I met with Hugo Saturday morning and a friend of his Jean-Louis who was up for the first ride of his season , we headed up to St Agathe-des-Monts in the Laurentians where we were to meet his friends at a chalet.
The day was perfect..warm , blue sky and heading into up and down road land.
Now I am bad with names so I apologize for not remembering the 3 other riders names…but I did remember one..Paul.
Paul picked up the first and only flat ten meters out of the driveway…some people believe in omens …
Flat fixed and we started over…for another 100 meters when Jean-Louis seemed to have an issue..well not him but a certain newly purchased pedal , something to do with clocks..
well the part of the plastic body had snapped clean off making it impossible for him to click in …now I’m starting to believe in omens.
Well that was the end of his and Hugo’s day as they had traveled together so I stayed and continued with my new riding group.I can’t honestly remember the last time I rode with a new group but hey I was in a great place and wanted to ride as the others so we continued.
Our route took us to St Adolph de Howard then Morin heights through to St Sauveur then back north to return home.
The general rule of group rides , well for me is that your a team and working together is polite and essential. We wound through the roads some surfaces were better than others flicking hand signals and taking turns to lead. Now I have to be honest that it wasn’t my usual pace and I had never stopped so much as the others checked google maps and garmins for position. But it just comes back to the riding and we were all enjoying it!
Now at some point I had noticed Paul dropping off the back a bit …I later discovered it to was his first ride of the season. There are alot of short sharp climbs on this route and it was evident he was hurting.
I always feel for people in this situation as I’ve been in it quite often and for me anyway having a buddy there to shout, scream and push you through it is all part of the partnership of riding in a group.
I will never forget my good friend Mike saving my soul on a Sunday morning ride years back…we had already covered a good distance in miles and we were on Portsdown hill in Portsmouth heading home when I decided to sprint up the hill..the last words I heard from Mike was “no your blow!”
I think he found me curled up in a ditch on top of the hill , he screamed at me to get back on my bike and nursed me to a store where he walked in and came out with the best shit I ever had…a cold coke and a mars bar.
Well that was enough to get me home and a big lesson learned…Mike always rode with his head..thats why he was way better than me.
I stayed with Paul on the climbs and watched him fight for every stroke in getting himself up the climbs…I did shout at him a few times but in encouragement , honestly!
After one section he then told me the most he had ever ridden was 40km around Gatineau Park which is fairly flat I believe , I was amazed as were were heading for a 70km ride more or less and very undulating .
He battled and fought his way up each climb and never gave in….it really was a privilege to witness. Now it turns out Paul is a Police officer in Ottawa and newly joined the bike squad.
If you ever find yourself on the wrong side of the law there and he is after you…you may climb faster, stronger and have better handling skills , but let me tell you he won’t ever give in. He broke a huge barrier Saturday which will carry him further on other rides.
The picture is at the top of the climb into St Anne des Lacs..if you want a good climb there’s one.
Cheers, have a great season all.