It Had To Happen Eventually
Baie-Johan-Beetz, QC to Natashquan, QC
So, my last update ended with me in my wind blown tent, surrounded by mosquitos, as I listened to the waves roll up along the shore. With the exception of the mosquitos, that paints a pretty nice picture. Well, that picture changed a bit a few hours later. Around 2am actually. The wind was now howling, my tent was flapping a lot yet holding defiantly firm, and it was now raining. On the upside, everything that was supposed to be outside was staying there, and everything on the inside was staying dry. It was just getting very noisy.
I drifted in and out of sleep for the rest of the night. Waking up each time to the sound of rain. This was not looking good for tomorrow (ie. today). My attempts to drift into slumber got shorter and shorter as morning arrived. And the rain continued. Looks like I was finally going to experience packing up my tent in the rain.
As I mentioned yesterday, I was considering staying in Baie-Johan-Beetz for a day to explore some of the trails in the area but, with the weather being what it was, there didn’t seem to be much point to that. By 8:30 I decided to start packing up my gear. As luck would have it, by 9:00 the pitter-patter of the rain that had been assaulting my tent for the last 8 hours was suddenly silenced. My window of opportunity. With my bags already packed up, I emptied the tent and proceeded to tear it down. It was soaked but at least I wasn’t. The wind however was a formidable foe. Eventually though I got everything wrapped up – soaked though it was – and loaded onto the bike. About ten minutes later the rain returned.
It had to happen eventually. After all this time on my bike (over 2100km), today was my first real rainy day. I wasn’t wearing the rain gear just because it MIGHT rain. I was wearing it because it was raining. Pouring actually. What was there to do? It’s just water after all. So, after another quick stop at Les Choix de Marguerite I officially embarked on my first rainy ride.
All things considered, things weren’t too bad. After an hour of riding I was soaked but I had still managed to cover almost 20km. Not too bad. That’s when the wind decided it wanted to have some fun with me too. Great. My first rainy day now also became my first real headwind day. The wind was much worse than the rain. My pace dropped significantly over the next hour as the wind took its toll. This was suddenly becoming a long day – and I was only 2 hours into the ride.
The wind was starting to frustrate me a bit before I came to my senses and changed my approach. Rather than try to continue to make “good time” I just approached the ride like a hilly day. Drop it into an easy gear and just keep pedalling. As Dave in Kingston said, “Patience”. It might take longer than planned to get to Natashquan but I’d get there eventually – with at least some of my sanity intact.
Things went much better after that. I stopped looking at the odometer to track my progress. I stopped checking my speed every 20 seconds. I just pedalled. And pedalled. And pedalled some more. I took breaks when I was tired and ate when I was hungry. I even took the time to stop for a few photos along the way. I mean, really – why was I in such a rush? As for the photos, well … we’ll see how they turn out. The lack of services at last night’s campsite meant I was unable to charge up my camera so today would be a GoPro day – and for those that don’t know, the GoPro doesn’t have a viewfinder so every photo is like a surprise!
By 3:45 I had officially arrived at Natashquan. Another major milestone for my trip. After 2,250km, Natashquan pretty much marks the end of my long distance riding in Quebec. The (paved) road ends here so on Wednesday afternoon I’ll board the boat that will take me to Blanc-Sablon. Well, at least I hope I do. Upon my arrival in Natashquan I stopped into the Tourist Centre to find out where I board the boat, and also to try to secure accommodation for the next two nights. In terms of the boat, I found out where the dock is but was also told the boat has been running late a lot this season, so we’ll see what Wednesday brings. As for accommodations, well … I had planned on camping but with everything soaked I thought I’d see what other options were available.
The “other option” turned out to be Pension chez Renée – just down the street from the Tourist Centre. Of course, I say “just down the street” but given that this is a tiny village pretty much everything is “just down the street” – including the restaurant John Débardeur. I was told at the Tourist Centre that I could get some poutine there so, after checking in a Pension chez Renée, my next stop would be at John Débardeur.
After a large poutine, hamburger, and piece of gâteau au chocolat, I resisted the temptation to repeat my gluttonous performance back in Baie-Trinité and instead paid the bill. But I’m reasonably confident I know where I’ll be eating tomorrow night.
Distance travelled: 89.71 km
Time on bike: 4:54:34
Maximum speed: 38.78 km/h
Average speed: 18.26 km/h