Our sentiments exactly. Photo edit by Michael Keene.
Just over a week ago, Vince Vining (pictured above) hopped on his bike and headed to Halifax by way of Montreal as part of his Visite Sombre charity ride. We last left him when he was en route to Tingwick, QC, so read on to get up to speed with Vince and his tour (charming journal entries and all).
"Friday, November 20th
Richmond to Tingwick
Easy day; luxurious in comparison to yesterday. I woke up at 6:30am with Chantal and fam. We had a nice breakfast, they let me stay after and chill for a bit. I rolled out super chill at 10:30am and hit the trail. It was absolutely perfect riding weather. A little bite in the air, but a friggin’ burner with no clouds, bouncing off my crappy old man skin. I realized as I was going that Iwas pushing way too hard. In Danville, I bumped into a little bike shop still operating in the off season. The dude was a terrible mechanic. He said there was some dirt caught in the cassette. After cleaning it, it did work better, but I don’t belive that the cassette or free hub body isn’t worn out. Looks like I’m going to Muse ‘o Velo in QC on Monday.
I got a little lost on the way (Siri) but I was still in hours before nightfall. Diane and Daniel welcomed me in. They were super nice and their house rules, but of course, super down with Tall G. That’s cool, I dunno. It’s awkward talking with Christy folk, they want to save you, ask you what’s stopping you, openly, ignore Darwinism. You always gotta have the talk and you end up feeling bad, that they feel bad, that you’re going to Hell. Anyways, that was five minutes. The other five hours I ate pizza and sat in a hot tub. Warm Showers rules."
"Saturday, November 21st
Tingwick to Quebec City
I slept like a baby after Daniel and I ripped around in his modded out farm jeep, showing me his syrup shack and chicken coop. We had a huge breakfast as the sun rose, and as I left, Diane told me she would pray for my safety.
A good way to spend my 30th birthday: crushing the trail. I made great time and had 50km complete by noon. The trail felt much better today, and I figured that my difficulties the day before were due to fatigue from the first day. This 132km stretch was very straight and never deviated from the La Rate Vert. The weather was beautiful, and when my brother called me, in the middle of the day, I had my headphones in and we talked for half an hour. In that time, I slammed 30km downhill and before I knew it I was in sight of the Quebec bridge. (Music- Final Fantasy 6- Terra’s Theme) I’ve crossed that bridge before. A lot of people don’t know what it’s crossable by bike, but it is. It’s just super narrow, and goes from nowhere to nowhere. Technically bikes aren’t allowed to use it but, give me a break, that’s like saying bikes aren’t allowed on the moon. You call that freedom! AMERICA!"
Two rest days! Then onward, to Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies.
Slightly hard to read. Luckily, we transcribed it for you (below). Photo by Vince Vining.
"Tuesday, November 24th
Quebec City to Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies
Je departe la chez Pierre son 7:00, et manage de la ville pour le ferry. Je marche dans la bateaux, et realisement je accidentally took Pierre’s keys. The ferry man was real nice and let me leave it with him, but I still wasn’t in Lewis until 8am. I’ve always heard that this part of the ride is the best and it is true. I did some of the best riding of my life today. Sticking to the St. Laurent River, Le Route Vert enters little towns and villages every 5-10km. The hills were virtually non-existent and I was lucky to not be caught in any wind. In the distance on all sides were tall mountains, maybe 300-400m tall. The highest one had some snow the peak. I noted that as my ride to Edmundston may get that high. It was all sun and water for the whole ride, with the late fall still vivid with hue, but the smell of bonfire and la mort des été hanging in the crisp air. It was an exciting and well ridden day.
I met Real at this house. We had a tea, and a snack, but I didn’t need dinner. I passed out at 7pm in his billiards room."
