Once again, after having a second day of a hearty breakfast, we fixed my bike. I then took off to face the longest ride of my journey so far: 167 kilometers, all the way to Sainte-Luce, Quebec.
However, 10 kilometers off Flatlands, my gear started acting up again, although I did manage to make it to the Quebec border. As if that wasn’t enough, after another 10 kilometers, my tire got flat. It wasn’t inflated enough. I tried to change the tube for like an hour, but the kevlar tire was simply too tight. In the end, I continued with no air in it, doing my best to keep on pedaling, but the frustration got to me so badly that I found myself letting it all out — screaming in the middle of nowhere Quebec. I guess this is what it’s like for those with chronic pain — the frustration of being in such pain can get so much, especially with the feeling that they are all alone in the middle of nowhere — with the pain sometimes being a hindrance from allowing them to let their frustrations out.
I tried to be positive, however — I’m in Quebec! That’s two provinces down, six to go!
I arrived at a very tiny village from afar, went closer, but there was not a single person. It’s like one of those miniature toy villages, without the presence of a living being. I figured I would keep on going, until I get some form of help somewhere.
I went another 25 kilometers, until — as if bread fell from the sky — I saw another biker, Patrick Beaudry, who is cycling from Ottawa to Newfoundland. I saw him, and all my anxiety disappeared instantly. He was incredibly helpful, and he clearly knew what he was doing. I asked him if he had a spoon so I could remove the tire. He told me that he could change the tube with his bare hands; however, it was too tight for him as well, and it took us both half an hour and a cooking spoon to remove the tire off its wheel. He was a cool guy, and asked me so many questions about what I did, what happened, etc. He ended up giving me his tube, since my spare one was not inflating. (I know… I should have been better prepared.. )and he did his magic to use a piece of scotch tape to make sure the damaged tube would not cause another flat.
To sum it all up, he saved my day.
The path to get to Sainte-Luce was rather hilly — a lot of ups and downs. A chain of mountains from East to West — it is perhaps, and from what I know, the biggest chain of mountains in Eastern North America. And, as in life, we go through all these ups and downs — until this one big, significant thing happens in our life.
There it was — that one big, significant event for this day. I see it — I see the St. Lawrence river across the town of Mont-Joli, welcoming me with its imperial beauty, the sunset looming across its pristine upper layer, reflecting a grace like no other. The reflection of trees and houses on the water, with the sun coming out from behind the hills made the laborious day all worth it — I felt like I was in Ireland, but I am back in my home province. Quebec, I’m here!
It truly was the hardest day of my journey by far. My legs are tired, my muscles are sore, I am mentally fatigued, but arriving in Quebec and seeing such an alluring sight reminded me of one of the reasons why I am enduring all the pain and difficulty — to make myself more aware that “beauty takes no shortcuts” (As Viarail would say), and that appreciating all of this doesn’t happen unless I earn it. There was such an amazing feeling of freedom and triumph that surged through me when I saw the river that marks home, slowly opening to a majestic gulf. La belle province, j’arrive!