Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Last Ride of the Tour

Last ride of the tour today. Chuck had arranged three rides; 21, 54 and 70 miles. The weather reports were indication chance of rain today so many folks made ride decisions based on getting back before the rain hit. Many of the folks took the 21 mile ride, a larger group took the 54 mile ride and I don't think that anyone chose the 70 mile ride.

As the 54 mile ride left, I was still undecided and was going to go with the shorter 21 mile route. Then Chuck showed up prepared to do the 54 mile and I decide to keep him company. The temperature was about 70 the start and the humidity was high. So high that whenever you put out any effort, the sweat just rolled down your face.

We had another bridge crossing today. Not as eventful as yesterday, but the roadway was very high above the river and it was very unnerving as we crossed. You just had to focus ahead of you and try not to let your eyes wonder down to the river below.

We had a bit of street traffic and after a bit of construction we got on to some world class bike trails that followed a broad shallow river.

We returned to the road and with the skies looking a bit threatening we shaved some miles off the ride and started back a bit sooner, stopping for some soda at gas station in Saint Henri. We quickly found another bike trail the brought use back the ferry. We stopped for some coffee and light snacks before boarding the ferry for a quick ride back to Quebec City. Of the boat and up the hill we were back to the hotel in no time.

It only hit me as we got off the bikes, that there was no ride to make plans for tomorrow and the tour was over. Tomorrow a we pack up the bikes in to the support van then board the bus will to transport us south to come to Montreal. On more night the hotel then it's off to the airport for an early flight. These trips really fly by so fast and are so much fun.


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Ride To See The Falls

Chuck was busy last night creating additional routes for riders to choose from today. Four routes were on tap for today, all  heading past the Montmorency Falls which is just 15 minutes by car and a bit longer by bike to reach from town. The claim to fame is that the height of the falls is greater than Niagara Falls. Though not as spectacular as Niagara Falls, it is worth the stop. We stopped at the visitors center, but there is a lot more to see.

After the falls, we had to travel across the Île d'Orléans Bridge that spans the Saint Lawrence River between the Beauport borough of Quebec City and Île d'Orléans (Orléans Island)There was was construction on the bridge and in the confusion, Carol (one of the riders) took a spill and gashed her arm. she returned to the falls visitor's center where Marnix took her to a hospital for treatment.

The rest of the group completed crossing to Orléans Island where we headed to the southern tip of the island where we stopped for coffee and snacks.

The day was warm and clear and after coffee we took in a beautiful view of Quebec city from the Southern tip. As we rounded the Southern tip and worked our way up the Eastern side there were several climbs that we encountered. Not too bad, but sometimes enough to make you catch your breath. The roads were mostly tree covered with lots of shade.

At the 27 mile mark, we took a hard left hand turn to cross the island to the west coast. Upon reaching the western edge we stopped at restaurant for lunch.

The trip home was into the wind and at the beginning the roads were brand new and smooth. So new in fact we caught up with the road crew that was laying down new asphalt. Then it was time to cross the bridge again. This time it was not as bad. The construction crew was mostly done for the day and we had a better expectation of the road conditions.

After exiting the bridge we returned to the bike path where we push through the wind to Quebec City and after a couple of missed turns, made it back to the hotel.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Duchesnay to Quebec City

Today was a short pleasant ride between the Duschesnay Resort to Quebec City. The ride was fairly flat along a rails to trails route almost directly to Quebec City. The Garmin was very useful finding it's way into Quebec City when the route became very winding into the city.

It was a short riding day so that we could take in the sites for Quebec City.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Today is Sunday and we woke up to a beautiful brisk day in the upper 50s and lower 60s. On the riding agenda today is a choice of two rides; a short loop around the lake the resort is located on and a second longer loop around the first lake plus a couple more lakes.

This being the 8th day in a row that I've ridden and following the 77 mile ride yesterday, I opted for the shorter single loop ride. It was short, but had some nice climbs in it.

We got back in time for a shower and then set up a picnic lunch near by and enjoyed the cool air and warm sunshine. Now I'm off to tending to some tasks in preparation for rides in the upcoming week. We have 3 more days of riding before packing up our bags and taking the train to Montreal Thursday and departing Friday.


Saturday, August 3, 2019

Shawinigan to Duchesnay

Today was an early start for the group, 7:30 vs the 9AM that we have recently. The ride was going to be a bit long, 77 miles and we also had an eye on the weather. Rain was predicted about 11 AM. As we started is was overcast and a bit on the cool side (in the low 60s) as we headed northeast out of Shawinigan. We held a pretty nice cross country biking pace as we zoomed down the mostly flat and relatively quite straight roads occasionally reaching an intersection where we would need to make a right or left turn while heading generally Southeast before hitting the river where we turned to the northeast generally following the river. The width of the river is huge, feeling more like a long lake than a river. We started looking for a coffee stop just could find one that was open and by 11am we arrived at the lunch stop about 55 miles into the ride.

