To Val-Brillant

You know what would be awesome? If I was capable of following even the simplest of instructions. For example, when the guidebook says to turn right when highway 132 forks, it would be great if I actually turned right, instead of continuing straight.
Do you know why this would be great? So many reasons! First of all, I would not have had to add an extra 30km to my ride today. Second, I could have had a nice and gentle incline instead of a series of 9% grade hills full of potholes. So many reasons!
But no, I could no follow these simple instructions. So no, I did not enjoy a steady but gradual incline. And no, I did not do the prescribed 95km ride today. And no, this will probably not be the last time I miss my turn.
On the upside, the views were beautiful. For most of the day I was riding beside a very wide part of the Fleuve Saint Laurent, which was gorgeous. For the rest of the day, I was riding beside equally gorgeous farmland. They are growing all kinds of crops here, or there are a huge variety of weeds. I’m not a horticulturalist, and have no knowledge of farming. Either way, it was nice to look at.
Also, I passed a reindeer farm. Or whatever they’re actually called when they’re not pulling Santa’s sleigh.
All day, my bike was making a weird noise. I did my standard systems check this morning – brakes were good, screws were good, chain and gears were good, everything looked good. But something was rattling and I could not figure out what! I decided to attribute the sound to my chain needing cleaning. It was well oiled but had become a bit gritty, which can sometimes make a noise.
But no, that was not the case. While I had thought the sound was coming from my front wheel, it was in fact coming from the rear wheel. While I had check my front spokes for tightness and alignment, I had not checked the rears spokes well enough. I popped a spoke on my rear wheel, which is not awesome. It’s also not something I can fix. I asked around and apparently there’s a bike shop in Amqui, which is about 13km from my campground tonight, so I will pay them a visit tomorrow. I only noticed the broken spoke 10km away from this evening’s campground. Realistically, I’ve been riding on a broken spoke for about 75km over terrible asphalt, so I figure another 25km won’t do too much damage. I hope.
Congratulations Quebec. You’ve managed to do what the other provinces could not. With your shitty roads, you broke my bike. Chapeau. (This is my new favourite Quebec expression – it basically means “hats off” for a job well done. I think it’s fitting.)
So, all in all, today was not as expected. I rode an extra 30km, went up and down some ridiculous hills, and broke a spoke. But, there’s free wifi at the campsite, so it’s cool.

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