‘Cross Canada: Days 36 & 37

Day 36

With a big day of climbing on tap for today, we packed up quickly, downed some bars, and were on the road by 9am. Before the punches started flying, we had a neutral roll-out, of sorts, as we slowly spun through the neighborhood we had been camped next to. We were pleasantly surprised when every single person we saw outside said good morning to us. Once we were back on Hwy17 though, the day really began.

The rolling hills were a nice change from the straight and flat roads we’d had for the last couple days. With the road not being as windy or steep as through Sioux Narrows – and there being a tailwind – it made for some fast riding, despite the constant up and down.

About an hour down the road Oliver’s bike succumbed to the same fate mine had in Drumheller. Luckily, we had thought ahead and brought a spare shifter cable. 30min later and we were back at it.

After a breakfast/lunch stop at the Tim’s in Mattawa, we were into the meatiest part of the day. As the temperature rose, so did the pace. Soon enough we found ourselves riding well above threshold up the hills with a couple little digs being thrown in to try to drop the other person. The pace was relentless but the road was fun and we were making great time.

2 hours of cagey riding later, we had a quick break, though there wasn’t much cooling down to be done as the temperature was well over 30C in the sun now. On the last block of the day, Oliver took to filming some TV coverage (you’ll have to check out his Instagram for the full broadcast).

We rolled into Deep River around 4:30pm and made straight for the motel to cool down. It’s looking rainy and thunderstormy into tomorrow morning so best be avoiding that. With a grocery store dinner downed – along with many snacks – we packed it in for the night.

Tomorrow is going to be a shorter day as we follow the flattening Ottawa River valley south.

Day 37

As the forecast was giving thunderstorms for most of the morning, the wake-up time was thrown out and we took full advantage of the dark and cool motel to sleep. By the time we hit the road shortly after 11am the sun was out in full force, with the impossibly high humidity making it feel very toasty indeed.

Today would be one of our last days on the Trans Canada highway as near Ottawa it becomes the 417, a road we definitely can’t ride on. The pace was a bit subdued after yesterday’s hammerfest but we still made decent time over the first 70k to get us to lunch. When we stopped in the small town of Cobden for lunch we were positively damp.

Another 20km down the road from lunch saw us getting off the Trans Canada and into the backroads. It felt like we were in Quebec already with the uniformly cracked roads. The change in scenery and quieter road was much appreciated though.

About 20km out from Arnprior we finally had a chance to cool down a bit when we stopped near a small tributary river for a bathroom break (in an outhouse, not the river).

The final 10km or so into Arnprior had us detoured onto a gravel trail to skip some road work. By this point the 30kph streak was already locked in, so the scenic trail was a nice mix-up.

When we got into Arnprior, the first destination was the park and beach on the Ottawa River to swim and cool off. We made our way into town to find some dinner though we immediately were sweaty again despite just swimming. The only way to not get sweaty in this heat and humidity is to stand completely still in the shade or be in the water.

Or just be as cool as Oliver

After dinner, we grabbed a post-dinner snack and headed back down to the park. Earlier we had spied a spot we figured we could set up camp so we spent the rest of the evening hanging out in the park reading, relaxing, and swimming.

Tomorrow we have another short day as we make for the capital!

Cheers and Ride On!

-Evan

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