Sunday, 22 June 2014

On my 500th post

As I was preparing this entry, I noticed that this was my 500th post, hence the title. Also, I can't think of a better title.
Note the bright polar fleece jacket Mummy is wearing
Yesterday was the Défi du Centre-du-Québec out of Victoriaville (or "Victo" to the locals)  I attended with my Parents and Annie, a friend of my mother's. After the traditional posing for photographs, we set off at our respective speeds.
 The sky was full of cumulus clouds that only occasionally left through sunlight to warm us. I didn't regret forgetting to bring my short-sleeved jersey. The route seemed particularly well thought out as the hilly bits were at the start. (After lunch, there were no hills to speak of.)  One glitch was the fact that the route took us down a stretch of dirt road whose surface was very loose. Many cyclists walked their narrow tired racing bikes down it.  I felt quite smug zipping past on my 37 mm wide tires.
 At around 11 AM, I stopped for a coffee in Tingwick. While I slurped, Annie showed up. This surprised me a mite as she was supposed to have a fancy, schmancy road bike complete with a carbon fork and all. I had expected she would have been ahead of me. After a chat and accidentally spilling some coffee on the head of one of the volunteers, (long and rather boring story) I rode off to Kingsey Falls and lunch.  Along the way, I was following a woman in a bright pink jersey with a feminist biking symbol on the back.  That is, a bike wheel, with an attached plus sign.
Kingsey Falls is the place of origin of Cascades paper company which has probably deserved rep as a socially conscious corporation, treating both the environment and its employees decently. It also has given the small down a very large and elaborate botanical garden named for Marie-Victorin the noted botanist and anti-semite.  Lunch was served on the grounds of the garden and featured Cascades compostable containers. I sat in a tent partially filled with rows of peonies on tables and partially filled with cyclist hunched over their lunches. The couple sitting beside me were chatting with one of the volunteers. The distaff half of the couple was visibly chilly in her "antelope" biking outfit, so I lent her my fleece jacket which she draped around herself.

(By "antelope", I refer to a philosophy of cyclist which holds that the best way to avoid "trouble" is to go as quickly as possible in order to get to the end. Therefore, one should carry only the absolute bare minimum in order to lighten the load. My strategy and one I firmly advocate for my parents (fit as they are) and myself is the "buffalo" philosophy that one should carry enough to endure "trouble". Both philosophies are valid depending on the circumstance.)

My plan had been to do two optional bits after lunch, however due to a late-ish start and my relatively slow pace, I missed the cutoff time to the second one by about 40 minutes to what I must confess was a certain relief on my part. It hadn't been a particularly easy day.

The route brought me back into Victoriaville on the same rail-trail that I had first entered Victoriaville 7 years ago on my way to Newfoundland. I arrived before the others, giving me the time to scope out the freebies on offer. These included a knock-off version of a Buff and a bag from Cascades containing two rolls of paper towels and a box of Kleenex.
 I was in position to photograph Mummy as she arrived.
After putting all four bikes on the trailer-hitch bike rack, some of us posed feeling smug for photographs.
The people in the car next to use had an ingenious contraption to safely house both their bikes in their Mercedes hatchback. It consisted on a piece of wood to which some fork mounts had been bolted to. This keeps the bikes upright and secure. It also means the seats and front wheels have to be removed before transport, but they seemed to do it with less trouble that we had.

1 comment:

Susan Gwyn said...

I enjoyed the smell of the hay-making in the fields, the lovely old houses as we left Victo, the church in Tingwick, being in Tingwick, Danville and Kingsey Falls for the first time, the peony show in the tent where we had lunch, the fountains in the VéloGare de Victo, getting cheese in Ste Élisabeth de Warwick on the way home and the couple from Montreal who were buying cheese after coming to Kingsey Falls for the peonies.