Today was my longest ride so far: 197 km.
It started with a warm send-off along Montreal’s Beaver Lake, organized by the Association quebecoise de la douleur chronique. Representatives from the organization, individuals with chronic pain, friends, and family all came. It was a very touching experience to see so much support from my home city, especially from people close to my heart, and even those I have just met. I am very grateful for such a beautiful moment of just having everyone together, giving me the energy and encouragement to go through the remaining 43 days of my ride.
My friend Andriy and my father cycled along for the first half hour. I was really motivated, especially after having seen how much people are cheering for me, but the winds were suddenly against me. I then realized that it would be difficult for me to make it to Ottawa before sunset.
At some point, I realized that the Google Maps on my phone was sending me on gravel roads, which made it rather difficult to pedal. I had to make several detours to stay on paved roads. I followed Highway 17, which became a divided highway — I didn’t realize that I wasn’t supposed to be there. I took the next exit, which at least brought me closer to Ottawa.
About eight kilometers from my destination in Ottawa, my bicycle unfortunately got flat — most likely because of all the potholes I had to go through the whole day. It was dark, and I really did my best to fix my tire, but thankfully a very nice couple saw me and offered a ride to the Ottawa bus station, where my girlfriend was waiting for me.
I finally arrived, and there she was, waiting with one of our hosts, John Cuningham. We arrived at their place, where his son, Frank (who’s like a brother to me — we practically grew up together) offered a large tub of chocolate ice cream. A large dinner followed, and it really was a nice experience to be surrounded with friends eager to support me along the way, especially after such a tough day. Thanks for welcoming us, John, Carole, Frank, Jeremy, Mathieu and Gregory!
Today was the third day that the winds were terribly against me. The day started and ended beautifully, however — and despite the struggles and complications that come along, there is and will always be something special before and after it all.