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Ontario: Wiarton to Markdale

19 September 2014 – Day 93

Muntasir’s shin was really sore again today, but we decided still to ride, hoping that the icing last night would help. We are almost done with the trip anyhow; it is about 200kms to Toronto now. Neither of us can actually believe that we have made it this far. It was -1 degree this morning.

We rugged up and took it slow, taking plenty of breaks.

We have noticed that all of these small towns have police stations, but we are wondering what the police actually do? Surely there cannot be much crime to work on – perhaps they are involved in more community initiatives. Community initiatives that seem to involved a lot of bakeries and coffee shops J

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We entered what we found out was Grey County today. It was a gorgeous area, and primarily targeted at people living in Toronto who wanted a break. There were picture-perfect little cottages and farmhouses everywhere. Local produce was available on every road and there were turnoffs to hikes, biking trails and waterfalls around every corner. We ventured down some side roads and really enjoyed it – except for the fact that Muntasir’s shin was still really hurting.

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As the day went on, his shin got worse. We were stopping regularly but it was not enough. We tried to get a lift to the next town, but no one was taking any notice. We rode on a bit further, but by then Muntasir was almost crying. We stopped properly, and I put my hand out. After about half an hour a car drove up beside us. It was an open pick-up truck, but the woman was very hesitant and kept repeating that she would not normally stop. I spoke to her for a bit and reassured her – after all, we were on a bike, and Muntasir literally could not walk.

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We got to Markdale (population 1400) just before lunch and rented out the last room in the town’s only motel (which was more like a few rooms for family and friends). We got straight onto icing, raising and resting Muntasir’s shin.

It was heartbreaking – we were so close, and so scared now that we would not be able to make it. All of the sweat and tears and arguments, just to reach a town that was now less than 200kms away but that we could not ride into.

I bought comfrey cream from a local naturopath and we tried that, we tried some gentle exercises, massage, and hoped that things would improve overnight.

Garmin 200 reading: Distance: 37.32km/Ascent 270m/Descent 210m

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20 September 2014 – Day 94 (rest day)

Today was no improvement. It was cold, rainy and Muntasir’s shin was looking even more inflamed. He could not even walk on it. We were devastated. It was starting to sink in that this could be the end of trip.

I went and spoke to the motel owners about the situation and even more bad news – our room was booked for the night, so we had to move. How? There was no bus service, a taxi would be ridiculously expensive and there was no way we could ride. Luckily, the motel owners, a Greek family, were super understanding. We could stay in a half-renovated room without a shower or a key at the end of the block for as long as we needed. The room was not great, but it was definitely enough for us.

We decided to rest – it looked like a hurricane outside anyhow – and hopefully something would change by tomorrow. We just did not want to give up yet.

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