June 27 to July 4, 2010: The week in Ottawa
What a fun week in Ottawa! All you can eat sushi, burgers, pizza, ice cream, Canada Day BBQ, steak and “a few” lattes were on the menu. I also got to sleep in. 🙂
During the week I was able to lighten my load by switching my heavier warmer sleeping bag and air mattress with my lighter cooler smaller bag and foam pad, shaving 5 lbs off my load. All thanks to my logistical support, Lori and Andrew. Go team! I was even tempted to ditch my tent and go with my 100 % waterproof bivy sack to lighten my load even more.
Unfortunately, as the week went on I became increasingly tired, eventually getting sick. Turns out I was decompressing, coming off the adrenaline from my trip. Not fun. I couldn’t even ride out on my planned departure day. I needed to rest one more day and drink plenty of fluids.
July 5, 2010: Ottawa, ON to Cushing, QC, 109 km.
It was a hot day to start. My friend Keith joined me for a 20 km ride out of the city. Road conditions were good with no hills, perfect for warming up my legs from a week of rest. It was a tiring start thanks to my chest cold.
The heat will take a little getting used to. Even with the hot day I sped along Hwy 17 and ended up in Hawkesbury at noon. Then I took a two hour break from the heat and rehydrated before finishing the day in Cushing, QC. Bienvenue Quebec! Je m’appelle Martin. Il fait chaud!! J’ai chaud!! Ou est les Starbucks? Une grande frappacino s’il vous plait. Merci.
The first thing I noticed after going over the bridge that separated Ontario and Quebec was the smooth roadway which made the ride easier on me and my bike.
July 6, 2010: Cushing to Montreal, QC, 116 km
Biking along Hwy 344 provided good scenery of the “Riviere des Outaouais”. It was in the town of Oka that I took a much needed break from the heat and humidity.
The water in my water bottles had lost their cool within the first hour of riding. I kept refilling them whenever I could. My only insulated bottle provided me with the H2O relief.
I didn’t arrive in downtown Montreal until late afternoon. I had stopped off first at MEC to check out gear and supplies. I chatted with a local cyclist who happened to be shopping there. He told me about the two possible routes to Trois-Rivieres, my next days ride. Hwy 138 was on the NorthWest side of Fleuve Saint-Laurent versus Hwy 132 on the SouthEast side. In light of our chat and his warning not to take Hwy 132 due to heavy traffic, I made the decision that I would bike on whichever side the wind crossed the St Lawrence to. The cool breeze from the river would provide relief from the heat wave.
July 7, 2010: Montreal to Trios-Rivieres, QC, 137 km
My ride out of the city was a little frustrating. There were too many stop lights to gain riding momentum. I had taken Hwy 138 in order to get a nice breeze and a fantastic view of the river. Traffic was minimal.
I stayed at a hostel that night. Unfortunately, there was no air conditioning. The eight-bed dorm room on the second floor I was assigned to was hot and stuffy. There was only one small window and a fan to get air. So I took the chance to sleep on the hostel’s second floor balcony. Taking out my sleeping bag and foam pad I enjoyed a good night’s rest staying cool under the starry night sky.
July 8, 2010: Trios-Rivieres to Quebec City. 145 km
It was a smooth early morning ride out with little traffic. Still experiencing the heat wave, I opted to bike a tad faster to maximize my distance before the heat and humidity slowed me down.
And just after my first break I was surprised by who biked up behind me. It was the tandem bike team, Brent, Ian, Ben and Jeff. I thought these guys were long gone after hearing about them early on in Ontario. Turns out they also took a week off. They had started their trip on May 5th while I started mine on May 11th. Their bike weighs 80 pounds and combined with the four of them adds up to 800 pounds. With all the weight on two tires they break spokes almost every day and their wheel rims also crack and break. Fortunately, they are supported by their friend driving a pickup truck and trailer carrying their essential gear and supplies. Their trip ends in Halifax.
I rode with them for a half hour before their own scheduled break. Their truck was parked ahead off the side of the road in a field ready with food and water. There were two more cyclists present. Turns out Lisa and Ayla are doing their own cross country ride. It was nice to meet more people on tour and chat about our rides.
I moved on ahead seeing as I had taken my own break just before meeting them. Given that their speed on flat roads was fast I was sure they would catch up.
A couple more hours of biking in the heat required another break. I cooled down for forty minutes then set out. Before I left I first pumped up my tires just a little bit more. I biked for less than thirty seconds when ‘pop!’, my front tire blew. I did a quick change of the tube and picked up a psi gauge at canadian tire, which happened to be across the street. This was the pen-style one used for cars which I don’t think is as accurate but was the only thing available. I was surprised that I had overinflated the tube when I have had even more pressure in my tires over the last two months without them blowing.
