Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Day 17: Another long day on the bike

Today was fairly uneventful.  I was planning to put in 130km,  but I was advised that there's a whole lotta nothing on the Trans-Canada after Fredericton until you hit Moncton, so I decided to just power on through the full 178km and get there today.

Unlike two days ago, today I was more prepared. I stocked up on water and food beforehand, and I had a specific target in mind rather than riding aimlessly until I found a destination. The one thing I need to keep in mind is that I need to leave earlier in the morning if I want to put in 150+km in a day. Otherwise I'm not left with any time to relax and take in the destination of the day.

Having said that,  I don't plan on making a habit of this. I'm very comfortable with 100-120km a day. Today was an exception,  and I don't have too many more scheduled rides beyond that distance. However, it's reassuring to know I can put in the extra miles if I need to.

I got up nice and early, unfortunately I didn't hit the road til much later.

Thanks for the recommendation, Charlene. Breakfast was great!

This was one of many lovely hills I had the good fortune of meeting today.

I was on the road a little later than intended today.

Finally arrived in Moncton.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Day 15/16: I found the middle of nowhere - it's on hwy105

On day 14, the Grand Falls locals recommended taking highway 130 if I wanted to avoid traffic on the Trans-Canada.  I thought highway 105 on the east coast of the St. John river looked like a more direct route,  but they didn't seem to have an opinion on it that I can remember.

Lesson for the day- Listen to the locals!

I rode 172km yesterday - though not by choice.  Highway 105 seemed great!  There was no traffic,  no anything. There were two rest stops in the first 25km - then nothing for the next 150km. No rest stops,  no motels, no stores,  and after I passed Hartland there wasn't even another town or exit for another 100km. I couldn't believe a road could go on for so long with only farms;  what were you supposed to do if you ran out of gas?

When I finally hit an exit to highway 102 on the other side of the river,  I took it - although having watched the other bank of the river all day I wasn't confident this road would be any better.  After 10km on the new highway I actually hit a motel! Unfortunately it was only open during the summer. Of course.

Fortunately the owners were around and took pity on me. It was freezing outside and they said the next closest motel was over 30km away, and I didn't have another 30km in me for the day. I ran out of water 50km ago, and was on my last pepperoni stick,  I needed to crash. They also said I was lucky I crossed over to 102 when I did,  otherwise I'd have been stuck until I hit Fredericton 70km later.

They made up a bed in one of the rooms for me and let me use the laundry room to shower since water wasn't hooked up to any of the units yet. I feel somewhat refreshed this morning, and the good news is I have less than 40km to go until Fredericton! From here on in I'm going to stick to recognizable routes or at least heed the advice of locals.

Several pics of the beautiful - and completely desolate - highway 105.

This was interesting.  The bridge was closed for an hour with no alternate route for dozens of kilometers. I decided to wait it out.

More tranquil - but desolate highway

Don't let the sign fool you - they're not open yet.

This morning. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Day 14: Two Weeks In

I'm 14 days (12 riding) into my trip and I'm very pleased with how things have gone so far. After 1261km, I'm on-schedule,  Gracie's holding up well,  and my body hasn't fallen apart yet.

I've spent today reassessing the next stages of my trip, changing routes, reallocating distances, and most important - giving my body a little recovery time. Little kinks and nags have been manageable so far,  but a day to let my muscles regroup has been very useful. I look forward to 4 days of 120km+ rides to get myself to Nova Scotia,  and hopefully the weather is on my side.

About to fly over Grand Falls.

I've got great video of the zip line ride that I'll post once I'm able to get it off the usb drive.

Here I am at my local Grand Falls Pub for the night,  with my new friends Jean Eudes, Sylvain, and Carrolle.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Day 13: Au Revoir, Quebec!

There was no sun today, but it was cool and dry; good day for a ride. I left the motel at 10am and seemed to be up and down hills all day. Unlike riding along the St. Lawrence where the elevation shifts felt consistent and gradual, the last two days heading inland have been full of sharp up and downs.

The good news is that I put in 144km today,  bringing me into New Brunswick! It probably took me longer than it should have due to the hills, but it felt like a good ride nonetheless.

As I've said before,  I like hills.  Unfortunately they really slow me down when I'm trying to make good time. It looks like the next two days of riding will be more of the same. I'm looking forward to it,  but it means most of the days will be spent on the bike without much downtime at each day's destination,  so I'm going to take tomorrow off and relax in my current destination - Grand Falls.

Today's and part of yesterday's elevation chart.

Elevation chart for the next two days. 

 Yes, most places here are still frozen.

 Refueling before I hit New Brunswick.

Grand Falls, NB.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Day 12: Aaawwwww...

New rule - no more complaining. Weather is going to suck, rides are going to be challenging, and some days I just won't be motivated. But I'm pretty lucky to be able to do this trip, and today reminded me of that.

It was cool, sunny and dry. That's all I was asking of today - but it decided to over-deliver. I rode through the most beautiful landscape on a highway almost completely devoid of traffic.  It felt like I had the world to myself,  and I could have kept riding forever.  This was exactly as I imagined the trip when I started,  and I couldn't be more impressed with this country.

The other great part of today is that I finally got to get in some really nice climbs.  The elevation rose from 5m to 450m throughout the day over several climbs. Going into this ride I was concerned about Gracie's weight going uphill, but so far I'm loving the climbs.  I might not be saying that when I have to leave Hope BC next month,  but for now I feel pretty good about Gracie on the hills.

I put in a solid 134km today. I left Saint-Jean Port-Joli this morning, passed through Rivière-du-Loup, and I'm now about 45km from the New Brunswick border on highway 185. I would have kept going, but the sun was failing and with a lot of big trucks on this highway I need to be certain they can see me. I can't wait to go back out tomorrow!

Note - all of these pics were taken directly from the highway.

 Yes please!


 I'm sure this town name makes perfect sense, but I found it amusing.

My bed for the night.