Day 69: Ingonish Beach to Baddeck (91.5 km)
Despite going to bed at 8.30pm (!) I woke up feeling tired. Hardly surprising perhaps given yesterday’s epic ride.
The season seems to have shifted overnight. The yellowing maple leaves signal the approaching fall and the summer of cycling is coming to a close. A breeze swooping down the mountain side causes a flutter of leaves to fall from their branches onto the empty Tarmac. The road is quiet as the holiday traffic has driven home, school starts next week.
First thing in the morning I follow the coast out from Ingonish beach, past the harbour to the foot of Smokey Mountain. It is a solitary climb up, though not as punishing as the mountains from yesterday. As I approach the summit puffs of cloud waft across the road as if someone is having a campfire. I guess it is not called Smokey Mountain for nothing. The downhill switches back and forth between gorgeous coastal views and sharp bends warning drivers to go at 25km per hour.
For the rest of the day I followed the inland coast past a patchwork of harbours, inlets, lakes and rivers. Here it is hard to tell what is fresh water and what is ocean. I am told that the Bras d’Or Lake, though it is called a lake, is really sea water.
The road I follow glides off into a spit of land that narrows to the width of the road. For 2km I have water on both side. A ferry completes the last 150m the water over to English Bay.
Approaching the campsite I pass a cycle tourist coming the opposite way. A woman by herself bent low into the wind with black panniers, she looks just like me. We waved manically across the road to each other.
It starts to rain just as I have finished setting up my tent. I spent the evening hiding in the campground common room, dithering about what to do tomorrow. It is forecast to rain for 5 hours tomorrow. But the stormy weather will also bring gusting easterly winds which will help me no end. Should I take the day off then on Friday I might only get showers but I’d also a gusting westerly wind? Decisions, decisions. My butt hurts and my legs ache but that is normal.
It’s 8.30pm: Time for bed,