I got an early start today and was on the road by 8:30 am. I felt amazing! I had a big grin on my face as I hit the Transcanada Highway.
Unfortunately, about 10 km into the ride, I ran over something big and sharp and cut a 2 cm slice right across my rear tire. There was a bang and suddenly, I was riding on the rim. The tire was ruined. Well, that was the tire that just yesterday I realized needed to be replace anyway. I sent a message to Rochelle and then tried to see if I could fix it. The tire itself was ruined but I thought I could fix it well enough to get some additional distance before Rochelle arrived with another tire. My first thought was to use a tube patch to cover the inside of the slice but when I opened up my patch kit, my glue had gone dry and my two backup patch kits were not there.
Plan B was a little radical. I ate one of my protein bars and put the metallized plastic wrapper into the tire and installed a new tube. I pumped it up to about 50 psi (I normally use 95 psi). The tire was firm enough to ride but the "patch" was not bulging through the cut. It worked remarkably well with the only problem being a slight bump due to the lack of structure holding the tire together at that point. I think that I could have gone quite a distance on that although I was being careful to not got too fast.
Eventually, Rochelle caught up to me and I replaced that tire with the the one that I had cut a couple of weeks ago. That cut wasn't too bad but the tire was fairly worn so I just replaced it at the time. In this case, a big tube patch on the inside made it perfectly usable until I can replace it with a new one, likely in St. John's. The ride will be over but I still need to be able to ride that bike.
Rochelle made a couple of stops about an hour's ride ahead of me, waiting for me to make sure that my tire was working out. After lunch, she continued on to our destination campground.
Beyond the drama of a tire blowout, the road today was very hilly. There was a continuous succession of very long and steep hills that seemed to become even longer while going through Terra Nova National Park. Most people will likely remember Terra Nova for its beautiful forest and ocean coastlines. I will remember it for grinding up its long hills.
Once out of Terra Nova, the hills became more manageable but there was still 30 km left to go and I arrived at the campground just as the sun was ducking down into the trees. 130 km of that kind of terrain really drains you!
Well, there are just two days of cycling left! Only 225 km to Cape Spear, just outside of St. John's and the furthest point east in Newfoundland, Canada and North America, if you don't count Greenland. (Did you know Greenland is a part of North America? I didn't until just recently.) We are now trying to figure out where we will stop tomorrow night. There are two campgrounds, one is a little too close and the other is a little too far. I guess my legs might make the decision tomorrow!