I will be leaving for Scotland in just under 2 weeks. This has brought on the usual preparations along with some less usual ones.
In particular, I did the Défi Métropolitain this year under conditions that might be described as both as physical and mental preparations for biking in the Highlands. To begin with, it was quite cold. Mummy said that her bike computer said the temperature was only 4 degrees at the start. There was also a stiff wind out of the north which drove the rain at the cyclists with a vengeance. It was fricking miserable. A lot of people either dropped out or simply didn't go.
But I did it. 120.02 km at an average speed of 20.1 km/h on relatively flat ground except for the Rigaud hills. At lunch time in a hockey arena, there was a photographer from Vélo-Québec who mistook the woman sitting beside me, a man sitting the table from her and myself as a group. In fact he first took the woman and myself as a couple. Which we weren't, though the woman commented that she wouldn't have minded drafting behind me, echoing Margo's comment on the subject. ("A large nephew makes a good windbreak.") This broke the ice and the three of us started chatting. The man lacked adequate wet weather gear and was probably going to abandon the tour. He had run a 10k in the rain in Ottawa the day before, and had only got home at midnight, before getting up at 6 AM only to read a bunch of text messages from his actual biking group saying they weren't going!
Thankfully, the rain gradually stopped in the afternoon, as a psychological factor started to wear on me. As the Défi Métropolitain is very popular, the organisers have taken to sending the participants in varying directions and slightly different routes depending on the distance they anticipate doing, which can be broken down for simplicity's sake into short (75 km), regular (100 km) and long (120 to 145 km). I doing was in a "long" version on Leonardo. While he is fairly fast, he simply isn't as fast as carbon-framed lightweights most of the long distancers were using. Consequently, I passed slower people much less than I was passed by faster people. This has the effect of making me feel like I'm slow, even though I knew that I really had nothing to be ashamed of. I simply wasn't as fast.
One thing I can also take away from this is that my waterproof-breathable rain gear needs washing and re-proofing.
The parents also completed shorter versions of the tour, though I think I should get them proper wet weather biking gloves for Christmas.
The bath beckons.