Sunday, 6 June 2010

On the last two weeks, or Bikemoose Triumphant

Well, maybe the alternate title is perhaps is overly dramatic, but there is a reason for this, which I will get to in time. Suffice it to say, there has been a noticeable success in the bicycling department.

I got back from London without significant problems. The following weekend saw the Défi Métropolitain. The parents and I all went in it. I had got Leonardo out of his shipping box the day before, and there was no damage.
There was a stilt cyclist near the start of the tour, but I doubt she did even the shortest circuit (c. 78 km). ;-)
The parents both did the 100 km circuit. I contented myself with the 133 km circuit. Shortly before lunch my average speed was 28.4 km/h.
Unfortunately, then the route turned into the wind, and my average speed for the whole day was 25.2 km/h. The quality of Quebec roads in comparison to those of the United Kingdom is very poor.

The next day, I saw a quite unusual symbol on the Environment Canada website. This one, in fact:It stands for smoke. The smoke from forest fires several hundred kilometers to North and East had drifted here. After dodging volcanic ash clouds on my trip to the UK, I got hit by forest fire ash!

Unlike the Metropolitan Challenge, the Tour de l'Île is less of a test of one's stamina and speed, and more of socio-political statement. Consequently, one can make more of a fashion statement.
This year, I made a very distinct and much commented such a sartorial statement. In a nutshell, I lived up to my nom de plume and attached moose antlers to my bike helmet.
Unfortunately, this picture doesn't do them justice owing the background. This shot gives a better idea of the effect.
I cut out two double thicknesses of corroplast, more or less perpendicular to the corrugations. The ends of each side, I bent in opposite directions, have cut the plastic on the inside. I then thread a zip-tie through holes I had punched into the corroplast and hence inside my helmet. I had been thinking that I might need multiple zip-ties per antler, but one each seemed to work very well.
Doing it this year had the benefit of raising morale considerably amongst both participants and organisers. I must have heard a hundred or more amused comments, and doubtless caused many more silent chuckles. About three of the commentators thought the antlers were wings and one person thought they were caribou antlers. For heaven's sakes, caribou antlers are "fore and aft"! One spectator did a double take, then mimed shooting me with a rifle. I yelled that it wasn't hunting season! ;-)

This year saw some of the most consistently foul-weather that I have experienced in the Tour. It rained the whole time, and the temperature never rose about 12 Celsius. There was a Tour with especially nasty weather about a dozen years ago. However, though the rain that day had teeth, the day started out nice. In some ways, today's persistent and consistent rain was good as it weeded out the less-determined and the poorly-equipped. The traffic on the tour was much lighter than normal. Even in the ranks of my experienced party, the Mole opted out before we got to the start, and my Father dropped out rather than complete the last 3 (uphill) kilometers. Only the hardcore (my mother and myself) persisted until the end.

Therefore, I put forward the notion that the chuckles and grins I caused were particularly appreciated and even-needed today. Certainly, seeing the grins on people's faces put me in a better mood. Doubtless, I gave strength to people. Thus, it has been a triumph. Hence Bikemoose triumphant.

No comments: