Week 6 Update

Week 6 was an equally uneventful week as Week 5 as there was almost seven days of heavy snowfall in the regions so I stayed indoors and was just working on music and travel logistics.

I also put that “dead time” to good use by eating properly and sleeping since these are very essential to good rides.

IMG_1185Of course by eating I also mean indulging in chocolate since I am allowed to given that I am the one suffering everyday cycling across Canada, right? 🙂

While waiting for the weather to clear, I also ordered bicycle bags to carry my belongings since I wanted to be independent and need to depend on my support vehicle with all my luggage.

Below is what the bicycle looked like fully loaded. I probably have an extra 15 kg on it and as I will tell you later, it really did affect everything about The Big Journey!

IMG_1216By Sunday, the weather had calmed down or so I thought so in Grand Falls (Grand Sault in French) I got back on my bicycle on my way to Fredericton.

IMG_1219IMG_1463Here I am looking all futuristic and stuff without knowing that I was about to suffer like never before.

At first the ride was smooth and the bicycle was surprisingly light given the fact that I had way more weight on it than usual.

I was pedalling along all happy and impressed with myself at how fast I had the ability to adapt to riding such a heavy two-wheeled, human-powered vehicle.

Until I stopped for a quick second to drink some water…

BAM!!!! I almost got blown by the wind!

What was going on is very simple. I had the wind on my back and it was pushing me along and that is why the ride seemed sooo easy!

The wind was so strong that whenever I stopped, I had to lay low as I feared that it would blow me into the river. We are talking about 45 km/h winds with gusts of up to 70 km/h.

I got back on the bicycle and kept on pedalling while praying that the wind stayed at my back as otherwise I would be in deep trouble.

Did I even mention that I was trying to ride 200 km, the longest distance that I attempted so far on The Big Journey? So I had extra weight, crazy wind and I was aiming for an impossible long ride.

But I was in high spirit and would even stop to take some photos:

IMG_1226Naturally I was covered from head to toe as it was a freezing day and in such conditions, no part of my body is exposed to the elements as it could get bitten to pieces.

IMG_1241The most important landmark on my Grand Falls- Fredericton ride was the world’s longest covered bridge. I tried to cross it but the wind was so strong that I did not even bother.

IMG_1239The bike was rolling along smoothly with the wind on my back so I felt good and powerful

See the above map? It means that the wind was blowing South but eventually, I had to make a left after Woodstock and then that friendly wind became my foe as it was now a crosswind that proceeded to heavily slow me down to the extent that I knew for sure that there is no way I would make it to Fredericton before sunset

IMG_1249And to make matters worse, one road turned into a snow trail (in Summer it would be a gravel trail) and I had to dismount and walk for a good hour in deep snow.

I tried to pedal but eventually the trail went to ice (which I could cycle) to soft snow and my tires got stuck to the extent that the bike could stand on its own that’s how deep in the snow it was!

IMG_1252The fact that my bicycle was heavy and that I had been riding for over 8 hours did not help. I was just exhausted.

Luckily for me, my host in Fredericton got concerned and realised that I was not showing sign of life and offered to come and pick me up.

IMG_1254

For the first time on The Big Journey, I dropped out of a ride because I was too exhausted and there is no way I was going to make it my destination.

I felt like a loser but like I will explain in the next update, quitting that day was a blessing in disguise so make sure to read about Week 7.

In a small community called Pokiok, I sat down exhausted and defeated and was out breath, motivation, strength and everything that one can think of.

IMG_1257I held my head down in shame although deep down I knew that I had been way too ambitious to try and ride the longest distance ever 200 km (my average ride is 100 km so I attempted double that) on a very windy day and with a lot of new weight that I was not used to.

IMG_1260In the van on the way to my host’s home, I kindly asked him if we could stop by a supermarket so that I could get myself my favourite brand of chocolate since in victory I celebrate with chocolate and in defeat I get over my shortcomings with chocolate.

When I looked at my travel log, that night, something important caught my attention. Even if I had quit that ride that day, I still had travelled 156km which is the second-longest distance that I have cycled on The Big Journey (the longest was only 160km). Yes, I was aiming for 200 km and stopped at 156km but that alone is not bad if I put ego aside for a quick second!

And that was the end of Week 6, a very uneventful six days with a soul-stressing seventh day!

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