Yesterday I went on my first long ride of the season. Here is the map, in two parts.
If you're curious about the route, you might want to click on the "view larger map" link for each, and zoom and scroll to your heart's content. Switching to the "walking" option will help too.
View Larger Map
View Larger Map
The ride itself was about 145km. The plan for the ride said 147km, but due to a road closure and a detour, we shaved off about 2km. My cyclometer reads 143.13km but its readings are always under - I need to adjust for my tires' actual size. My ridemate got about 145km so I'm going with that.
Then it's about 8.5km from my house to the ride's starting point in St. Lambert, and another 8.5km back home, so that puts me just a bit over 160km. My first long ride of the season wasn't just a metric century, it was an imperial centure. YAY!
This ride was with the Club vélo randonneurs de Montréal. I used to ride with them, but 2 years ago I switched to a different club that organises more rides, more frequently. However CVRM has some nice riders, and I like longer rides, so it's nice to ride with them from time to time. Oh, about the longer rides? I like their 200km and 150km rides. I did their 300km ride once and found it rewarding but hard. I haven't (yet?) done their 400km ride and am not sure if or when I might want to try the 600km ride. By the way, the 600km ride is not a week-long affair; its time limit is 40 hours maximum from start to finish.
When I arrived at the starting point, I saw several riders I knew: Jean, Hossein, and Eric. I hadn't seen Eric since the summer of 2007 so it was great to see him. He's a really nice guy, and almost as tall as me. Back in 2007 we had very similar riding paces, so we rode together. I was worried because he had just come back from a week-long training camp in Cuba, whereas I had not done much training this winter and really don't feel as strong as I'd like to or as I was back in 2007. My basic endurance is still pretty good, but I can't crank out power for long periods just now. It's coming back. Anyway, I was delighted to ride and draft with Eric all day. I have to admit that he pulled me more than I did, but all the same, I did help him too. I was pretty pooped on the last stretch home, but made it. The weather got threatening in mid-afternoon with a few isolated drops as we were getting close to our starting point, but it held out. When I got home, as I was taking my bike into my apartment, it was at that very moment that the clouds opened and let loose. Lucky timing!
It was a beautiful ride. In Montreal and the suburbs, the wild cherry trees were in bloom: chokecherries, maybe black cherries or pin cherries too. I really LOVE the spicy smell of cherry blossoms, though I don't know which cherry species smells so nice. The Amelanchier sp. (saskatoons?) were also in bloom everywhere, and here and there some early apples or crabapples were also opening up. The terrain was fairly flat, the wind wasn't too bad, the sun was lovely, and the scenery in parts was quite nice. Apart from the springtime glory, some of the little villages, especially along the Richelieu, have a bit of charm. All in all, it was perfect for an early-season ride.
I'm almost disappointed that I didn't have even a bit of near-miss disaster during my bike ride; maybe you have to live in Strasbourg for that, and maybe riding around the Richelieu isn't the same as riding along the Rhine. But truth be told, Eric and I were very happy with this outcome. Once on this very ride, I had 3 flat tires within the stretch of about 10km. That exhausted our collective stock of spare tubes, and he graciously finished the ride (without any spares) and drove back to pick me up.
I slept very well the evening after my ride, but today (the next day) I feel great. I think this augurs well for the 2010 cycling season.