Northern Ontario provided me with my second double century while cycling across Canada – 220kms from Dryden to Upsala. Needless to say, this was no ordinary bike tour day.
The double century was not planned – I was loving riding through Northern Ontario – the scenery was amazing and the summer heat was stifling. I stopped often. The summer road works program meant that I had a lot of construction zones and even better – brand new pavement! Rolling along these smooth, fresh roads was great – my tired body could really feel the difference as the bumps in the road were all but gone.
A stop for lunch was in order and Ignace on Agimake Lake fit the bill – another slice of heaven as I rode through Ontario’s Sunset Country! The are is a fisherman’s paradise – not what I was looking for on my cycling across Canada adventure, but you could not miss the fact that this was prime fishing country. I slowly munched through my lunch over looking the water, daydreaming of splashing around and taking a respite from the heat. It was only mid day and the desire to push on and cover more miles overrode the beckoning waters. Finishing off my lunch with what could only be described at the most refreshing iced coffee (surprising drink choice for me – I am not a coffee drinker – but the icy cold drink tasted so good…) and I was on my way.
That may have been my first mistake of the day – the cabins would have been perfect, but I pushed on for English River, after all, English River was my planned destination for the night and I had read that there was a nice campground in town. The heat of the day made me drowsy as I cycled but I was not concerned – my destination was not far. I stopped in at the trailer park/campground and knew pretty quickly that it wasn’t the place for me! Can’t quite put my finger on it exactly, or maybe I was imaging things, but I knew that I would not be camping there that night!
It became a race against the setting sun – it would be another 50kms to the next town – Upsala. You see – in Northern Ontario – there are towns and stops along the way, but by bicycle, they sometimes seem few and far between, especially after a punishing day in the sun and 170kms in the legs! My mind started playing tricks on me as I raced along the Trans Canada – thoughts of rogue logging trucks wiping me off the road with no one to see me disappear! It was quite the relief when I came across the Upsala OPP detachment – I had heard of a stranded cyclist camping outside of a police detachment before – maybe they would allow me to sleep behind the detachment for one night – what could be safer! Turns out I was terribly mistaken – I was was told in no uncertain terms to move on – too bad about the dark roads and logging trucks! Luckily, not far up the road was a campground, complete with showers – perfect for wayward cyclists and drivers who needed somewhere to pull over for the night!
I pitched my tent in the dark, battled the legendary Northern Ontario mosquitos. On account of the risk of being eaten alive by the mozzies, I opted to skip dinner and chowed down on peanut butter and jam for before falling into an exhausted sleep – a double century in North Ontario was nothing to shake a stick at!
Cycling Across Canada: Northern Ontario Double Century stats:
|Start||Stop||Distance (km)||Time Riding|
|Day 24||Dryden||Upsala||220||8h 42m|