That was a day. It was one of those days when I could convince myself to get on the bike, but that was about it. “What? I have to ride again? But I just did that yesterday!” Basically the only thing that kept me going was that in Pembroke I would get to stay with a friend and I wanted to get there soon (tomorrow). I knew that every kilometre I did today would mean one less kilometre to do tomorrow, and getting to Pembroke that much sooner.
After convincing myself that I would eventually have to get out of my sleeping bag, I packed everything up and dragged my butt onto my seat. I had to cycle 12km from the campsite through North Bay just to get onto the highway. Not the best choice in campsites, but there you go. After the first big hill into a headwind, I realized this was going to be a long day. My goal of about 135km was not looking great.
Yesterday there were towns every 20 or so kilometres so there was always a place to stop to refill water or use the bathroom. Today though, I was cycling just north of Algonquin park, so it was a bit more desolate. This meant that whenever I did find civilization, it was easier to find excuses to pull over. I stopped at a little motel and restaurant in middle-of-nowhere-ville and had breakfast. Then I had tea. Then I had coffee. I was just not ready to be on the bike this morning.
When I finally got going again I was moving quite slowly and decided to abandon my odometer and speedometer. They were just making me sadder.
By my next stop it was 3:00 and I was only about 63km into the 135km ride. I decided that if I wanted to really make it to the campsite tonight I would just have to go for it. I got on my bike and pedalled. I got a second wind and things were looking up. Up and down I went, along the edge of the Ottawa river. At the top of a giant hill, I knew by the elevation map in my guidebook that I was close. It was an awesome and rewarding ride down the hill to the campsite. I got there just before 8, so I actually made pretty good time this afternoon.
I went to the registration office and realized I was really, really hungry. Too hungry too have civilized conversation. I paid, went to my site and sat on the ground to eat. I had several meals and snacks throughout the day, but my crazy metabolism had used up all of my energy, and I was wiped. I cooked some dinner and ate it by the river, then had an amazing shower. I love nice showers, it makes the end of the day that much better. I’m glad I rode so far today because I know there will be more headwind tomorrow, so it will be good to only have to do 80km to Pembroke.
Photo: view of the Ottawa River. I know what you’re thinking – haven’t we see enough photos of sunsets? Probably, but here’s another!