Day 22: Cycling the solstice

Day 22: Cycling the solstice

The smell of the black spruce was unmistakable. It felt like the trees were pulling me forward with their scent, taunting me with their cool air after the hottest day yet on the trip. The trees were a welcome sight near the end of the day, a day where I felt like giving up. A late start put me into the midday heat and a risk of rolling in to my destination at sunset. And by the time I had reached those trees I was ready to take any decent-looking patch of grass as my refuge. Ultimately, there was no such option and I made it to my original goal, Upsala, at about 9pm. The last few hills, essentially 15k of abrupt climbs and abrupt descents, nearly broke my exhausted body.

A bowl of thick soup with a spoon sticking up
Ramen bomb. Want one?

Supper tonight consisted of a “ramen bomb,” Mr Noodles, instant mashed potato, and whatever protein you have in your bag. It tastes as great as it sounds. Apart from an ice cream in the midday heat the diet was reasonably solid. I also broke out an emergency Clif Bar. All told, I ate fewer than 3,000 calories for all that riding and I feel stuffed. Now I just need a solution for the midday fatigue, something that has been ongoing since before I started having bread with the lunch. I think an earlier start and a longer lunch will help. If you have any suggestions please let me know!

Today’s ride was pretty uneventful, the shield goes up and it goes down, it’s covered in trees and the lakes are stunning. I made my morning coffee beside a creek, had lunch by a waterfall, and dinner by a lake. Hard to complain about that! I even saw both the sunrise and sunset today, a perfect treat on the summer solstice.

Setting sun over a lake, red cloudy sky, and tent in foreground
My campsite tonight

The overnight temperature drop is causing a lot of dew to collect inside my tent fly. This morning it was especially bad, a torrent of water when I was packing up. Unfortunately I had to pack it while it was wet (then played around on my phone for two hours…) so it is not smelling the best tonight. The whole camping setup needs a serious wash, perhaps I’ll actually leave early on a short day to allow adequate drying time in the evening.

Finally, today I met a man from Toronto (originally from Jordan), we spoke at a rest stop but ended up at the same campsite. He is riding to overcome depression. It feels like most riders have a story, be it fundraising, finding inner peace, or something else. Every day I ponder what my reason is, when I started I just wanted to knock the trip off my bucket list and providing a clean separation between life in Halifax and life in Toronto was a bonus. However, the mind wanders. Maybe I’ll find an inner peace I didn’t know I needed.

Tonight I’ll try to rest well before the cruise in to Thunder Bay.

Today’s distance: 192 km

Cumulative distance: 3,071.1 km

Today’s climb: 730 m

4 thoughts on “Day 22: Cycling the solstice

  1. 3,000 calories doesn’t seem like enough. Coconut bars (not Choc bars), some tasty carb bombs. You want endurance food. A potassium hit from bananas works for me at beginning of a high effort day (800 m or more), cheese …have you tried ener-C? You did huge mileage today, that’s quite the output. Maybe what you need now is a serious red meat meal. Enjoy the ride to Thunder Bay.

    1. It definitely doesn’t sound like enough, but I’m not hungry and had to force supper down. I’m trying to take a steady amount of nutritious food and see how hungry I am…

  2. Hey Ben
    Reaching the 1/2 way point, still grinding it out! Have you considered cooking some hard boiled eggs in morning, leave in shell and scoop out for lunch? If you can spare the fuel for the time it takes to cook . . .
    Those lake photos are so serene, amazing camp views.
    And I think you have a plan in Thunder Bay for a juicy steak or equivalent.

    1. Eggs are good but you have to buy six or more at a time. I think I’m getting enough protein, something else is causing the slump.

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