Thursday, 22 June 2017

On my first Challenge of the year

I sat out the first of Vélo-Québec's 3 Challenges this year on account of a sore ankle. I am not sure what I did, but I think a pulled a tendon or something at the gym on the Wednesday before the Metropolitan Challenge and so I was in a certain amount of discomfort vis-à-vis my right ankle for a few days to the point of popping into a nearby clinic to get a medical opinion. Unfortunately, all the nurse could say was that there wasn't anything obviously wrong. So I opted out on the grounds of prudence.

Naturally, the pain went away on the day of the Challenge and I wasn't in a position to take advantage of the relief. This was the weekend before the Tour de l'Île.

Last Saturday was the Mauricie Challenge. I drove up in a rented car to Trois-Rivières to meet the Parents and their friend Annie S. (not Fil's old girlfriend Annie B.) at the Trois-Rivières youth hostel where Annie had booked us a room for four.  The next morning, after a breakfast of spinach and onion omelets with Mummy homemade toast and coffee, we set off to the start the other side of the Saint-Maurice River in Cap-de-la-Madelaine.

It had rained the night before, but day turned out fairly nice.  Quite cool and mostly dry with little wind. It was fairly cloudy most of the day with sunny breaks which increased with afternoon. After the obligatory "cheese de groupe au départ", we set off like herd of tortoises to borrow a phrase from my sister. This refers to any start that happens in bits and drabs and takes longer than expected. I am afraid I was the last to leave owing to a pre-departure pit stop.

 I fell in behind a group of cyclist going at a fair, but slightly too slow, clip for a dozen or so kilometers before they slackened their pace for a bit which led me to overtake them. This resulted in me pushing myself a bit too much for my first real jaunt on Leonardo this year which meant I had soreness in my legs by the time I overtook Mummy on her new road bike. I slacked off the pace and let her draft behind me, allowing her to exploit my size and relative youth. This ties into one Margo's sayings, namely: "Large nephews make good windbreaks."
 I used the opportunity to take a selfie over my shoulder. Mummy was impressed at my skill. Apparently, she has yet to master the ability to shift gears and pedal at the same time. I would have thought she was better at multi-tasking than that. I was feeling a shade out of shape so I kept to the basic 100 km course, the same distance as my parents and Annie did. I can say that I averaged a higher speed, but then I stopped a bit more than they did meaning that we kept leapfrogging each other, and arrived at lunch at about the same time.
 After lunch, I passed this business which evidently believed in the pre-literacy school of signs, and thus the backhoe sticking from the wall and the large hammer. ;-)
 My Father has a somewhat aesthetic taste in bike clothing and tends to make snarky comments about the logo laden spandex-type cyclists. He something of hypocrite in this as he is notorious for mixing and (mis)-matching various bits of active wear.  One of his more outlandish hiking outfits is a pair of genuine leather lederhosen (minus the suspenders), with a random t-shirt and South American fedora hat which he pushed the crown out.  So for the Défi, he chose to actually wear bike shorts, in which he tucked in (a definite faux-pas in and of itself) a red t-shirt, and wore a red and white helmet under which he wore a bright yellow skull cap which I had bought him so that he might have a second one to go with the red one (which I also had bought him).  Would it have been too difficult to coordinate by wearing the red cap?
The Parents arrive ten or so minutes after Annie and I. We sat at a table in the shade and drank chocolate milk and iced tea.  I offered to go to the bar tent for beer which Pappy accepted. Annie and Mummy demurred though the latter then helped herself to sips prompting the family joke "Oh no, you don't! You'll have 'arf a pint like the rest of us!"
While we were loafing around, Mummy made unfortunate comments about a rather plump, middle aged woman who crossed the finished line.  I pointed out that by the colour of her bracelet (light blue such as Pappy and Mummy are wearing in the above photo) I could tell she had done at least 80 some odd kilometers, and from the time she arrived, I suspected she had done at least 100. As well, she didn't look knackered (as in "Oh God, I don't wanted to go another step. Some please catch me.") Furthermore, the important thing was that she was out on her bike.

To be honest, I was feeling a trifle defensive as I feel I am too thick around the middle these days.

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