The Trails to Ottawa
Today was probably my most successful start of a day thus far. I had my tent packed up, and bicycle fully loaded before 8:00am. I even had the bike (and me) fully armed in rain gear as the clouds did not look promising. After a quick stop for breakfast I was on the road by 8:20am. Every now and then I noticed a VERY light mist and I was preparing for the downpour. However, after about 30 minutes on the road the skies cleared and I suddenly found my self overheating with all the rain gear on. So a quick pitstop to pack up the rain gear (and get some more Gatorade – I’m SO going to have diabetes by the time this is over!) was needed. Okay, side note. I’ve only had a few Gatorades in the last two days but it’s SO good (hey, another sponsorship option!). I’ve also been using some Electrolyte tablets. I’m not sure if they do any good but they taste like, well … not very good. And not to be too graphic (WARNING: I’m about to be too graphic), instead of “Lemon-Lime” or “Tropical Punch”, I think I would prefer if they just put “Urine-like Flavouring” – at least you know what you’re in for (like Buckley’s cough medicine!). I mean, those other pleasant names give you some level of expectations and those expectations get dashed pretty quickly. I don’t know what kind of Lemon-Lime or Tropical Punch the creators of these tablets had when they were growing up but they were seriously misled.
Okay, back on the road.
The first 30km was primarily on Highway 15 which didn’t have much of a shoulder but it was pretty flat. After a few turns I turned onto the Trans Canada Trail. It wasn’t paved but it was crushed gravel and a very stable surface on which to ride. Unlike the Cataraqui Trail, the crushed gravel surface was consistent for the next 30km. It was a beautiful ride. The scenery wasn’t anything particularly special, but with no cars to deal with and big rocks to avoid I made really good time. So good in fact that I was at the campsite “just” outside Ottawa before noon. Today was the much needed “easy” day which would allow me some recovery time.
Yeah, well … that didn’t really happen. After a mere 69km to get to the campsite I was planning on relaxing the day away but it was sunny and tomorrow’s supposed to be thunderstorms for the big Canada Day festivities so I figured I should go into Ottawa and check things out. The trail into Ottawa was a beautifully paved path the entire way. It may have been the easiest ride ever. On the downside, it turns out the campsite is a LITTLE further away than previously thought – as in about 22km. I knew that might be a bit of an issue when it came time to go back but at that point I was already committed.
I arrived at Parliament Hill at around 5:00pm where rehearsals and sound checks were taking place for tomorrow’s show. They were nearing the end of the show by the time I arrived but I did see Serena Ryder’s sound check which I thought was pretty cool.
After that, and I probably shouldn’t admit this I figured I should get something to eat as it was now about 9 hours and 90km since breakfast. I found a hot dog vendor on my way back to the trail and grabbed a dog to at least put something in my stomach. It wasn’t until I was about 5km from the campsite that I saw Baja’s Burgers along the beach. I may have heard angel’s singing. It was a long overdue burger and fries. I know, I know … still way less than I need to be eating, but I’m working on it. At this point it wouldn’t surprise me if I’ve dropped five pounds. Maybe I should start an over/under contest as to what my weight will be if/when I reach St. John’s.
Oh, and I almost forgot – I had a brief encounter with two deer on the trail as I was making my way back to the campsite. One was crossing the path, the other was walking along it right at me. I asked it to stop so I could get my camera out but apparently it had somewhere else to be. I managed to get a couple of shots but nothing worthwhile. No venison tonight.
So, I don’t have my trip computer with me at the moment but the ride to today’s campsite was 69.09km in a little over 3 hours but after my return trip into Ottawa the odometer was up over 115km. So much for an easy day. Tomorrow I’m planning on taking the shuttle into town – mainly because biking back on an unlit trail at 10:30pm seems kind of dumb – even for me!
Distance travelled: 116.78km
Time on bike: 5:40:46
Maximum speed: 44.75 km/h
Average speed: 20.56 km/h