Biking time: 7 hours 33 minutes
8002 km total
About a week has passed since this ride and I just dropped Kinger at the airport, but I remember the day well. What an awesome trip!
This was our earliest departure from camp by far. On the road at 5:30am. I remember how slow and tired we both were as we crept our way down the highway. The fog was thick enough to swallow you, so this was one of the few mornings we couldn’t wear our sunglasses. The fog also made everything damp and cool, which ordinarily would’ve been great, but it wasn’t what either of us wanted at 5:30 in the morning. We had barely woken up and we had nothing but fog and hills ahead of us. Eventually, the fog completely lifted (the fog is always thick in that stretch of the highway) leaving us with only hills.
That was the case until we reached Whitbourne. There, we had a late breakfast/lunch and I called mom to tell her when she could expect us. The highway is divided east of Whitbourne and, therefore, flattens out. We took a break at a turn in the highway and with about 35 km left to St. John’s (according to the road signs). Once we made that turn, the wind caught us and we were flying! That was fun!
Just before we took the exit for downtown St. John’s, a cyclist driving a truck, pulled over and asked if we needed a place to crash in town. I thanked him and excitedly told him that I was from St. John’s! We got off the highway in Kilbride, got a Gatorade and headed towards Cape Spear. If we hadn’t been so excited about finishing, that ride to Cape Spear would’ve been ridiculously painful. We had already biked about 150 km and then to ride over those hills! Our excitement numbed us from about Whitbourne on, so although it was brutally tough, neither of us really minded. In the Cape Spear parking lot we met some interested tourists, gave them the trip summary, took pictures of us with our bikes and although there were a few whales splashing around, we kept the stop relatively short. From there, we headed back downtown, turned up Sprindale St., onto New Gower, over Queens Road, to Monkstown and then home!
Mom stuck around to congratulate us, but with dad away, she left the house to Kinger and me and went to her friend’s place in a town nearby. That night, Kinger, Doug, Penney, Danny and I went down to the last night of George Street Festival to celebrate. A great end to a great trip!
LOOKING BACK, 10 YEARS LATER: Even by the end of the trip we weren’t ‘cyclists’. We were two guys who biked a lot that summer. The goal was never, “by the end of this trip, we’ll be cyclists” it was, “by the end of this trip, we’ll have biked across Canada”. Nevertheless, we were good on the bikes and since we left Barrie on July 14 we had covered 3395 km and had taken only two days rest, both in Kingston. Those were 3 very tough weeks. But they were also easy. There was barely any mental strain to bike that much. Physically, there was no doubt I was tired, but the mental exertion to cycle 170 km was the same mental exertion as packing up the tent or clipping into my pedals. Once that was conquered, it was smooth sailing.