Admittedly a little later in the season to get the first metric century under our belts than we would have liked, but sometimes you just have to go with what you’re given. We’ve all been so busy and the weather has not been totally accommodating. That being said, we finally did it and we’re all quite sure that they’ll be plenty more before the snow forces us back indoors again.
Andy had the route all planned out in his head: the Three Islands. Sounds impressive doesn’t it? Well, it should, and in fact, it was.
Island No. 1: this is actually just the western tip of Montreal island. I say ‘just’ but of course we cover a fair chunk of it, hence our inclusion of Montreal Island as one of the three. Even without this water tight argument, it should still be included by virtue of the fact that it is an island, and we rode on it. So there!
Island No. 2: Île Bizard has been ridden by us many times, usually as a standalone ride and not as part of this historic trilogy. The full loop of the island is 17.1 km and we suffered a bit today. The wind was a cruel mistress indeed.
Island No. 3: Île Perrot is off the western tip of Montreal and separates us from mainland Canada. As with Île Bizard there is a road that completes the circumference of the island, thus making it a favourite for cyclists. Larger, at 25.3 km round trip, it presents with some stunning views across the water and has it’s fair share of stately looking homes on the water.
It wasn’t all plain sailing though. We had a bit of a technical snafu with Paul’s cleats at one point. Remember those? Yeah, that’s right. These are the ones that he wrote about a couple of weeks ago (click here) that he ‘found’ in his jacket pocket. I mean, how can you go out and buy something as exciting as new cleats, then come home, hang your coat up, and completely forget that you bought them? I’m not saying it’s age, but may be it’s age.
It may also be due to his advancing years that after a couple of hours on the bike he can no longer stand up straight. This is surely the only explanation for the stance he is holding in the photo here, unless of course he is actually doing some squats, because hey, the bike riding alone is not hard core enough! Whatever it is, I am bemused by the situation.
Whenever you get past the 100 km mark you’re more than likely going to start feeling a little sore or achy somewhere. For me, it is usually the neck. Like an orange on a toothpick my neck has to hold up my giant cranium which, when it is perfectly vertical in normal everyday activities, is no problem. Spend a few hours on a bike with your head pulled up all the time, and eventually your neck muscles begin to rebel. It’s never anything serious, but its enough to remind me that we’ve been in the saddle for a while.
I think in the final 10 km of our 120 km adventure I was over taken by the spirit of Millar, (David not Robert), and I suddenly found myself on a solo breakaway. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. I took over the lead of our little ‘train’ and pushed the pedals hard. I felt surprisingly good. We had a nice tailwind and I thought to myself “Alright, let’s gun it a bit”. About 500 m down the road I turn around to check that the lads were with me and I notice that they had both dropped off. I’m pretty sure I lost them in the stop signs and traffic going through the little village, and by the time I realized they weren’t with me I was quite some distance up the road.
I could have slowed and waited of course. But I felt good, so I kept going. Here’s where the David Millar experience came into play. Remember a stage in the Tour de France a couple of years back when David Millar was out at the front and looked as if he might just take the stage? He’d been out front for something insane like 110 km and had only a few to go, but the peloton were closing in at an alarming rate. He did not give up, though, and kept grinding the pedals forward even though it became clear that he was not quite going to make it. In the end he was swallowed up by the train with less than a kilometre to go. What a heartbreak that must have been.
I did not have to contend with such pressure, but it did feel kind of exciting to imagine that the peloton was chasing me down. It kept me peddling through some pretty intense aching as I got ever closer to home.
Lots more centuries to come from Charlie Bucket Cycles this season. We’re going to try and continue to explore some roads that we’ve not written about endlessly already. Don’t forget, if ever any of you find your way to Montreal, you’d better come ride with us. We will find out if you’ve been here and didn’t call us. Probably because you’ll blog about it.