Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Day 55 - Trois-Rivieres to Quebec

Yes - I know two posts are missing.   Just like last year  - the two posts are on the tablet, but I can't seem to access them.  Status says saving - well how long does it take to save?????   I will get access to them eventually.  So in the meantime - here is yesterday.
143K to ride today.  Shouldn't be that big of a deal, but yet it was. 
Kirk was on cook duty so I waited for the crew to finish and then a bunch of us took off together.  Was nice to follow someone else for a change.  We were not far from camp and just cruising along when I hear this horn BLARING away. I glance up and see a bus (they were one honking - I think) coming around the CORNER and a car is passing the bus.  There is dust flying because the car was going too fast and off the shoulder heading straight for us.  And there is a solid yellow line down the middle of the road.  OK - so my life flashed before me a bit. I did pull out into the grass right beside us, but there are some absolute looney tunes on the road.  Why these people get licenses or can keep them is beyond me.  We really need to get to the point where we start pulling licenses from idiots.  Yesterday I read an article about a cyclist killed in the US by a 16 year old pulling a horse trailer.  YES - I know accidents happen, but can people please slow down.  Why is everyone in such a hurry?????? 
Anyway - we were all wide awake after that.
We crossed a bridge shortly after that and some of the others stopped to take pictures (don't worry - we were on an enclosed bike lane on the bridge with a little spot for people to stop). Kirk and I continued on. I don't think the head winds were as bad as they were on this stretch of road as I remember them last year.  I remember it was just crazy.  Well as far as my memory goes. But at one point I was just uncomfortable.  My legs hurt, my back hurt and I just felt like I was fighting the wind.  How am I going to survive the entire day????   And the more I rode - the more I remembered the route from last year.  Oh yes - there are some fun moments coming up and I remember that relentless wind.
After we (I) slogged through a horrible 20K, and we stopped for lunch at around the half way mark, things seemed to get a bit easier. Yeah!!!!!    I got comfortable, I wrapped my head around what was coming up and just enjoyed the day.  A few people passed us, but I was OK with whatever we were doing. Average speed was 21.3 which isn't bad considering the winds and how I felt. It is so amazing how your mind can play tricks on you.  You get a pain - part of you wants to shut down.  The wind is fierce - it would so easy to hitch a ride.  But at the end of the day - it is such an amazing feeling to know that you have conquered those feelings and have accomplished what you set out to do.
At one point - you just realize you have no choice but to continue one and that is what we did.  Then close to Quebec City, I knew that we had a HUGE hill to climb. I was not looking forward to it.  Oh my - I must be getting lazy!   Anyway - we stopped for chocolate milk refill at the gas station just at the bottom. Then I had to manually switch my gear to the lowest ring so I would be able to climb the hill.    Yes - the bike was tuned up before I left, but somehow the shifter got bumped or something and the darn thing just won't shift down into that bottom ring.  Oh well - I've always loved manual vehicles, but this is a bit crazy.  I have learned that Stuart is the resident mechanic so he is going to have a look at it for me.  Although all the big hills left are on the Cabot Trail (HA HA HA  - I am so funny). Then a few twists and turns and we were at the University Laval.  Oh yes - so much easier to ride when you know exactly where you are going.   Didn't get lost once or even make a wrong turn.  I guess I was paying more attention last year than I thought I was.  Probably because I didn't trust Neil???   I doubt that - he was a pretty good navigator. Actually the maps or cue sheets we are provided with are pretty thorough.  I do have to stop every once in a while to question a certain turn but overall the maps are awesome.   My biggest problem is seeing the darn map.  I have those crazy prescription sunglasses and cannot read the map with them on.  But it is nice to have them on to read street signs. Oh - I think I mentioned that before.  Anyway - it is a hassle and not sure how one can fix that problem. 
Thankfully I have a room to myself at the university. Not that I don't want to share, but the rooms are not huge and with two people, two bikes and all the kit - well it does take up space.  My knee was really bothering me - probably from all the pushing and fighting the wind (although at dinner - the others didn't think the wind was too bad - but that is Leslie who is  much younger than I and plays hockey - yep - she wouldn't feel the wind the same way wimpy old me would!!!!)   Got my laundry done, got the tent dried out and then it was pizza time.   Yum - pizza has never tasted better.
TWO birthdays in a row - it was John's birthday today and we had a cupcake cake!!!!   I love cake, although there was a LOT of  icing on it - even for me!!!!