By this point, we were starting to look at the skies. The clouds were becoming more threatening and we had noticed several convertible cars stopping to put up their tops. With that it was time to take off and try to beat the rain, we got about 7 miles down the road before the rain started. Earlier in the ride the temperature had reached the low 80s but the temperature dipped down the low 60s as the rain began. Not really cold rain, but the roads became a bit slippery and the bikes in front of you would shoot sprays of water in your face if you got too close. Passing cars would spray you as well. but it was only about 20 more miles into town so off you go.

We crossed 2 more bridges and a busy steep hill before reaching the destination called "Station touristique Duchesnay". A very nice resort with a pool, spa, beach, hiking and bike trails. We have a set of loop rides scheduled for tomorrow. I hope that the day brings some blue skies.


Friday, August 2, 2019

Three River Loop

We're the 6th day into the trip and many of the riders took the day off to do non-biking activities that are available in the area, but Chuck also laid out a loop ride from Shavinigan to Trois-Rivières (Three Rivers).  He took advantage of the bike trails that runs between the cities. Trails that were a treat to ride. The surfaces were both hard packed and smooth asphalt that was shaded with large trees. Sixteen miles in we stopped for coffee before heading to the turn around point at the river. The bike trail continued until we stopped at a nice cafe call called Maryane. We were soon off again. The bike trails had ended at this point but it was nice day with some miles to cover and tailwinds pushing us back home.


Thursday, August 1, 2019

Day 5; Shawinigan Lakes to West

After yesterday's long hilly ride today's ride was a welcome relief. A 44 mile loop ride with stops at a covered bridge and a maple syrup farm.

My grandfather, who lived in New Hampshire had created a collection of photos of covered bridges in New England so whenever I see a covered bridge, I think of my grandparents and the long summers we used to spend visiting them in New England.

When the ride was over, it was time to stop and have an ice cream at a near by shop.

All in all, a very nice cycling day.


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Day 4, Shawinigan, Out and Back

Today is the longest and most climbing day of the trip so far. The previous 3 days have been warm up rides. We left Shawinigan and headed North and West into the La Mauricie National Park about 20 miles from the start. Climbing really starts once you entered the park. The roads are nicely paved with camping and other activities along the way. In the winter, the park seems to be very popular with cross country skiers as well.

The ride was originally planned as a loop ride but the road was blocked so it was re-planned as an out an back route. The scenery was beautiful and the road traffic was very light. We had lunch with an overview of a lake while munching on sandwiches that we had made at the hotel before leaving that morning.

For the last 20 miles we were looking for an ice cream stop, but didn't find one until we were a block away from the hotel.

I slept very well that evening.


Monday, July 29, 2019

Day 2 Montreal to Berthierville

Day 2 Montreal to Berthierville

The Lafayette rides are a group effort. Today may part was to drive the one of the cars to the lunch stop and pick up lunch supplies on the way. The task required required 1 van, one SUV and three people. Myself, Adrienne Harber and Marnix Landman.

Adrienne is the president of the Lafayette Cavaliers this year and is responsible for putting this whole enterprise together this year. It's a great responsibility bringing 35 riders from all the US and Europe to a new destination. She has been able to help in the endeavor, but I'm sure that there were many sleepless nights to get all the arrangements in place. Marnix is from the Netherlands. I got a chance to know him better last year during the Netherlands trip. His father Jan was the Lafayette President and put on a wonderful trip. To read about last year click here.

Oh back to the 2 vehicles and 3 people. We needed to head out the market and buy all the food for the lunch and get to the lunch stop, 30 mile in to the ride and set up before the riders arrived. Being this was he first day that needed a lunch stop, we need to get a bunch of supplies, food for 2 days, plates, knives, hand soap, bread, peanut butter, jelly, cold cuts, yogurt, drinks, ice and many other things as well. All the time the clock is ticking. The lunch was at the 30 mile mark and we had to shop drive to the spot on the map and find a place for picnic. We were under the gun, 'cause there were 35 hungry bikers on the way.

With not a moment to spare we found the a perfect riverside location with picnic tables and benches and just started to unload the supplies when the saw the first rides flash by. After waving them down the rest of the riders started to arrive in waves. Everyone lent a hand in setting up the lunch and then started to dive in.

With Adrienne's  and my job was done, someone else was going to drive the rest of the way to the end. Quickly changing into riding clothes we departed with the last set of riders for the rest of the ride. The map below shows from lunch to the final destination for the day, Berthierville.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Day 1, Montreal Loop

Day 1

Nice warm-up ride with the group to make sure the equipment is working the and riders get an chance to socialize a bit before the longer rides begin.

We got back in time to walk a mile or so to the Atwater Market for a bit to eat an and to do some sightseeing.

Diner was buffet at an Indian restaurant. The part of town we were staying was just loaded with restaurants and bars, the place was hopping.