The circuit beckons

I’m a couple of days late documenting the Saturday ride that Andy and I took, but better late than never as usual.  It was our first ride together in a couple of weeks as our schedules continue to be a challenge this summer.  In fact Andy had not been out in more than a week, and I initially thought that was going to give me an advantage.  You know, he’ll be off a little bit, legs will be a little out of sorts, something like that.  Wrong….again.  Despite the gentle tailwind on the way down to the track I still found myself having to cling onto the rear wheel of the Cervélo for dear life at times, and when I was pulling I felt as if I was not going quick enough to satisfy the lad from Jersey.

We pedalled fairly quietly along the lakeshore and the first 10 km that brings us to the split where turning left takes you along the canal and going straight along Lasalle Boulevard (the direction I take for work).  We went left to take the canal route and it was from this moment that we belted along.  We had a tailwind and for most of the remaining 8 km to the Atwater Market we were pushing 38-40 km/h, each taking turns up at the front.  At Atwater the bike path becomes a little more twisty and terribly bumpy for one part.  We then are amongst the industrial landscape that travels under the various highways that all converge on the outskirts of downtown Montreal, passing right below the famous Farine Five Roses sign atop the bare concrete silos that rise up over 150 feet.

The smell as one goes through this section, under a lot of elevated highway and across the train tracks, has always been, well, odd.  Its not that it is revolting, but it is certainly unpleasant and the closest description I can offer is that it is very musty.  Musty with fairly significant overtones of sewage and a hint of dead animal thrown in for good measure.  The good news is it only take about 60 seconds to pass through this zone of malodour and then you’re taking in the stiff breeze that comes off the water as you ride along the water and look across to the Port of Montreal.  On the right you also take in the sights of one of Montreal’s most famous buildings, the Habitat ’67 condos that were built in time for the World’s Fair in 1967.

We only did one lap of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as I needed to get back to pack for our weekend in Ottawa and Andy was riding on to complete a job up on the Plateau.  I was riding on Andy’s wheel down 60% of the Casino Straight when I decided to pull a Cavendish and dart out from his slipstream and power down in the pedals, hammering like a madman to make it to the corner first.  It was not to be.  The bugger reacted quickly and although he did not overtake me without hurting, overtake me he did.  He beat me to the corner by about ten metres.  Bastard!

The ride back was almost as painful as that sprint, except instead of a short burst of pain, it was a long drawn out slug right into a headwind.  25 km goes by slowly when every turn of the crank feels as if you’re pedalling through molasses.  I was also riding solo as Andy had ducked off right after the circuit to get to his job in Outremont.  All that to say, the headwind was all mine and no shelter in the form of Andy’s slipstream was available.  No matter!  Despite this I was actually quite pleased with the overall timing and performance of the ride.  Hoo Haa!

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