Sojourners by Bike-Day 6/Part I
When I woke up Friday morning, I was too busy thinking about the 90% chance of rain predicted and how to dress for it, to focus much on the miles (85, 70, 45), or to be nostalgic about it being our last day and how quickly in one way (but certainly not in all) the week had gone.
Today was the Queen stage of our Vermont to Quebec City Tour – the most difficult day of the tour.
Just as the group was rolling away from the Hotel Gouverneur, Mark and I decided to get our rain jackets out of the backpack in the van so we could carry them on the bike. That done, we hurried through a residential area to catch up to the group.
This time getting out of town was more difficult than getting in. Catching up to the group, we rolled through heavy morning commuter traffic, plus construction that required us to cross the road a couple of times. Not easy getting 16 people on bikes across busy roads with morning traffic, but with our usual finesse, we did it. It was a lot of stop and go and breathing of car fumes.
We walked our bikes across the sidewalk on the bridge with all the construction (and thanks to my Garmin Edge 305 and Google Earth I see it was actually 2 bridges – separated by a small island). After getting across the bridges we all stopped and discussed which way we were to go.
Since most of us had taken a wrong turn yesterday we didn’t want to repeat it – no extra miles today, thank you. About that time – like a knight on a white horse, Joshua on his Cannondale stead, raced by, turning on to a side street and waiting for the herd of cats to get in line. Excuse the mixed metaphor.
The first hard part was over. Now we knew why one of the options for the day was to shuttle the first 7 miles out of Trois-Rivières!
When things had settled down I started thinking about whether I would go for the full 85 miles or something shorter. Mark seemed up for the full 85 – although neither of us knew how we would do once we came to the 3 ominous sounding climbs going into Quebec City. We had ridden every mile thus far and being who we are we wanted to ride all the way into Quebec City – even if it meant walking up the hills. One positive thing – there was no rain and the temperatures were cool – humid – but cool.
A neat thing happened as we were riding down this long stretch of road just outside of Trois-Rivières. As we were riding we passed a yard sale, and as we did someone shouted at us and waved. We quickly recognized her as the woman that had checked us in at the Hotel Gouverneur – and waved back – amazed that she recognized us! Another nice/friendly Quebecer!
At our first stop with Montreal Mark, we refilled bottles with water topped off with Gatorade mix, plus a few granola bars and fruit, then we were off. By this time the group had splintered into smaller groups; Mark, Lisa and I rode together. Not to be gross, but the eggs (which appeared to be powdered eggs) I had at breakfast were continuing to make their presence known – and I’m not talking about fueling my legs. Nausea and bike riding are not a good combo. At the rest stop I took a couple of tums and hoped that the eggs would fade into the background.
What I have noticed over the years on multi-day rides is you can feel great one day (me yesterday) and feel the polar opposite the next day – me today. The eggs didn’t help. Anyway, it was a pleasant ride as we rode an easy pace. There was really not much wind to speak of and still no rain – more than we could have hoped for given the forecast.
We rode along the mighty St. Lawrence river often being able to see it from the road. I loved riding alongside water.
Today’s route took us through farmland, villages, quaint houses, large churches or small cathedrals and basically, one bucolic scene after another.
|At first glance it looks like a pilgrim riding a broom.|
|Betty either taking a break or having a tantrum.|
After crossing the Riviere St. Anne, the van was waiting at the Fromagerie FX Pichet, an organic cheese producer. We had the choice doing a tour and tasting or riding on. We decided to ride on but refilled our bottles and chatted for a few minutes. This was about at mile 25 so if we were going to ride the full 85 we still had 60 to go. My body didn’t feel like it had 30 let alone 60 miles of riding in it!
Before going very far it quickly became obvious that we now had a head to cross wind. Oh boy – now we didn’t just have 85 miles to ride but we were going to ride it against the wind too!
As we rode on, the stronger the wind got – plus it was more of a straight headwind. It also seemed like we were gradually climbing. I rode in front and put my head down and pedaled. I was feeling not so good and as we rode along heading to Deschambault for lunch I was coming to the conclusion that I probably wasn’t going to ride the full 85. Even though it wasn’t the best of conditions for riding a bike – sailing, maybe – it was still nice to be out there riding. It was our last day, and it was still fun – hell, we were in Quebec riding bikes! Hard yes, but fun, definitely.
We eased the pace some and pedaled on toward lunch. The closer we got to Deschambault the hungrier I got. Lisa was in front of us and when we got to Deschambault she was waiting at the the recommended lunch stop, L’ Angélus Bistro.
My day turned at L’ Angélus Bistro. As the saying goes, it was exactly what the doctor ordered. We were the first ones of the group there, and the place was empty. As we were looking over the menu others from our group arrived.
It was a neat restaurant so I went around with my camera taking pictures.
While we decided on lunch we ordered the requisite cappuccino and orange San Pellegrino. We took pictures of Jerry & Lisa and they took pictures of us. We were all happy to be off the bike and out of the wind for awhile.
|Yep, I get that excited over cappuccino.|
|And San Pelligrino|
|A few slices of life + look at that salad!|
|More bike racks in front of the bistro than the town we live in.|
After the delicious pizza and salad, 2 Pellegrino’s and cappuccino, I felt like I had had a blood transfusion – seriously, like I had engaged in a little blood doping or something. It was amazing, really, I couldn’t believe the difference in how I felt going into Angélus Bistro and I felt leaving. Nothing short of a miracle.
I didn’t realize it at the time, (duh), but I had been riding on an empty tank. Not only had I not eaten much at breakfast, but I had not had much to eat at dinner the night before either. I didn’t like what I ordered – pasta and shrimp but with a heavy cream sauce which I didn’t like and ate little of. When you are doing these kind of miles you have to eat (damn – no food = no fuel. Refueled, I was ready to go. I also started thinking about those last 3 hills into Quebec City we had heard so much about.
|Halfway to QC – only 45 miles to go!|
The sun was out and it was warming up – things were definitely looking up. I ignored the wind, okay, you couldn’t really ignore it, but I didn’t focus on it as we headed away from Deschambault.
Read on: Sojourners by Bike ~ Day 6 (Part II)