Sidney, MB to Virden, MB
Today also marked the second time on this trip where it was actually warm enough to just wear shorts and a t-shirt. Yesterday was the first time (but that was interrupted briefly when I had to put on my rain gear). There was no rain gear needed today. In fact, today was probably the hottest day of the trip so far … and I loved it.
The target destination for today was … well, actually … there wasn’t really a target destination. I figured reaching Brandon (about 60 km) would be reasonably easy. Beyond that, I figured I’d let the conditions of the day dictate how far I would go.
I was on the road remarkably early this morning. 7:30. Okay, maybe that’s not remarkably early for some, but for me it’s pretty remarkable. My primary motive behind my early departure was an attempt to beat the wind. I know how futile that can be but since the winds generally get stronger later in the day I figured an early start couldn’t hurt. It didn’t.For the most part, the wind had little impact on my day – especially from Sidney to Brandon. I managed to arrive in Brandon where I was welcomed by both a Tim Hortons and a Subway. I wouldn’t go hungry in Brandon. There also wasn’t a lack of conversation in Brandon. I had rather lengthy conversations with a couple of people at Tim’s (a older local guy who warned me about some of the roads, and a cycle tourist from Newfoundland who apparently just had all his gear stolen). And there was another lengthy chat outside Subway with a guy who has cycled the country a few times, been all over the world and raves about the cycling in Wisconsin. Who knew!?
I eventually left Brandon at 12:30 with a new goal of making it to Oak Lake, which is about 60 km further down the road. The second half of my riding day was definitely more challenging than the first. The winds picked up a bit and there were actually a few hills. In Manitoba. I didn’t think that was allowed.
That said, the highlight of my day came about an hour outside of Brandon. I was cycling along, mindlessly minding my own business, when a photo opportunity came up. It’s a photo opportunity that I’ve looked for in the past but the circumstances were never right. Today, they were right.One of the more common questions I get is about the weight of my bike and gear. Which I’ve always estimated. Until now. Thanks to a truck weigh station which I decided to use. And the truck weigh station indicates my bike to be 60 kg. To be honest, I’m a little skeptical about that figure. It seems high. However, when I added my weight to the scale it topped out at 140 kg – putting me at about 80 kg which is reasonably accurate. Either way, I now have a truck weigh station photo. I’d have taken more but there were trucks lining up behind me and I thought it best to get out of their way.
After that, the ride was rather uneventful but gradually tiring. I don’t know if was the winds, the minor hills, or just general fatigue, but the final five killometres to Oak Lake were gruelling. Despite eating somewhat regularly, drinking a lot of water, and even a hot chocolate (yes, hot chocolate – it’s not just for winter anymore!), I really felt like I was out of gas as I wheeled into Oak Lake.
Oak Lake is another very small town. And even if it wasn’t, I certainly didn’t have the energy to see what sort of food options were available and so I stopped at the first place I found. Mildly delirious from both the heat and lack of energy, I decided a soft serve ice cream cone would be the best option. I mean, really. How is that ever a bad idea?
While the ice cream was a great idea I also knew I needed something more substantial so I retreated to the picnic area and consumed another sub which I had packed away. This somewhat served its purpose but I was still significantly low on energy so I did the only thing I could think of. I stretched out on the picnic table and had a nap. A good, long, 45 minute nap. It was wonderful.
When I awoke from my extended power nap, it didn’t take long to realized that there isn’t much in Oak Lake. Sure, I could’ve found somewhere to wild camp but the lack of services concerned me a bit. The next town, Virden, was only 23 km away and had a full complement of services. And so, with a new found sense of energy I decided to get back on the road for another 23 km.
The ride to Virden was surprisingly effortless. Maybe I should nap more often! Even with the winds fighting me, I rolled into the Tim Hortons in Virden after only about 60 minutes. I ended my day with a frozen lemonade and a glazed sour cream donut. Mmmmm. Oh, and I also found out that Moritz was in Virden too – although, I didn’t see him at all. Maybe tomorrow.
Distance travelled: 161.88 km
Ride time: 8:12:45
Average speed: 19.71 km/h
Maximum speed: 41.78 km/h