My time in Montreal is too limited so I will have to come back to live one day to make up for it. Mike has done an excellent job at convincing me why the city suits both my gastronomical needs (fresh bagels, smoked meat sandwiches and dark ales) and social needs (cafes, Jazz fest and the 'porch culture'). As always, hanging out with Mike is a great time - the kind that'll keep me laughing for a whole lotta days after I leave his company. I was also lucky enough to squeeze in some time with Phil, a buddy from out east, and Elisa, a friend from Costa Rica. Of course, the weather during my break has been perfect for riding, but I'm lucky the mild temperature will continue for a few days during my next chapter that will have me in Halifax for the 15th of August, hopefully.
My buddy asked me how I kept from going insane on the ride, or from getting into the defeatist mentality when things start getting rough. And I'll tell you, it's easy for it to happen. A few things go wrong like a flat tire and a swarm of lonely black flies - pairing that with the thought that I have thousands of kilometers left to cycle can easily become overwhelming. My philosophy is that I never think of the trip in whole, but break it up into parts, usually made up of major stops. Toronto to Montreal was a part. When I was in Toronto, I planned out how to get to Montreal and focused on that. I wanted to do 600 km in 4 days and planned accordingly. This next chapter, Montreal - Halifax is a large one: 1300 km. By thinking like this, the entire trip becomes a lot more manageable and it's worked. This idea was especially important out west when I had the most difficult time and the most road ahead of me. The minute I dwelt on the entirety, it was dangerous, so I focused on Vancouver - Calgary as if it was a trip in itself.
August 3, 2007. (Day 84) Distance: 149.8 km, Average speed: 20.8, Time: 7:11, Max speed: ?, Odometer: 5825 km
Cornwall, ON - Montreal, QC
I thought today was going to be a nice short little 110km ride into the city. I was totally wrong. Not only was I 40 clicks off (or two hours of pedaling) but it was hectic as well. I was duped into thinking that one of the bridges wasn't bike friendly, so I did a detour to the other bridge into the city, which was definitely non-bike friendly. Luckily I found a tourist office (where all of those question mark signs always lead) and an employee who knew all about cycling and getting over bridges. So, for those of you reading this blog for touring tips, here's a gem: take the highway 20 bridge into Montreal, but be warned that you can't ride on highway 20 before the bridge so you have to get there by other means.
Getting to Mike's place felt like a great accomplishment. Montreal itself was probably the longest ride into a city that I've done so far. It also has the most intricate bicycle trail system of any city I've ever been. Today was another crazy hot day and about 3 minutes before I reached his door, the clouds just opened up into a downpour. The ride from Toronto to Montreal was hardly challenging due to the mileage (600 km) but extremely challenging due to the heat. It's fitting that the heat broke today with the rain and my arrival at my buddy's door.
Mike and I celebrated my arrival by going out for some ribs and micro-brew. Good times at the Cock and Bull.
August 2, 2007. (Day 83) Distance: 124.5 km, Average speed: 21.6, Time: 5:45, Max speed 38.3, Odometer: 5675
Squirrels are like my brother Jonathan and it makes me laugh. If I leave my oatmeal or trail mix out on the picnic table it doesn’t take long for a squirrel to rip apart the bag run off with a snack. The funny thing is, when I put the food away (all the while with a shaking finger in the direction of the squirrel and a “No! This is my food.” [Yes, I do talk to squirrels]), they get really angry! They yell and chirp violently and shake and whatever, as if I was putting away their food or something. A squirrel I confronted today ran up a tree and after a huge tantrum proceeded to poo all over my maps which were also on the table, only a foot or two away from my head!! I couldn’t believe it! So, how does this relate to Jonathan? He loves to get his hands on my stuff and when I ask him about it, he gets angry, much like a squirrel – yelling and shaking and shitting from trees.
August 1, 2007 (Day 82) Distance: 126. 4, Average speed: 20.4, Time: 6:11, Odometer: 5550.7
July 31, 2007 (Day 81). Distance: 140.5, Avs 19.6 Tm 7:10 Mxs 47.4 Odo: 5424
July 30, 2007. Distance: 65 km, Odometer: ?
I feel like I’m still in