I jinxed it. What an idiot. I should never have said today would be an easy day.
As usual, we got on the road at a decent hour – after waking up around 6:30, we packed up and were on the road by around 7:45.
In contrast to yesterday’s ride, the scenery today was lovely throughout the ride. We were rarely more than a few minutes from a glimpse of Lake Ontario, and we passed through a number of lovely little villages and hamlets as we went. At the outset the road was mostly lined with massive waterfront houses, as we climbed and descended a number of rolling hills. At one point we passed through a town called Ontario, which amused us both.
We grabbed breakfast in a village called Pultneyville, at a lovely deli in the centre of the village. While we were only 23km into our ride, that represented over a quarter of the day’s mileage as our total was only about 80km.
Pultneyville was apparently the site of a skirmish between British and American forces; from what I can tell from a plaque on the waterfront, the British laid anchor in the bay the in a thick fog and when it lifted they realized they were right next to a unit of American forces doing exercises in the village. A truce was agreed, but after the British began to plunder some of the local houses shots were fired and the British ultimately withdrew.
After grabbing a few photos of the lake, we hit the road again and made good time despite the hills which, as it turned out, didn’t let up the entire day. As we alternated between riding alongside the lake and fur inland, the scenery alternated between big houses and mid-harvest farmland, with apple trees heavy with fruit and crews of farm workers bringing the crops in.
By around the 50km mark we were getting a little cranky at the non-stop hills – there was barely a few hundred metres between them most of the time, it seemed. The temperature didn’t help – once again we were up around 30 Celsius. One particularly tiring stretch involved a lovely descent into a river estuary, followed by a series of long climbs as we climbed back to the top of the opposite side of the valley. By this point I had sweat fully running down my face and neck – something I hadn’t faced on either day so far on this tour.
We saw relatively few cyclists along the road, but did encounter one guy who was close to the end of cycling across the country, from San Francisco on the West Coast to New York City on the East. He’d been going for 36 days, with five rest days (one per week). Impressive work; before long he sped off ahead of us. I guess a month of solid training will do that for you (at least, that’s what I’m telling myself).
We pulled into the village of Fair Haven at around 12:30 and grabbed lunch at a local cafe. The locals were incredibly friendly too – it seemed like everyone who came past us would stop to chat about our trip. A fair few of them reminded us that tomorrow’s weather forecast isn’t so great (gulp) – we’re due for rain and thunderstorms in the morning.
Depending on whether the storm system comes in early, we may change our route plans – plan A is to ride about 100km to Beford Creek, but if the weather is still bad when we get there the plan B is to push on and make the border crossing near Kingston rather than set everything up in the pouring rain. It seems a big backwards to look at it that way, but when your choices are sitting in a tent waiting out the rain, or making progress given that we’ll already be soaked, it kinda makes sense.
Today’s ride might have been shorter than the other days but we paid for it with the climbing – we did 20% more climbing today than on either of the previous day’s and in half the distance.
We’re now settled in at our campsite a couple of kilometres outside Fair Haven. The camp ground is in a lovely spot, right on the bay and with some nice views and a big beach. The site is a bit rocky underfoot but overall it’s a nice place. We’re near the showers, which were sorely needed after three days of riding; we both took the opportunity to take our sweaty clothes in with us and now have a makeshift clothesline set up from one tree to a nearby bench. Keeping it classy as always.
Tomorrow will be interesting. We’ll either have a reasonably short ride – about 20km longer than today’s (although we’re expecting it to be just as hilly as today) or we’ll be going as far as the first day and back into Canada, accompanied by pouring rain. Ultimately, the weather will decide which it is.