Checking the ditches travel blog

approaching Cheticamp

looking back at the upside of the first hill

up ahead is French Mountain

looking back partway up French Mountain

view from the Skyline Trail

looking down on Pleasant Bay

the struggle up North Mountain


Day Sixty Eight – Aug 27 Dingwall 153k

Twenty years ago I cycled the Cabot Trail with my wife to be. We were carrying all our gear. The trip made her cry on some nights because of the arduousness of the trip. I need to apologize to her for what I put her through. I can’t believe we did the trail fully loaded. Those climbs up to the top are steep. Some of the people on this tour had to walk part of the way. My wife did also but she still cycled to the top. I have a new appreciation for what she did.

It would be almost 70 k from our campground to Cheticamp. The 70k were a throw away, the ride began at Cheticamp. Up to cheticamp the road was broken and in need of repair for the first half. Then it became the Cabot Trail at Margaree Forks and the road improved. It was mainly flat and there was a good tail wind pushing me along. I stopped somewhere along here to have a sandwich but the first real stop was at the Tim Horton’s in Cheticamp.

After a lunch combo I was ready to tackle the hills. There are three warmup hills north of Cheticamp. On the downhill from the third climb the road is steep and straight. I hit a top speed of just over 70kph. Other riders also hit good speed coming down that hill. Jayne was crowing how she hit 83kph and stopped cawing when Trevor showed his computer to her. It read 87kph. The speed limit was 80kph.

There were lots of stops for photos as I went French Mountain. That helped getting to the top. Byron, the youngest rider, decided to challenge the hill. He was toast by the time he got to the top. He would take it easier going up North Mountain and was able to make the claim that it was an easier climb. That countered everyone else’s claim. He did learn a lesson though.

My trip up French Mountain was slowed by people asking me how the ride up was. I would smile and say it wasn’t that bad. It couldn’t be, not with a ride across Canada in my legs. But I was enjoying the ride up.

When I got to the top of French Mountain I had enough energy that I did a side route that added six k to the total. There is a trail called the Skyline Trail and winds through the top of the mountain and offers some wonderful views of the coast. The moose which are rumoured to be in the area are far away becasue of the number of tourists clamboring down the trail looking for moose and scenic views.

I didn’t do the complete loop because that part of the trail that offered stunning views from cliff top egdes was root bound and was a braided trail. I headed back. I passed a family I had muscled out of the way a few minutes before. I could hear the father say to the family “been there, done that”.

I got back out onto the Cabot Trail and continued the day’s proper ride. There was a steep, long drop into Pleasant Bay. I stopped at a convenience store in the town for Cheetos. There was no chocolate milk, the other riders got there before I did. I bought some water to top up my bottles and headed for North Mountain.

I didn’t remember North Mountain as being so tough. I had no gears left; I bottomed out on my gears on that climb. If I apologize to my wife for French Mountain, I have to double apologize for North Mountain. It was the toughest climb of all climbs we did across Canada. The heat didn’t make it easy but it has the place of honor anyways.

On the downhill side of North Mountain I meet up with Cor and we cycled together. At Cape North we stopped at a local craft store which just happened to sell ice cream. And it had Puppy Paws. I got a large bowl of Puppy Paws. Cor didn’t want to wait for me to finish and went off to camp. Chrisp had come in to the stop a few minutes earlier and he stayed and had an ice cream with me. The two of us then cycled together to camp. We get in to camp a little after 5pm.

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