Sunday, 29 May 2011

On a use of smartphones

Today was the first of Vélo-Québec's Défi's of the summer. There are usually three. The first is the Défi Metropolitain which happens somewhere quite close to Montreal. It usually happens the last Sunday in May, a week before the Tour de l'Île. The third is the Défi des Cantons de l'Est (or Eastern Townships Challenge) which, as the title suggests, takes place in the Eastern Townships, usually in early September. The second challenge has no fixed name as it moves around significantly from year to year.

Anyway, my Father and I participated this year. (My Mother was sick). This year the tour started in Point Calumet on the North Shore of the Ottawa river and took us through Oka and Kanestake (quite possibly on that road) featuring tobacco shacks, and riverfront house with lawns right down to the water's edge (if this is what Venise-en-Quebec is like then the flooding in the Richelieu is no surprise), before looping back inland through farms and various villages that make up greater Mirabel. I opted for the "127" km loop which my final odometer reading was 133.55 km, average speed 23.6 km/h and max speed of 58.2 km/h. However, it ceased reading at least once on account of the rain that dominated the day.

The rain was off and on during the morning, until at around 11 or so it started coming down very persistently. It was a fairly warm rain to the extent I ride without rain pants, but it was draining. When I got the lunch point, I went inside a skating rink to eat out of the rain. While I was eating, I check out Environment Canada's weather radar image for the area. Thankfully, it showed that the rain would soon be over. A considerable relief, let me tell you. I am very thankful for my merino wool biking jersey.

After lunch, I rode on, stopping near the end at the Intermiel apicutural centre where I bought a couple of bottles of mead. That corner of Quebec seems to be rather littered with what I think of as slightly upscale day-trip tourist destinations: orchards, sugar shacks, vineyards, soaperies and the like. (Also, discount tobacco shacks in Kanestake.)

Early in the day, I stopped at a gas station to get some gatorade (having stupidly left our waterbottles in the fridge). As I was fitting the bottles onto my bike, a local asked me what foundation all these cyclists were riding in aid of! I was half-tempted to say it was an inverse fund raiser for the RAMQ (Régie d'Assurance Medical du Québec): the more we rode, the less it would have to spend! Ah, 'thons and Québec. ;-)

At one point, my father (who opted for a 76 km ride) was interviewed and photographed for a Japanese magazine. I presume the people involved (1 Québécoise and 1 Japanese) thought he looked like "a colourful character". It would be fun to learn if he makes the cut. Also, what the Japanese public thinks of my Santa Claus-like father. Pappy later said to me that from the people he had seen, he thought he was oldest one there. I am not so sure, though he probably was up there!

Anyway, I am now bathed, fed but still somewhat sore from it all. Oh, my clipless pedals and cleat shoes worked fairly well, though at times they felt a bit loose. At others, I nearly forgot about them. This was slightly dangerous coming to a halt! In light of this last element, I think it best to take die Fleddermoose in the Tour de l'Île rather than Leonardo.

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