Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ride report: An accidental 185km ride

I got back from France on Monday night and the jetlag and who knows what else made me feel quite miserable throughout the whole week. Whereas in France I wanted to ride all the time -- and couldn't, back in Montreal I could've ridden all the time -- but wouldn't. Since the lack of physical activity obviously didn't help with my mood, I firmly planned to go for a ride on Saturday. Nothing strenuous, just 100km at a leisurely on a well-known route.

Knowing myself and my tendency not to go through with the "leisurely pace" or "just 100km" aspects, I even took measures like leaving at home my GPS (to prevent me from chasing Strava segments), just bringing one water bottle, and not packing more than the four Clif Bars that were already in my saddle bag. The jetlag woke me up at 5:30 and I was on the road by 7:30, and initially everything worked out as planned. I tootled along across the St. Lawrence and on towards Chambly where I was then to turn towards St.-Jean-sur-Richelieu on the Chambly Canal bike path.

Once I got to a little map display of the region's bike trails in Chambly, however, I suddenly was like: "Hey, you've already done the St.-Jean ride a couple times this year. What about going to, say, Granby?" The map claimed it would only be 26 km, and while in the back of my mind I clearly knew that that couldn't be right, the urge to bikebikebike had already kicked in. I was thrown back a bit when just 5 minutes later I got stuck at the swing bridge across the Chambly Canal. It stayed open for quite some time, meaning that a sizeable number of cars and cyclists amassed on both ends.
Gunnar at the shore of Lac-Chambly

I was first in line when it opened and somehow the knowledge of having large packs of cyclists behind me made me drop that "ride leisurely" thing. Things got even "worse" when at a traffic light a roadie on a crabon wonder bike asked where I was going. He told me he was headed for Magog, which is past Granby, and that he, too, intended to take the main road instead of the bike path. Neither of us said anything about riding together, but soon I'd hear the sound of another bike sitting on my wheel. I was going fast now -- and enjoyed it. Soon we'd start taking turns with the pulls and with an average of well over 30 km/h we zoomed along on the wide shoulder of Route 112 towards Granby (which, by the way, is 48 km from Chambly, not 26...).


After 35 km we started slowing down a bit and by the time we got to Granby both us felt pretty wasted and in need of a break. I had only had one Clif Bar and my water bottle wasn't even empty yet. A nice female triathlete we had been drafting for the last 2km (ouch, was she fast...) gave us some recommendations for places to eat at in Granby and pointed out that there was a huge classic car expo going on. I parted ways with my riding buddy -- I hope his legs weren't too toast, as Magog is still an hour from Granby and now the hills would start -- and went to a drug store to buy water, V8 and a bottle of sunscreen.

Lac-Boivin and its fountain
One of many crazy cars
I don't particularly care about cars but since the expo was just around the corner I rode in that direction anyway. Seeing all the crazy hot rods lined up was actually fun and I do appreciate the DIY and custom modification culture in that scene (more pics at the end of the post). Past the exhibition grounds, at an observation tower at Lac-Boivin, I finally took my well-deserved break and after feeling somewhat recovered I started heading back home. My odometer was at 92 km and I took it much more slowly now. Instead of riding on Route 112 I stayed on the Route-des-Champs trail all the way back to Chambly. My legs were tired and my butt increasingly sore (I guess my sitbone calluses have disappeared during the three-week period off the bike...), but I nonetheless enjoyed myself immensely. After 185km and 7:43 in the saddle I arrived back home.
Crossing the Yamaska River

Loons(?) hanging out in the Richelieu River

Final stop at Fort Chambly, 30km to go
Perfect car for the biketopus
The Québec Libre! mobile
Funny from the outside...
...even better inside

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