I met with the tandem team on the road again and we continued our chat about our experiences to date.
We went our separate ways once more as I sped on ahead into the city. They have their support vehicle and trailer and can pack their bike up once they arrive at their day’s destination.
July 9, 2010: Quebec City
I took a day off to take in some scenery. I dropped off my bike at a local bike shop called Sports Bazzar to true my spokes as well as get more tubes and new brake pads (my back brakes were almost worn out). Despite the heat, exploring Old Quebec was great. I had crepes for lunch and a moccacinno at Les Petite Cochon. I even saw the tandem guys again. They were leaving that afternoon during the rain that was scheduled to arrive shortly.
A downpour of rain in the afternoon washed away the day’s humidity. It gave promise to cooler days ahead. While everyone had umbrellas and rain jackets, I was one of the few that walked around getting wet. Quite refreshing and enjoyable.
July 10: Quebec City to Saint Joseph de lapoint de Levy, 30 km
I didn’t mind the lunchtime start. It was still a hot and sticky day but not as bad as the previous days thanks to the rain the day before.
I had just crossed over the bridge to the South shore of the St. Lawrence when ‘pop!’ My front tire blew again. But this time my new tire tread was shredded at the side wall. Frustrating. I knew I could go back to the bike shop, Sports Bazzar, to get a new tire. They treated me well there. It was a little too far away, so with the help of my “eyes in the sky’ I found out that there was a bike shop less then 200 metres from lucky me. It was a quick walk over only to discover that they had just one tread left in my size and with a lower max psi of 75. By the time I made the change another cyclist came by and asked if everything was ok. His name was Gerry and he was very interested in my trip. He invited me to ride with him for a bit as we were both heading East. Gerry took me along a bike path right by the river. We talked as we rode and I found out he’s in his early 60’s and does double ironman competitions, wow!
Gerry has excellent sportsmanship. He does not care if he finishes first, second, third or last. As long as he competes with himself and has a smile on his face during the competition then it’s a good race. He’ll even stop other marathoners who look frustrated to tell them to keep smiling and enjoy the event. Gerry also bike toured in France and was welcomed in many homes for meals and lodgings. So it was no surprise that he invited me to stay the night at his place, 30 km east of Quebec. With the day not progressing well, I figured I’d call it a day. Gerry even bought me another tire at a bike shop close to his place just in case I blew mine again.
Upon arriving at his farmland home, I met Gerry’s wife, Caroline. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast who, like her husband, bikes, cross country skis and kayaks, to name a few. That night we had dinner at their son’s place. Kevin, his wife Isabelle, and their son, Julian, provided a delicious meal, great conversation (sofa king, lol) and a truly entertaining evening.
July 11: Saint Joseph de lapoint de Levy to Saint Jean Port Joli, 85 km
That morning Gerry showed me the kayak he picked up not too long ago. Not just any kayak, but a hand crafted wooden kayak that took roughly 360 hours to build. I was salivating at the fine craftsmanship and attention to detail. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. If you had this kayak you’d end up putting it in your bedroom. And when you’d wake up every day you’d look at the kayak and say “good morning, honey” before rolling over to your significant other to say “good morning, sweetie”, lol. The next night you’re sleeping on the couch.
Gerry biked 60 km with me towards Saint Jean Port Joli. It gave me the chance to hear about his double ironman stories. One story was really inspiring. There was a woman who kept trying to finish the cycling portion of the yearly double ironman before the timed cutoff to qualify for the next leg. It was her third try where she was in danger again of not being allowed to continue. An experienced competitor rode up beside her and asked, “Are you tired of losing? Then do exactly what I say”. Following the strict advice, she managed to finished within 2 minutes to spare on a 36 hour bike ride. She cried for two days. And I can’t forget to mention “Phenomenal Phil”. He competed well into his 80’s and is a legend in Quebec.
July 12: Saint Jean Port Joli to Riviere du Loup, 95 km.
Some people have a bowl of cereal in the morning, I have a bowl of cappuccino. It was after my breakfast that I biked to a cafe to enjoy the morning and load up on rocket fuel.
I took time to change the lower psi tire I bought the other day with the one Gerry gave me, a much better tire. Thanks, Gerry.
The day was sunny and cool from the breeze over the river. I flew along the roadway enjoying the scenic Quebec country side.
That night I received a text message from Peter and Anne, the young cyclists I met at Kirkland Lake, ON a few weeks ago. They were 10 km behind me.
Total distance traveled: 5,800 km
Fantastic news!! The total donations received is now $3,834.79. Wow! Thank you all. We have surpassed the set target in donations. These funds will help Griffin Centre provide programs and services to vulnerable youth and adults.
Filed under: Bicycle Canada 2010 |