptied her tank on yesterday’s ride Shantel was having a tough time this morning and I admittedly wasn’t moving to much quicker myself. Riding straight into the strongest headwind we had encountered on the trip so far wasn’t t helping our progress either. I think it was around 9am when we arrived at Le Racoin. It instantly reminded me of “Sleeping is for Sissies” which was a place in BC that Wade and I had breakfast with my friend Marya one day on the first part of the Ride to Remember. Unfortunately, it was much more expensive and didn’t blow me away. The food we got was good (toast, fruit, hash browns, coffee, a fruit smoothie, and a cashew creme covered pancake), but over-priced for the portion sizes which we thought were pretty small (but maybe that’s the hungry cyclists stomach talking). Once we finished we eating we slowly got on our way again.
Still hungry after our breakfast we ended up stopping at an A&W for a quick snack at about 11:15. Devouring a beyond meat burger each pretty quickly we continued riding along. It was around 45km into our day that we then found ourselves in a predicament. The route we were following from Google had led us to a gravel/dirt trail for cycling and said we’d stay on it for 63km. Riding on a path has some great perks – the most obviously I think being we don’t have to worry about traffic. They also usually offer better views than the road. Unfortunately though they usually slow our pace quite significantly unless they are really hard packed clear and/or not too sandy. The stet of this trail didn’t look promising. We rode on it for a short bit and I found myself getting frustrated quickly with how slow we were moving.
When we came to a point where the trail was split briefly by a road we decided we needed to take a moment or two to consider out options. After looking at the map it looked like we could either stay on this trail or we could take the Transcanadienne (Trans Canada) highway which would in fact also reduce our distance by 10km. Once we decided which route we were taking it meant we were pretty much all in since switching between the two probably wouldn’t be possible often. Choosing either option came with potential risks and rewards. Having cycled on the Trans Canada highway before I knew we could expect some heavy high speed traffic, but that the cycling surface could go either way – we might get a nice wide shoulder or we could end up with a narrow broken up shoulder that has us riding next to the rumble strip. Ultimately after weighing our options we decided to try the highway. I knew we’d be missing out on some nice views, but the idea of traveling so slowly for so long after our slow morning seemed like our hands were sort of being forced. While it’s impossible to know if we made the right decision or not what Shantel and I can both agree upon is that riding on the Transcanadienne highway was both torture and terrifying. Even though for a sizeable chunk of it we had a shoulder paved wide shoulder there was plenty of other places where the shoulder was basically non existent or so awfully broken up that it made riding on it miserable. On top of this we had some absolutely brutal up hill throughout the day. Besides the super duper crazy steep hill earlier into the day that I had to zigzag my way up in order to not fall down there were several long and exhausting uphills. The downhills that came after them never seemed worth it. In addition to this there were alsl two 7% grade hills to go down which were terifying. These were made even more terifying as semi trucks, cars, camper vans, etc kept zooming dangerously close to us.
After experiencing the torture and terror for a while I decided is had enough and we agreed to search for alternatives route. Fortunately us when we liked at the map there was a nearby overpass we could take which would eventually lead us back to the trail. Getting away from the traffic made the trail seem even more amazing. Still though with about 25kms left to travel we couldn’t waste much time we moved as quickly as we could. The trail and views from it quite nice as well and were easily the best part of the ride for Shantel and I. Even though we missed out on the nice trail views for a lot of the ride we made our decision on the information we had and agreed we both have no regrets.
It was 5:15pm when we arrived at the hotel. We were excited to see a Metro grocery store across a the street and decided we’d get our dinner from there after we checked into our room and of course went straight into showering and stretching. The place we are staying at tonight is probably the nicest hotel we have all trip. Our room is quite large and has two beds. While it’s unlikely that we will use both the option to totally spread out is a bit tempting.
Once we felt settled into the room we went to Metro to get food. Shopping on a empty stomach is never a good idea and it’s even worse of when we you’ve cycled all day. As we checked out and made it back to our too we decided to watch an episode of newest season of Suits and enjoy your dinner. It didn’t take long for us to realize we’d bought way too much food and now will be stuck carrying it with us tomorrow. On the plus side it should mean that we don’t need to stop for breakfast or lunch.
Once we’d finished stuffing our faces we went down to enjoy the hotels pool and hot tub. Soaking in the hot tub felt so good on our sore muscles and cooling down in the pool was so refreshing. In the pool we met a middle aged couple from Nova Scotia we talked to about the trip which was nice.
After we had spent as much time as we got handle in the hot tub we made our way back to the room to shower. Waiting for us in the fridge was dessert we picked up at Metro – coconut ice cream. We decided to watch another episode of Suits and enjoy it. Having procrastinated working on the blog and Instagram long enough we got to work on our own tasks.
Tomorrow we’re off to Perth Andover in New Brunswick to stay with relatives of Shantel. It will be our third province of the trip and my first time going to New Brunswick. I’m pretty excited about it. For though it’s time I get some rest so I have enough energy to make it through the 130 or so kilometers we have ahead of us.