Saturday, April 19, 2014

Memories of winter

Mercier Bridge with floating ice at sunset

Ride report: Circling the windmills

Spring has finally arrived in Montreal—at least kind of. The forecast predicted mostly sunny skies with temperatures a little under 10°C. Not too shabby. I clearly have lots of pent up demand in me for riding, and so after doing 50 km on Friday, I planned a 100 km route for Sunday. The route was a variation of two longer rides I had done before, with a new connector segment to keep the distance down. The other change was the direction in which I was doing the ride. Usually when riding in the Monteregie I do the southeast/south part first in order to have a better change of catching the usual southwest to west winds on the way back. As the wind forecast for Saturday promised rather strong winds from anywhere between southeast and northwest, I figured I might as well mix things up and start out by going southwest.
Little traffic

Well, once I crossed the St. Lawrence Seaway onto the mainland I was greeted by a strong headwind. The area just south of Montreal is very flat and characterized by vast fields on black soil—and more recently wind turbines. Few trees provide shelter, and I was struggling to maintain even 20 km/h. The wind also meant that despite the relatively mild temperatures and the spring sun I felt little incentive to stop and take a break. Once I reached Saint-Urbain-Premier, after about 45 km, I circled through the little village to find a bench or other wind-protected spot, but to no avail. Since Saint-Urbain was also the point where I would change direction from southwest to southeast I figure I might as well keep going. This was the new connector segment, which turned out to be a nice addition to my road collection, especially with the wind now at least coming mostly from the side and back.

Were the engineers slightly drunk when plotting this road...?
After another 10 km I reached the turnaround point and now had the wind fully in my back for a few kilometers. Glorious riding while it lasted—which wasn't for too long. I finally took a lunch break, fully exposed to the wind, before continuing back towards Delson. The view of the numerous windmills with their rapidly spinning blades accompanied me for most of the way. I reached home in a pretty exhausted state after 108 km.
Lunch break!

I really miss having Gunnar, my road bike, for rides like this. It's just not the same on Wolfgang.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Whee South Shore!, or: The Jacques Cartier is open again!

Hooray, I can get to the South Shore again. The Jacques Cartier Bridge bike path has reopened for the season. Definite sign of spring!