To Blind River

I learned a lot of things today, travelling with Dino and the Wanderers. Like what clothes can and cannot be removed while riding a bicycle, and why it’s good to drink hot beverages when it’s hot out, and that heat rash combined with saddle sores is not fun for anyone. Lots of learnings, today.
I woke up quite early this morning knowing that I had a lot of things to pack up as I had been quite lazy last night. I popped over to the adjacent Walmart hoping to get bananas, which they were out of yesterday, and gas for Dino’s stove, and possibly some coffee from the connected McDonald’s. That’s what it’s come to. They had none if these things. This is why I don’t shop at Walmart.
Bryan’s back wheel of his recumbent needs to be replaced, and due to the technical nature of it, it will take a few days (to order parts and then spoke a new wheel and rim), so he will be staying in Sault Sainte Marie for a while longer, and I will continue on.
Dino was blogging and chatting, and rides faster than me, so I set out earlier than her. I turned right out if the campground and was about to make a left at the lights to get on the highway when I realized this was the wrong way. So I turned around and proceeded down a hill. Disaster averted.
A couple of kilometres in I was super happy. The downward sloping road was nicely paved, had a huge shoulder, and was very quiet. Too quiet. Something was wrong. This is not the highway. I should have made my original turn instead of second guessing myself. I had to climb back up the hill and wound up adding 6.5 kilometres to the 133km day. I was less than super happy.
Once I actually got on the correct road, the ride was not so bad. I was going to take a route that the owner of the bike shop had recommended in order to avoid some of the traffic on highway 17, but because of construction this route involved a loose gravel road. I’m not so much into loose gravel roads, especially with my beautiful new tires. So, I got into the highway and braved the traffic, which was really not that bad at all. I don’t want to say that there were rolling hills today, because the grades were not that steep. There were rolling inclines though, interspersed with a lot of flat land. It was a very nice break – I don’t expect to see any more big hills until Newfoundland.
As I was riding a bug flew into my chest really hard. I think it was a hefty sized bee. I swatted it away but it left a sizeable dent. All my swatting achieved was rubbing sweat and sunscreen into this dent causing a stinging sensation. It stung for about 5 minutes and was not very enjoyable. I stopped to squirt some water on it and a motorcyclist whistled at me. Seriously? I’m standing on the side of the highway, out if breath and in pain, covered in sweat and poorly rubbed in sunscreen, trying to make my chest wound stop stinging, and the best you’ve got is a whistle? He’s a part of the 10%.
I stopped in Bruce Mines at about 1:30 to cool off and have something to eat. I wasn’t really hungry when I sat down, I was mostly just trying to avoid the hottest part of the day. It was 35 degrees today, plus humidity. It was gross.
After I had eaten a burger Dino arrived and she had some pancakes with local maple syrup, which looked really good. The Wanderers then pulled up and we sat and chatted in the air conditioned restaurant for a while. After refilling water bottles we were off. Apparently, the Wanderers are very fast riders compared to me. They attribute their speed to their drop handle bars, but I suspect something else is at play (ie their level of overall fitness). They flew past me. Up a hill.
I kept plugging along with Dino and the Wanderers ahead of me. In the last 30km or so, I started to hear thunder in the distance and noticed a storm moving in. While a rain shower would have been welcomed, it never happened. Sadly. I did start to develop heat rash though, which was just so much fun. Apparently the others are also suffering, which was not a comfort. This heat rash is in the one place a cyclist (and most other people) would not want a painful rash. It’s making life substantially more difficult.
I finally arrived at the campground and had a much needed shower and meal. It’s great riding and camping with these girls, a they are a blast to be around and all around awesome people. We will be separated tomorrow when we take different routes, and I will be riding and camping on my own for the first time since entering Ontario. I was looking forward to it, but I think I will miss the good company.

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5 thoughts on “To Blind River

  1. Hey Katharine,
    I’ve been reading your blog and I’m completely enjoying it … especially since it’s you on the bike in this crazy heat. Not me! You’re doing great, and I hope you continue to enjoy the ride!

  2. Yahoo, it works – for some time, the posting stopped working for me. So many comments to make, but all dated now. Have read each posting eagerly. Missed you while you (or your iPhone?) disappeared! You are some amazing woman – enduring the bugs, the heat the silly comments (like maybe this comment)! After this feat, you will be able to take on any challenge in life. Great that you have had some camaraderie recently. Hope the heat rash is improving!!?? Are you in coffee with milk terrain yet? You are one amazing woman!

    • Nice to hear from you again! Sorry you weren’t able to post.
      I have given up and started taking cream in my coffee. It’s gross but what are you going to do?
      The weather has improved slightly today, so I am hopefully recovering from my heat rash – only time will tell.

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