"Wednesday, November 25th
Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies to Pohénégamook
Today was dynamic, and again one of my best riding days. This area bounce between seignure, maritime, and sub-alpipe so fast it can be dizzying. Kamouraska! A famously beautiful part of the country. Listening to Hank Williams through this area seemed really appropriate. In a small town, I decided to augment my ride. I removed one of my side bags, filled it with stuff I decided I didn’t need. It dropped 3lbs off my ride. It helped a bit, but truly the trick is to put more weight in the front. I bagged it up and mailed it to Toronto. After farmland, I made my turn east into the hills. Climbing into the snowy tops, I did what I could to avoid the logging trucks. There will be more. When I got to Pascal and Corinne’s house, they made me a huge dinner, drove me to the top of the cross lookout, and got me wasted. It was awesome. Easy day tomorrow."
From Vince's journal (above). Photo by Vince Vining.
"Thursday, November 26th
Pohénégamook to Edmundston
Today turned out to be a bit more tough than I thought it would be. Pascal made me a huge breakfast, and off I went. I love Christmas, so I decided to listen to a bizarre Christmas mix by Andrew Neville. It got me really pumped. So pumped, that I took a wrong way and accidentally blasted a logging road. Logging trucks kicked dust up all over the vegetation like the ash in McCarthy’s The Road. I got out of there after a butt load of uneccessary climbing, then it was pretty smooth going through the mountains to Edmundston. I stopped in Baker Brook for a drink. It was my first time being in the maritimes for a year. The road was narrower, and the air a bit colder. I cracked my beer in a disused playground, field and skatepark between the tracks and a dozen crushed cars. Everything was silent, save the hum of trucks screaming down the max 90km/h road that cuts the town in half. There’s something Quebec does in their small towns that goes totally lost on Maritime towns, and we just end up with these giant parking lots surrounded by a couple dozen houses. I dunno.
I showed up in Edmundston, and hung out with Alex, Guillome and Francis. It was cool."
Friday, November 27th was another rest day.
"Saturday, November 28th
Edmundston to Grand Falls
I didn’t want to leave, but I had to. I finished any prep; all my food, and it was off for a fast day. No breaks, I just wanted to start getting this precarious part of the ride over with. It was a very simple ride just barrelling down the 144 at 20km/h which has been my average. It was quite cold so I took as few breaks as I could. I needed to just keep going.
I passed few stops along the way anyhow. Riviere Vert, St Leonard… that’s actually it, because this part of the country is extremely deserted. It was a short morning of riding, and I finally got chirped. A dude in a truck whipped by and just said, “HEY!”. That’s the first time that’s happened this whole trip, and it wasn’t a big deal. I just waved at him. I also got what sounded like an encouraging beep from another truck. People must be so bored here.
I bumped into an old French guy on the road. I took a pic because he looked awesome, gave him some cookies and sardines and I continued. At the inn, I checked in and enjoyed the peace of being in this nice little room with a TV and a bathroom. I tried to find something to do in town, but that was a failure. Oh well. Big day tomorrow."
"Sunday, November 29th
Grand Falls to Hartland
I had a mediocre breakfast, then peaced out. I was right: the other side of Grand Falls is nicer. I crossed the bridge, then got on the trail. It was really beautiful today, and not once did I bother putting on my Patagonia jacket. The ride was mostly downhill and very pretty. As I knew it would be, this was one of the toughest rides of the tour. Crossing the Perth-Andover bridge, I started to notice that people were speaking English and signs on stores were English first. I wonder what Maine is like.
I took a lunch on a hill next to the Grand River, and it started to lightly snow. I kept moving until the climb through, and out of Hartland. Some of the biggest climbing I’ll do this tour will be through these hills; about 200km of it. This area was pretty deserted with a massive drop into a valley. These were true logging and hunting spots, and I was worried that I was going to get lost until I came out of the 104, and immediately found Emily’s farm. Emily and John made me dinner, and I decided to take another day off."
Stay tuned as dandyhorse keeps track of Vince's ride. He's just about halfway there! Next stop, Oromocto, NB.
Related on the dandyBLOG: