Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Day 69 - Dingwall to Englishtown

Last day of major climbing?????   

Up and got the blog posted down by the washroom. No internet access in our tenting area. 

I was on cook duty this morning so I helped out with breakfast and then once everything was done - I was off. It was 8 AM.   I will be so happy to not hear those 5:30 AM alarms in the morning however tomorrow is going to be fun since our tents are packed tight together.  That is one thing that I have noticed about this group - there is no space concerns about the tents. If there is a empty foot beside a set up tent - then someone plunks down their tent.  Ian is the worst!!!!!   I love it!!!!!

Right off the bat there was a choice of taking the scenic hilly route or bypassing that. Since I had taken the scenic route twice before - I took the non hilly route.  AHA - everyone had always talked of a big hill and pretty much right off the bat - there was a hill.   It was about a 3KM climb but not that steep. When I finally got to the top - there was a fabulous 10K down hill run.   Just beautiful.   A perfect way to start the day.

The sun was out and it was pretty warm when we started and just got hotter. Not super hot, but hot enough.  We did a lot of climbing today - I think the number I heard was 1569 Meters or something like that.  Yeah - just what we need in the heat.

I stopped in Ingonish for a chocolate milk this morning.  Again with all the climbing - my stomach just can't seem to handle food which is not a good thing.   I met up with Jacques at one point - at a gorgeous scenic stop along the way.  Took some pictures and then we were off.  I was soon riding by myself again - and I can't say that I was upset.  I really enjoy the freedom to do what I want.

I had to laugh because at that scenic stop - Jacques was talking to some motorcyclists from Ontario.  They were going in the opposite direction from us.  They said - OH you have a huge hill to climb!!!   HA - Smokey was the smallest of the three and in fact - they had two massive climbs and descents - worse than we had. 

Next thing I knew I was  climbing Smokey.  This is not a bad ascent - a lot of 2 percent - climbs to about 6 or 7 near the end.  Oh let's not forget the pretty steep start to that mountain.  I think the total climb is about 5 K or perhaps a bit longer.  Then it was over and the descent starts pretty much right away. Yikes - this is a wicked descent with a lot of short quick switchbacks.  At one point a cube van passed me and he was going pretty fast and zipping out into the oncoming lane.  Idiot!!!!   My brakes squealed - not as bad as yesterday but still a lot.  And boy you need to have some strength in your fingers to go down those hills.  I did take a video of it a couple of years ago - I will try to find the video - it is on YouTube and post the link.

Then it was a lot of just climbing and descent - climbing and descent.  I was getting tired of it after a while.  I did stop at the General Store in Wreck Cove which is the same place I have stopped for each of the last three years.  I met up with Alec, Craig and Michel at the general store.  I had to wait a while to use the washroom and they headed out.  

It seemed like a long slog to the Englishtown ferry.  Of course - my Garmin reset itself at one point in the day which was a total pain so I didn't really have a reference.  And as soon as we were out of the major hills - then yes we had a lovely head wind.   Oh yes - bring it on.  I have to say by this point - I was getting tired. Oh yes - I was anxious to see the day end.

At last - there is the turn off for the ferry and and now a 6 K slog to the ferry landing.  Great - right into the wind.  I met up with Alec and Craig at the ferry and we took the ferry together.

Oh yes - let's not forget the construction.  There were these big machines with these massive saws on the front and they were just ripping up the trees on the road sides.  There was bits of wood flying everywhere as there were lots of machines.   It appears that they are working on a cycle path for next year.  Really?????    That would be awesome but NO - I am not going to go back to enjoy it, but it would be awesome since this road is pretty narrow.   I HATE cycling through the construction as you feel compelled to keep up with the traffic and that just isn't possible.

At last we arrived at the camp site.  A gravel road and UP a steep hill.   I geared down and took on the hill.   My rear wheel was slipping in the loose gravel but I made it up the hill.

Now we are just hanging around. Tent is up, shower is done and since we are getting packed up and switching trucks - that is done as well. Crew five is getting a break tonight as the Tour du Canada staff is cooking up dinner!!!!

I have managed to eat something so I am starting to get some energy back.  Boy - I sure wish I could eat better on these crazy days!!!!!!

Well I will go and see about posting the blog.

Tomorrow is ferry day - we are off to Newfoundland.

Have a good day!!!


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