Cop lights, flash lights, spotlights, strobe lights, street lights (All of the lights, all of the lights) Fast life, drug life, thug life, Roc life, every night (All of the lights, all of the lights) Turn up the lights in here, baby Extra bright, I want y’all to see this Turn up the lights in here, baby You know what I need, want you to see everything Want you to see all of the lights We going all the way this time (We going all the way this time)
Kanye West, All of the Lights
Today was a long day of riding, sometimes in the rain, as I tried to build up distance so I’d have time to spare in PEI, where I’ve never been before.
I left before my hosts got up, so I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye but was happy not to disrupt their sleep. I’ve written before that I feel a little bad when people get up early to see me off, though at least the sunrise is at a more reasonable time than it was in late June further north.
It was quiet roads for a while through Bathurst and beyond as I was able to stick to secondary highways. Eventually I was dumped onto the main highway which initially had wide, smoothly-paved shoulders that let me ignore the traffic flying past. That ended abruptly when I reached Northumberland County where the wide shoulder disappeared, leaving me a thin, crumbly stretch of pavement next to 100km/h traffic. That was less fun, so I was happy when I found a quieter alternative near Miramichi.
It was raining on-and-off again today, but at least it was warm, so I kept on riding. I normally listen to podcasts when I need something to keep my brain occupied, but after seeing news of the new neon-light mural unveiled in Dartmouth the day before I listened to Kanye West’s All of the Lights song on repeat for maybe an hour. I first heard it during one of my many training spin classes, and had to ask my instructor what the name of it was because the horn section riff reminded me of a song from one of my favourite Bjork albums (every Bjork album is one of my favourites). I’ve since come to appreciate that song for its own merits—a great hook, complexly-layered vocals, and epic sound.
Training for the Tour
I’ve always been a cyclist: riding around the neighbourhood as a kid, commuting downtown from the suburbs in high school, 35-km round trips to my summer job at the factory, year-round commuting as an adult, and long weekend rides for leisure. So I had a good base to start with, but had slowly been gaining weight after having kids. I knew I needed to lose weight and get stronger legs for this trip, so in late January I signed up for a two-week trial membership at Spinco, a spin gym in downtown Halifax. My plan was to go to a spin class every morning before work. I wasn’t sure what to expect—their marketing materials seemed a little cultish, with talk of “one team, one bike” and finding your purpose, but I quickly grew to love the sessions. They were different from the spin classes I did in the nineties. Here we pedalled in time to the beat of the music, spending a lot of time out of the saddle so we could do pumps and dips and work out the rest of our bodies at the same time.
It was challenging, especially at first as I built up my coordination and stamina, but we did it all in a darkened room so you didn’t have to worry about how you looked to other people (plus you’re focussing way too much on keeping the rhythm to pay much attention to them). I kept going day after day, becoming one of the 6:15 am regulars, then coming back on the weekends and my lunch breaks. I did 160 classes between late January and mid-June, usually going 8–12 times a week. I got back to my pre-pregnacy weight (losing all the weight I gained from having kids), built up a lot of endurance, and had a blast doing it. I also learned to appreciate a lot of pop music songs that I would otherwise have ignored. I’m planning on signing back up when I return to Halifax.
I passed by Kouchibouguac National Park in the late afternoon. I had hoped to stay here when I was planning the trip as I have fond memories of getting engaged here during our 2004 New Brunswick vacation, but the timing/distance didn’t allow for it today. I kept riding, not knowing where I’d end up, just trying to cover as much distance as I could. I passed through Bouchtouche just before sunset, and found a picnic rest station between Bouctouche and Cocagnejust as the sun was setting where I set up my tent out of sight in the woods. Tomorrow I’ll reach Prince Edward Island for the first time in my life.
Today’s distance: 188 km
Cumulative distance: 6985 km