Sunday, 24 February 2008

On matters relating to the Underground city

I ran 5 km today indoors without retracing my steps. Well sort of, the Fête du Montréal interieur et souterrain 5km does come fairly close to retracing its steps. However, the concept is sufficiently novel that we can ignore that. This is the third year that it has been held, and I have been to all of them. It has gotten larger each year, and I hope that it doesn't get any larger unless the organisation of the event can be significantly improved as there was way too many bottlenecks before and after, generally waiting to drop off or pick up bags of winter clothing. I also hope that someone tells the boss to lay off the damn microphone, or at least develop better mic technique.

My time was 30:53.1 which is 10 seconds slower than last year. I was 604 out of 936 overall, 158 out of 188 men 30-39 and 470 out of 584 men. The short version is that I am not very good runner. At least, I am not a runner with much training.

In addition to yet another Dry-fit t-shirt, among the freebies I got was a neat, little compass from Hydro-Quebec. I have attached it to the zipper of my biking jacket which was in need of a zipper pull. I don't know how well it will stand up to the rigors of use, but I hope it will.

Along the way, I passed the Palais des Congrés where it was the Salon du Moto weekend. I was amused to note that they were handing out free copies of the Journal de Montréal at that event. The Journal de Montréal is Montréal's main tabloid newspaper, unlike La Presse which is a more staid, middle of the road, broadsheet. Why the comparison? Well, if you will review my previous entry, you find reference to La Presse being given away at the Salon du Vélo last weekend. Obviously, cyclists are a higher class of people than motorcyclists! ;-)

Speaking of the Salon du Vélo, or rather speaking at the Salon du Vélo was a guy by the name of René Ouellet who at the age of 50 set off from Matane to visit the northern and southern extremes of the inhabited continents by bike. He was 55 when he got back. Along the way, he seems to have become something of a celebrity to the Taiwanese. He is also an advocate what he terms slow tourism. Certainly, he is likely a slower cycle tourist than I, carrying at times roughly a 100 kilograms of stuff on his bike. Then again, he was going as a very self-sufficient cycle-tourist carrying as many spares as he could (I saw some photographs where he had 2 spare tires on his bike) and clothing suitable for the extreme range of climates he had to face. Then again, he was traveling through many countries where bike shops are few and far between.

There was one note that struck me as a little off in his presentation. When he got to Alaska (after having taken the plane from Korea) he had thought that the northern extreme of North America was in the Yukon. While he found out very soon it was in fact Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, I would have thought that nearly five years into his trip, he would have known where his second to last major destination was. I knew that Prudhoe Bay was North America's farthest north.

I managed to acquire a significant number of biking related material such as regional biking maps and the like. Not only for the Newfoundland trip but also for more general use. Unfortunately, the maps I really wanted, the routes to the Défis de l'été, were still not available. (C'mon Vélo-Québec. Get a move on.)

One of the exhibitors at the Bike Show was Arkel. I would have been surprised if they weren't there as Montreal is the closest major city to there headquarters in Lennoxville. I looked with a certain interest at their handlebar bags. They seemed quite sturdy and practical. Unfortunately, they are also expensive. (As an alternative, while I was at MEC yesterday, I looked at the MEC alternative. Unfortunately, while it was cheaper, the map case portion was simply inadequate.) The advantage of having a handlebar bag would be to have an obvious, and quick release place to keep valuable and/or frequently used items. (Keys, wallet, multitool, camera, snacks, documentation, batteries, binocs, etc.)

One discovery at the Bike Show was that Devinci also makes helmets. They seemed quite nice. Unfortunately, they have yet to make their appearance on Devinci's website.

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