Mike Gordon leads me out of Orillia in the morning and shows me the trails and back roads to the relatively rural route, Route 45, that will take me all the way to Ottawa. It is a hot day with a fairly strong headwind. Mike is gracious enough, and in great shape too, to allow me to draft behind him for the first 25 km. He gives me lots of cycling tips and I follow his advice and raise my seat and my cadence. They both made a difference. I have a challenge ahead of me because Ottawa is about 400 km away and I have given myself only three days to get to an alumni gathering that will take place there.
After Mike leaves me I literally have to, as Mike says, make myself small against the headwind. It is tough to do given the wind drag of the panniers. And it is tougher still, at least psychologically, to go through towns with names like these.
I pedal away and drink in so many liters of liquids I feel my organs should all be swimming but the thirst is just endless. The route takes me through the Canadian Shield and becomes hillier and hillier.
I have one more near crash related to fresh asphalt. I had no way of knowing, and there was no signposting or asphalt smell but apparently earlier in the day a road crew was filling in deep cracks in the road shoulder. So when I hit this patch, I sunk and over I went but once again miraculously got my foot out of the pedal cleat in time to catch my fall. I have been keeping my pedal cleats clean and lubed so I am happy. You can see from the photo how deep I sunk in the soft asphalt. And I was very lucky to be going slowly uphill.
The towns here, high in the Laurentian Plateau, are aptly named.
I am a bit wiped out but very happy to make it all the way to Bancroft, a hilly hot one hundred mile day of cycling. I cross the bridge over the river leading into the town just as the sun is setting.
Stats – for Friday 20 July 2012
Distance: 159 km
Time on Bike: 8 hrs 25 min
Average Speed: 18.8 km/hr
Distance to Date: 5,538 km