While everyone was still yakking - I headed down to the grocery store. I had this craving for watermelon. I ended up getting some bottled water which I drank all of it or almost and some fresh fruit.  Not that we don't have fresh fruit on the trip - we have loads - apples, bananas and oranges.  Lots!!!!!   I know - I am very bad in that I like bottled water.  I better stop  - it is NOT good for me or the environment, but better than pop.
The weather - what can I say.  It was hot again yesterday although not quite as hot as the previous days.  And there is a rain warning in effect for today.  We were certain that we were going to get rained on yesterday, but we were lucky. At one point close to the end we could see that it had rained as the road was still wet, but no rain.   Today it is supposed to start in the afternoon and rain overnight and tomorrow.   I hope that part is wrong. Let it pour like crazy today and be cloudy and dry in the morning.
As you have all heard, Robin Williams died earlier this week.  I am shocked. But then I am not - I knew he suffered from depression and substance abuse. The sad part is that he was such a funny man - I remember him from Mork and Mindy days.  What is sad that even though he was so successful - the pressure he must have endured to always be funny, to be in the limelight must have been horrible. To feel alone is terrible. In light of Clara Hughes recent ride across Canada to create awareness of mental health issues  - what can I say.  I think that we all need to be way more cognizant of our peers/colleagues/friends and family.   We are all so busy, we are all so self focused - what does it take to say HI to a stranger. Give a smile to a stranger. Ask someone if they need help, accept help if someone offers. Pay it forward more often (I know the times when I do - I feel like a million bucks and hopefully the recipient does too).  Be more thankful for what you have instead of complaining about what you do not have. Even if you did ONE thing a day.   It doesn't take much effort - just be conscious to do it. Don't do it for recognition - do it because it makes you feel good and hopefully you make one person each day feel a bit better.   I am very sad about Robin and hopefully we will all reach out to those that are not as lucky as us.   My biggest fear is that the mental health issue is going to get even bigger than it is today.  Our neighbourhoods are not what they used to be, our community groups are not what they used to be. Our lives are busier (and lonelier) than ever.  My solution - learn to quilt and join a weekly quilting group - like Monday Mania!!!!!!     It is such great therapy - matter of fact, the Thursday group is called Thursday Therapy.  Those days and all the ladies are so precious to me - I LOVE YOU ALL  and thanks for making my life brighter on those days.  I must say we sure have some good laughs and that is what it is all about.
Sorry for the aside but this death has hit me a bit hard. Let it be a wake-up call to us all.
OK - so I am a technological DOLT.   I have no idea why I have had so much trouble with my Garmin this time.  Last year - I could NOT get the Bluetooth connection to work.  Then Kirk (an IT specialist) had a look and POOF - it starts syncing.  Of course!!!!!   Then in Montreal after lunch - the darn thing shut off.  Really??????   It took a bit of time to get it restarted and it was fine - just meant the day was in two parts.   Next day - same thing.  Then while I was riding, I remembered a feature in the device for AUTO SHUT OFF - yep - somehow that got turned on and so when I stopped for a period of time (like having lunch) - the stupid thing shut off. I can only hope that I have everything set properly now??????   I had trouble uploading the data again last night - but it is working.   AH - I need some technology lessons it would appear.   Oh well - I don't even care about collecting the data - I really just want to see distance, %grade of the hill (that one yesterday was 16% at one point - which is STEEP), speed is nice to keep on pace and time of day since I don't wear a watch.   Let's hope I can get it to work for the rest of the trip!!!!!!    And that I can figure out how to get my other two posts up.   It will happen - just not sure when.
On that note - I am going to try and get these posts published today - the last three days worth. But first - I am off to the mall - got to get my rest day tea and some lunch and then hunker down in the residence for the afternoon when it rains. Everyone else went to Old Quebec City.  I am such a poor tourist  (plus I hate the tourist shuffle and let's not forget the major muscle issue I got wandering the streets of London)  - I have been to Old Quebec City on numerous occasions many years ago. I doubt it has changed much and I like my personal down time.
Have a great day!!!!!!!!!
Sanctuaire NotreDame du Cap - a very large cathedral near Cap de la Madeleine.  Like last year - I stopped for a photo, but did not go in. 

John with his birthday cake - well make that birthday cupcakes. Happy Birthday John

This is the explosion in my room!!!!!!

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