Today was one of my best riding days yet. After struggling to make my destinations the past few days, I finally made it somewhere ahead of schedule. The little tune-up I did to my bike made a big difference, so now I don’t feel like I’m fighting my bike to make progress.
I got up at dawn, packed my stuff on the bike, and headed for Quebec City. I wasn’t sure if I’d make it as I didn’t make to Trois-Rivieres as I’d hoped to yesterday, so that added another 40 km to my route today, but I was going to try anyways since I had friends waiting for me. I told them to expect me at sundown.
The Chemin du Roy is full of nice, human touches. There are frequent signs telling you when to expect access to drinking water and toilets. They’ll also point out fresh produce and ice cream stands. Every small town has a park or two with public bathrooms and picnic tables, so this was the first day that I didn’t worry about where to find water. I didn’t have to stop at a coffee shop just to deal with my bodily functions, and it felt freeing. I don’t know why more places don’t do this, as I was able to stop and shop at a greater variety of places since I didn’t have to be so picky about whether they would have a bathroom and place to fill my water bottles. All those rest stops and picnic spots were packed full of people, so they’re obviously successful and popular.
In Trois-Rivieres I biked by the Motel le Marquis, where my wife and I stayed in 2010 after finding our planned campground closed for renovations. That’s where I memorized how to say “do you have a corkscrew?” but not “yes I would like wine glasses” and was unprepared for the flurry of followup questions. The dangers of only speaking a bit of the local language is you can quickly get way over your head.
I saw a lot of cyclists today. Turned out it was the day of the Grand Fondo Quebecor, a 120-km ride from Trois-Rivieres to Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures that attracts cyclists with a wide-range of abilities. I never saw the main peloton, but lots of solo or paired cyclists here and there. I also think there were a lot of people taking advantage of the sunny weather to go for a leisure ride.
As I remembered, the ride was flat until I got to Quebec City. Last time I wasn’t in as good condition, and was suffering from a poorly-fitting saddle and shoes, so the hills were an unwelcome occurance. This time I was prepared. The hill at Cap-Rouge is still formidable, though. Last time we had to walk the tandem up, so I’m a little proud to have cycled all the way to the top.
After Cap Rouge I followed the wonderful paved trail along la Promenade Samuel-De Champlain until my navigation devices told me I was only a few hundred metres from my friends’ house. Unfortunately those metres were vertical, with a cliff separating us, and Google Maps helpfully directing me to take my bike up the steep Cap-Blanc stairs. I found a detour through Old Quebec along Cote de la Montagne, the steepest street I’ve encountered yet. I “opted” to walk up that one. At the top I was close enough to the Chateau Frontenac that I popped over for a picture, then biked the rest of the way to my destination for the night. The tailwinds had been good to me, so I arrived at dinnertime instead of dusk, and my friends had pulled pork and Pernod waiting for me. I love visiting Quebec City, and try to come here every few years, so tomorrow is a rest day that I’m looking forward to.
Today’s Distance: 181 km
Cumulative Distance: 6165 km