Around the tip of Nova Scotia wraps one of cycling’s most famous destinations: The Cabot Trail. The views in the the travel guides show miles of road snaking along the red, rocky cliffs into the crisp blue waters of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There is certainly some of that and I was a bit apprehensive because what the pictures aren’t really clear on is that there are almost no shoulders in Nova Scotia and that there are plenty of RVs, trucks and day-trippers out to take in the sights or at least get to work. I also happen to be a bit afraid of heights and careening out of control on my loaded bike over the guard rail and into the maw of the sea (after bouncing a bit on gashing rocks).
Perhaps it was after Newfoundland, but it did not seem that difficult. So what it was raining, drizzling…that there were headwinds and the three Category 6 climbs on my loaded bike? I could do it again, backwards, riding a unicycle, standing on my head!
On the last day, as I climbed the final peak, a pack of cyclists, jaunty and light, zipped down the MacKenzie Mountain switchbacks. Some of them had time to yell a quick hello before disappearing into the mist. I could barely grunt back as the sweat poured down my face and into my eyes at 10 in the morning. While I try to never begrudge any other cyclists, I thought this: “Lousy package cyclists, feeling tough, letting someone else carry your toothbrush and off to stay in a warm bed with an ocean view and drink wine…”
It was not one of my finer moments.
After four days on the trail, I woke up this morning and took a swim in the surprisingly warm Gulf of St. Lawrence. My tent and everything in it is almost dry. I’ll head back to camp, have another swim and drink a beer. It is good.
The famed Cabot Trail