‘Cross Canada: Days 40-42

Day 40

First off…”day 40″?! Already?! Sure the first weeks felt a little slow as we got into our routine, but it felt like just last week we were in the Prairies. Crazy. Anyway, today was a rest day in Montreal. We initially talked about doing some not-so-smart stuff like going for an all-out attempt on the Mont Royal KOM, but with Oliver’s back being sore, we actually rested. We started the day with brunch and a hunt for stickers; we only had to visit one store this time to be successful. The afternoon was spent reading, napping, and doing laundry. With Oliver’s friend home from work – and another nap taken – we hit the town for a wild Friday night…of tacos, cocktails, and ice cream. We polished off the night with some overly competitive Mario Kart and Super Smash.

Uhhh….alright….

Day 41

With excessive heat rolling in and being sheltered in a nice air-conditioned apartment, we were reluctant to get moving this morning. After a morning grocery run, we finally got our act together and made it out by 10:30am. A mere 5 minutes down the road, before we even managed to get ourselves lost, we found ourselves stopped at a stop light while another cyclist came rolling through. As the cyclist skirted his was across the intersection – through a red light – a Can-am came through their green light and smoked the cyclist, sending him clean off his bike and over the Can-am. Oh shit. The Can-am driver pulls off, we carefully make our way through the intersection to him, the pedastrians came over, the cops are called. The guy was fine enough to slowly make his way over to the side of the road. Luckily, after all the dust settled, it seemed like he was only scrapped, bruised, and concussed. With our statement taken and the situation under control, we finally started making our way out of the city.

Two hours of scorching city streets later, we made for some AC for a break from the inferno. The lowest temperature either of our Garmin’s read on the day was 33C, with the humidity making it even higher. Refreshed, and with the Tour stage watched, we jumped back into the heat.

No big blocks would be tackled today, given the heat. Despite the oppressive heat, the wind had turned strongly in our favour, and we found ourselves flying along some relatively quiet country roads. Somehow, the route we chose couldn’t have been any flatter. By kilometer, it was even flatter than Saskatchewan.

A short Tim’s break later – and many cyclists passed 😏 – we rolled into Trois Rivieres and headed straight for some sweet sweet AC at a motel. Some thunderstorms were clearly a brewing so no camping tonight.

A friend of mine from UofT’s cycling team happened to also be in town as he made his way on a cycling tour from St. John’s to Montreal. After a very hearty dinner, I set off on the heel-toe express into town to meet him for a beer. Crazy that we’ve both travelled all this way and just happened to be in Trois Rivieres at the same time.

Tomorrow we have a couple more hours in the flatlands before we hit Quebec City and the hilly St. Lawrence shores.

Day 42

We were hoping to get an early start today so we could spend some time in Quebec City, but more sleep was needed, so we didn’t actually get out that early. Luckily, our dallying worked in our favour. As we were making our way through town, we met up with a triathlete heading out for her long ride on the same road we were taking – not that there are many roads to choose from. Once we got through the endless stream of stop signs, the pace line started up, and the pace rocketed.

Our trio ripped along at 40kph+ for an hour and a half all the while Oliver and I cursed every hill as we sprinted up them with our extra 15kgs of gear – not to mention the extra 15kg of body and bike weight. Though, it sure was a blast to ride harder and not in an attempt to drop each other on hills.

After hammering out 70km at 37kph (including the city riding), we parted ways at a well-recommended boulangerie for…lunch? Second breakfast? Late-morning snack? Our new friend continued on her speedy way to rack up some more distance – some further research in the evening would have us find out she’s actually a pro Ironman triathlete! We opted for some Croque Monsier so we wouldn’t be Cracked Monsiers.

The salad didn’t survive long enough to make it into the picture

With legs more tired than we had planned, we set off for Quebec City. Luckily, we had taken our break just before the road started heading uphill – more pain than we would’ve wanted had we continued with our friend given the number of kilometers put into the legs over the past six weeks.

Another 60 odd kilometers saw us get into the outskirts of Quebec City. We wanted to see the city, but didn’t want to deal with the steep hill the old city rests on, so we came in from the north and skirted our way around the city on a bike path following the river. On the other side of the city, we took our first, and probably only, boat of the trip to cross the river.

After a break and another tasty sandwich, we moved our way 25km down the road to the town of St. Michel for the night. We had some more tasty sandwiches while we watched the sunset over the growing hills of the St. Lawrence shores.

This nifty sign showed how many cyclists have entered the city during the day and year; 941 and 97 000, respectively
So. Much. Bike infrastructure!

Tomorrow we have our last “flat” day of the trip as we move our way farther upstream. Soon enough we’ll turn inland and head for the Maritimes!

Cheers and Ride On!

-Evan

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