Sunday, 16 March 2008

On the surprising utility of Vélo-Québec events

Vélo-Québec has finally posted the routes that the Tour de l'Île and the Défi Métropolitain will take this year. However, they have yet to post the Défi d'Acton Vale. Of course, one possible timing of the Newfoundland trip would prevent me from attending the latter event so question may be moot.

The Tour de l'Ïle route looks quite familiar, passing through the Lafarge quarry, of which I have written. It starts near the Olympic Stadium which is about 15 km from here by bike. In many ways this is quite a good thing as the tour is only 50 km this year. The 50 km plus the 15 km there and the 15 km back will make up a very nice 80 km. This is also good as much of the 15 km can be done on the Route Verte and will be the route I will be taking on my first day of the Newfoundland trip. I will thus be able to build up a little more of my mental map of the route.

In line with this idea, the Défi Métropolitain will be starting in Répentigny and heading North-ish away from Montreal before getting to Berthierville or Lanoraie from where it returns to Répentigny along the Saint-Lawrence River. This latter part should include a significant section of the very route I will be taking on the first day of the Newfoundland trip, albeit in reverse. This is very good news as I will not only build up the mental map, but I will also be able to mentally calibrate the information in my Guide de la Route Verte as it applies to rural settings. There will be, of course, the caveat that the Route Verte is made up of all lot of different bike paths and thus is relatively inconsistent. Still, this will be a golden opportunity.

Another golden opportunity will be the chance to test my stamina for long hauls over flat terrain. I took a look at the route using Google Earth this evening. My reading of the land the Défi will cross is that it consists of the flat Champlain seabed. Good for major mileage. My current intent is to do the maximum 144 km.

In other news, I went to MEC today to buy the products to keep my waterproof breathables in tip-top condition. This was partly inspired by the memory of the last day of the San Juan Islands trip.

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