By Pico Triano
For me, these were the worst circumstances for starting and completing a century ride. At the time I didn’t see any other choice. At least I was healthy and rested.
I arrived in Cornwall, Ontario on a quiet Sunday evening with my bicycle, some basic camping gear and my small personal woodworking toolbox. I would be starting a new job on Monday. By the end of the week I hoped to have found an apartment. No rush on the apartment, I’ve lived for extended periods in my camping gear before.
Trouble started when I went to a campsite I had prepared in advance on an earlier visit. Big lesson learned here. Don’t ever make a trail to a wilderness campsite just out of sight near a roadway or in this case a recreational trail. I do not understand why some people can’t walk another two blocks to use proper bathroom facilities. My campsite had standing puddles of urine. My campfire ring had just given them something to shoot at. The smell can well be imagined.
This forced me to improvise. I ended up sleeping more in the open than planned and that night someone stole a couple of my packs. Only time in all my cycling that has ever happened.
In the morning, I went to my new job where they apologized for not being able to get through to me, but the job had fallen through. Could things get any worse?
I called my fiancé in Quebec and asked her what she thought I should do. After some discussion we decided I would head for her place in Farnham, Quebec more than a hundred miles away; no warm up preparation and minus a few items of important equipment.
By the time that was all decided the day was well wasted. I made my way closer to my objective. My campsite for that night was way off the road, deep in a wildlife conservation area still under construction. Only disturbance that night were the ducks laughing at me all night.
The following day I crossed the St. Lawrence River at Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and made my way across the eastern townships. It was more tiring that I was used to but that wasn’t the worst part. The worst was blowing a tire and realizing that my patch kit was in one of the packs that were stolen. I had some rubber cement and a patch but I didn’t have tire irons. I improvised using the handles of my eating utensils. Thankfully I succeeded. Later I tried it again just for fun and put several holes in my tire tube. Miracles do happen.