Cabot trail Carumba! 1995

This year, the Cabot Trail run went clock-wise around the trail, starting Friday, Sep.01/95, and finishing for most people on Monday, Sep.04/95. Gary was in charge as usual, and it was nice to see Duncan Mustard running the sag-wagon. The weather was literally astounding, and the people as interesting as you would expect this sort of endeavor to attract. The Trail was as hilly as usual, the only surprises veing the views from the other way, as well as the elevation changes happening in reverse.

I had a great time, and would do it again in a minute. The organization is quite loose, but nothing falls through the cracks. Can't really say that I would like more or less or whatever administration goes with such events, just that the effect on me was very positive. I cycled a lot by myself, ran into and cycled with, had supper with, and partied with a fair number of people, and enjoyed the mix between a solitary, hard, physical effort, mixed with a very enjoyable social experience. Cool.


No real training for this ride. I'm getting lots of cycling in anyway, and have the trips to Blomidon and Truro under my belt, as well as quite a few spring training runs. We have been doing a lot of camping this summer, so getting the little details together for food and such was not too difficult. I work from a big travel/camping list, and then generate a specific one for something like this. I had very little stuff to pick up other than food and beer. Since I got my rain sheel and pile jacket last year, I didn't have anything new to get other than a small rain tarp, which I don't think I'll use anyway.

I tried to snag an early ride, but since everyone was leaving later, I took the afternoon off, borrowed Larry's rack and drove the Jetta, since it didn't seem to have naymore oil pressure problems. As usual, I brought no cooler, and enough food for the weekend. Not sure how many meals I'll make, but I am using the support van, as I have a full knapsack, and a big plastic container for food and camping gear.


Took the afternoon off, made up some veggies, got some beer and gas, loaded up the car and drove to Baddeck. Got there in time to setup and make a full supper before it got dark. I had forgotten my water bottles, so in talking to somene going back into Baddeck (Graham), I asked him to pick me up one, at least. Rahter than sit by myself, I wandered over to a campsite and introduced myself to quite a crew: Frank, Neta, Ernie and Eleanor. Two couples in their early fifties, driving mountain bikes and putting back a bit of alcohol. Talked to Duncan for awhile, had a few brew and off to sleep. The night was cool but quite nice.


Great weather in the morning. Nice sunny day. Got up a 6:00, had a shower, big breakfast, got packed up and got my car and gear stowed. Rather than wait for the group picture, I took off in an ealy group including Frank and crew. Nice light riding all morning, running into new people such as Walton, Ruth and John, who I saw a lot of over the weekend. Also ran into a friend of Bruce McCrae's (met in the Relay) at a small spring. Pretty easy ride into Margaree harbour. Stopped at the Piper for my one and only made meal, which I shared with Jerry. made a quick stop at Joe ScareCrow's for a picture, and started hearing about a concert in Cheticamp worth chasing down: Nathalie MacMaster. Got some photos along the way. Decided to have people in all shots. Got some of the scarecrows from last year's Relay run.

Had the good fortune to see an eagle while standing on a cliff outside Cheticamp. Would have gotten a picture, but the bugger soared up into a tree and sat there longer than I was willing to wait.

Ran into Jerry in Cheticamp, and we decided to enter the bar early, as it was filling up fast. Had a great time. Tough to leave and ride in the rain (started around 1:00) to the camp. but the fiddle playing was a mystical experience as was Dave MacIsaac's guitar playing. Talked to a few locals and took a few pictures. Great fun. Had supper at the campground, scrounging food off Frank's group, and then coffee's with Cathy, Doug, Chris and a few others. The weahter was misting, with lots of bugs, but someone started a fire and there was quite a bit of hilarity to go around. There were about a dozen maountain bikers, mostly young guys, with their own support vehicle. They had lots of stuff, food, beer and energy. Definitely different from last year. Lots of mountain bikes on the tour this year. Taled to quite a few people, including Mike and Michelle MacDonald, and Bill and Keith. Retired at 10:00 as Sunday is the hard day.


Another gorgeous sunrise, shower, big breakfast and quick camp breakdown. have been basically doing all my meals, getting up at 6:00, bed at 10:00 and showers at both ends of the day. Sleep is a bit funny. Keep waking up for 30 seconds or so. Probanly just too excited.

Start off alone, and quite early, getting passed a lot as the day goes. Do the Cheticamp bumps quite easily, then grind up French with John, and later Greg. No too hard, and a nice spin across the plateau and down to Pleasant Bay, where a bunch of us take a very pleasant break. Tool along to the Lone Sheiling for another break, then grind up North. The stop at the top was amazing! gary and his gorlfriend were waiting at the sign with water, when along comes a mother moose and one offspring. She camps under the sign, and we all get quite a few great pictures. Twenty feet from 2 moose, and me standing under the North Mountain sign after just climbing it non-stop. What a thrill!!!

Zipped down the mountain to the little park at the bottom for a lunch break. Very nice, people sharing food and stories. Having an serious energy drop that ends up lasting over 2 hours. Have been very serious about my food and water intake, so not sure what it is. Would have messed up the rest of the day, but as it was, it disappeared before we got much past Neil's harbour

Missed stopping at Aspy Bay, and didn't do the White Point turnoff, electing instead to go for a little skinny-dip up one of the more secluded brooks. Same place I hit last year. Then zoomed to the Neil's harbour turnoff and met up with 5-6 people and rode into camp from there. A hard day, but felt pretty good in camp and much better than the 2 hours in the middle. Keith and I hiked down to the Broad Cove beach for a swi in some big surf. Thought we might get washed out to sea. No wind, lovely sun, and really big swells. A magic setting. Then off to the showers, back to camp for some dinner and beer, scrounging dessert off Neta again and then hanging out by the fire till 10:00. The mountain bike guys looked like they spent the day in the park. Full of piss and vinegar, and well organized. They do a lot of racing and this is how they spend their weekends.


The weekend is going too fast! Another stunning day on Monday. The showers are 2-3 kms away, but I get up and make my way on the bike. Worth it for the shower and shave. And the sunrise off the water... Like Sunday's trip along the coast, I love coming upon a view of the ocean behind hills on a sunny day. Whew!

Nice slow breakfast, lots of chatting and a very slow start. Trip to Smokey very slow, talking with 2 guys from Montreal. We do the climb together, and then I spend 1/2 hour sitting on a bluff on the downhill side that allows an unrestricted view along the coast for many a kilometer. Simply heaven. Light breeze, lots of sun. Really a magical time. At the bottom of the mountain, I spot another brrok and get another swim in. This is getting very relaxing, and I'm really enjoying everything. Finally get to Wreck Cove, and have lunch with a few people. Checking the map, I see that I still have 40 miles or so to go. Getting alittle sloppy, so I get in the drops for the first time all weekend and pund my way to the Englishtown ferry, where I promptly go for another salt-water swim. Jeez, I'm loving this. Pound my way again into Baddeck, where John and I stop for some treats and achingly make our way back to camp, which is still about 10 Kms away. Made for a quick finish. Rode a lot of miles in the big ring, pulling big gears. paid for it a little afterward, but it felt really good.

back at the campground, it a bunch of goddbyes to people, get the car out of hock, take a picture, take a shower, pack up and start zooming back to Dartmouth. The car runs well, and the tunes are cooking. I'm sore, and I'm tired, but not too much of either, and I'm really happy. It was a hell of a weekend, and I can put one more notch on the old beast.