Sunday, 2 June 2013

On a particularly wet Tour de l'Île

This year the Tour de l'Île offered as an attractive option a 100 km version that went out to St-Anne-de-Bellevue, e.g. the extreme Western end of the Island of Montreal. This was the one I opted for. I tried volunteer for it as a mechanic, but Vélo-Québec was only accepting volunteers with a higher level of qualification than I possess for the 100k option. The parents had been going to go too, but didn't because of the timing of a friend's visit (e.g. Christina, the origin of Maria middle name, and family).  Possibly just as well, as the start of the Tour, near the Olympic Stadium was 12.5 km from my home, which would have been their base.

I left my home a little late and it began to rain shortly before the train viaduct into Central Station. I say shortly before, as I stopped under the viaduct to don rain gear. It was a very intense rain. I got to the start shortly before 8, and had the shortest wait I have ever had for a Tour de l'Île, e.g. no time. I went through instantly with a volunteer saying "Remain calm." I started acting crazy.

The first three quarters of the tour were on streets and bike paths that hadn't been cleared of other traffic. Unfortunately, far too many of the 100k people hadn't got the message about biking in single file. Vélo-Québec needs to do more nagging.

There was section on a nominally gravel dust bit of bike path that was in fact clay that was quite soft and slippery. Thankfully, I was on Leonardo with his fat tires which reduced the trouble. 
Around the 34 km mark, the rain tapered off. Thankfully, it was a warm, almost tropical rain, quite unlike last Sunday's rain. For one thing, there was little wind. The sun came out and I annointed myself with an insufficiency of sunscreen.

Around noon, I stopped at a Dairy Queen for a banana cream pie Blizzard. This is essentially, sliced bananas and a few cookie crumbs mixed with soft ice cream. I like to think of it as a good biking indulgence. This proved a very wise decision as the 100k Tour de l'Île joined the 50k
Tour de l'Île about a 1 km later. Had the Dairy Queen been on a 50k section of the Tour, it would have been overrun with other cyclists. As it was, there was only a couple of others, including a man whose hair had formed into rows due to his helmet!

It was quite a relief to get onto closed off roads for the remaining 25 kms of the Tour. With a tailwind, these were over fairly quicklys as it was about 1:30 when I finished.

After the lunch, I was watching a circus perfomance by two men carrying a bouncy pole between them and a woman balancing on and jumping from it. After one very high jump, she landed badly, not on the foam put out, but on the hard concrete of the Olympic Stadium's raised piazza. I was groaning inside out of sympathy. The two man ran to her, asked her a couple of questions before one of them picked her up and carried her behind the scenes. She somehow kept a stage smile on her as she was carried away.

Between the Tour, and going and returning to the Olympic Stadium, I covered 125.06 km, in 5.46.28 hours, for an average speed of 21.6 km/h with a maximum speed of 53.4 km/h.

No comments: