Canada Day 72-73: Riding Ottawa to Hawkesbury and Montreal

Day 72 Riding Ottawa to Hawkesbury

For today’s ride, Jenna and I took the Russell Prescott Trail, which is a multi-purpose trail over the old railway, which meant it was super flat and straight. There was nobody else on the trail, so we played our 90’s pop music and cruised along.

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It was so nice to take a break from the busy roads and the packed gravel trail was actually quite good for riding. We stopped by one of the towns and found a chip shop for lunch and rode along the water for the last few kilometres.

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Such a cute little stop sign

Towards the end I was feeling tired and unfocused, luckily Jenna was there to lead the way and we had a nice airbnb place booked for the night. We both felt wrecked, so after a shower and some rest, we headed to the grocery store to find some easy dinner (frozen pizzas). As bedtime approached, I went through the usual checklist for things I had to prepare for the next day. I felt exhausted and excited about reaching Montreal, I’ve spent the last few weeks visualising the finish line and I was only one ride away from my goal.

Day 73 Riding Hawkesbury to Montreal

The last ride for the tour, it didn’t seem real yet, it was just another day, except it was a lot colder than usual. I wore my raincoat for most of the day and we cruised along, with a pleasant tailwind for the first half of the journey.

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There wasn’t anything noticeably different when we crossed into Quebec, aside from cheese curds for sale at the petrol station counter. But Montreal looked and felt so different compared to the other major cities, mainly because it’s a lot older and the French influence gives it a cool vibe. While Canada celebrates its 150th birthday, Montreal was celebrating its 375th birthday, so they’ve organised plenty of festivities on the weekends throughout summer.

Jenna and I rode through the city centre and parted ways after I found my accommodation with my friend Molly. We met three years ago when we went on a volunteer assignment overseas and she moved to Montreal to learn French and enjoy the lifestyle. It was so cool to catch up and talk to such an adventurous person who likes moving around and seeing new places.

I ended up going to sleep early, but I was keen to recharge before I packed in some sightseeing over the next few days. It was such a relief to know that the 8,000km of cycling on this trip was all done and I could spend my last days in Canada eating, wandering and resting.

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