Updated Itinerary – Step One: Shave Legs; Step Two Bike to Gaspé.

June 22, 2012

After much deliberation, I have decided to depart from my doorstep towards Gaspé. The initial leg of the journey will take me along the north side of the St. Lawrence until Trois Rivières, QC, and then on to la Capitale on Sunday. That makes a total of 260km for my first two days, which should leave me so thirsty for a cold beer and the company of humans that I will likely set aside my federalist preconceptions and indulge in St-Jean festivities without the slightest fuss. By then, I will gladly get behind any vision of this province that will allow me to sit still and drink beer.

This “urban” leg of the journey will allow me to assure that I am appropriately provisioned for cycling and camping when I hit the Gaspé, and to discover why La Fete Nationale in Quebec City is all the rage. It’s also a way for me to burn off all this bottled up excitement without having to first survive an anaesthetic 15 hour bus ride to my start destination.

Après ça, I will be bussing to Rimouski, where I will undertake to bike the entire, bulbous, peninsula of la Gaspésie. 

For the ostensible purpose of staving off future infection, I will be shaving my legs this evening. Stay tuned for the uncensored video footage.





See What a Hundred Feels Like

June 18, 2012

Out onto my 2nd floor Plateau doorstep, down the windy stairs, and 94km across the island of Montreal to Ste Anne’s de Bellevue. I decided to do this training ride somewhat whimsically to “see what a hundred feels like”, after sleeping off yesterday’s rugby induced heat-stroke, and waking at 2pm from a deep sleep.


Biking is problematic, because you never know where to focus your attention. Everything around you demands it. First, you must listen to the faint cry of your leg muscles, in order to make sure it doesn’t crescendo into a dull, paralyzing roar. You also have to be constantly gearing up and down as the slope changes. Breathing also requires tremendous concentration. Visually, you have to keep your eye out for rapidly approaching dangers, mainly pernicious potholes, mindless meanderers, and women wobbling along on bicycles. You also have to take in the sights, especially along the stunning “Bord-Au-Lac” ride in Montreal, with the wide St-Laurent frothing by, and every girl with a pair of roller blades teetering coquettishly alongside you.

Despite the distractions, I arrived at an important revelatio: a name for my new Cannondale bike. While admiring it’s patriotic “Made in USA” paint job with fellow Wanderer Blake Butler, he suggested I call it “Springsteen.” I tweaked the moniker so as to fit with my knightly theme, and not to let Blake get all the credit for naming my bike, to “Springsteed.”  Or Bruce for short.


I made it out in good time, to offer a little moral support to some fellow Montreal Wanderer friends in the Quebec rugby team line-up, against the Newfoundland “Rock”. Turns out my beaming, insouciant smile wasn’t enough to swing the game in Quebec’s favor. While the Quebec “Voyageurs” still have a long way to go (har har har) before they can compete with the likes of the Rock, they managed some decent stretches of offensive flair and defensive tenacity.


After proposing to several friends, and strangers, with vehicles to drive me back downtown, pride got the best of me and I decided to finish what I’d started. The 45 km return ride taught me an important lesson for my upcoming tour. There are a million obstacles on a long bike ride, and they all fall into a single, damning category: reasons to stop. I got hungry, and stopped for trail mix. I got dehydrated and stopped for Powerade. The Powerade was too salty, so I stopped for water. And then, like a child in a snowsuit, I had to stop several times to let off the excess fluid. By that point I had grown suspicious that my logical side was trying to sabotage my homeward flight. So I started trying to meet my basic needs without coming to a full stop. Urinating was hard, but manageable.


Interestingly, while my return ride was markedly slower, it was also peppered with regular, valiant sprints. The growing ache in my backside led encouraged me to stand up for long periods of time. And once you are standing on a speedy bike, its hard not to keep givin’ er. Whatever the reason, it was nice to see the legs still grinding away at top speed after 80 or so kilometers. I slowed up dramatically as I reached the old port, and rolled right into the “Five Guys” burger joint for burger, fries, an a shake of proportions equally epic to the length of my ride.


So how realistic is 120km a day in the Gaspésie? I’m still not sure. Today’s ride was not at all hilly. The Bord-du-Lac trail in Montreal undulates only slightly, and I wasn’t carrying a lot of gear. But I rocked the first 45km in around 1h40, so if I can manage 6 hours a day on the bike, I don’t see why 150km wouldn’t be possible. On verra.

Here is the route from today: http://goo.gl/maps/p4AL


Touring question of the day: anyone have tips on the necessity of padded cycling shorts?


Wanderers vs Ottawa Irish Rugby

June 18, 2012

“‘Maybe there is a beast….maybe it’s only us.'” (William Golding, Lord of the Flies)

The Ottawa Irish call their inside centre “Piggy”, a fitting epithet considering the particularly savage beating received by the poor snout-nosed center and his squad this past weekend. The Wanderers scored five wild-eyed tries to crush the Irish spirits and clinch first place in the league.

New French flanker Devon “Hugo” Hyver (Pronounced “Weaver” like his Hollywood doppleganger) and Ted McGregor opened the scoring for the Wanderers. A soon to be classic “Oreo” try followed, with sugary white-boy Matt Barazin doing some impressive support running to make the linking pass between wingers Caleb “I’ll Have Another” Jordan and Fast Freddy Taco. Ted McGregor and Caleb “I’ll Have Another” Jordan both managed to turn the corner on the Irish defense and score corner tries.

Another notable on attack was fullback Jon Dextras, who stretched an already distended Irish defense with consistent blindside attacks. Flyhalf Adrian Thorogood contributed to the game’s theatrics with a chip and chase turned car-crash-uglu knock on in the try-zone. Centre Matthew Barazin added a classic Irish moment of his own, getting in some solid Mickey Ward body punches and leaving at least two opponents buckled over for the count.

The oppressive heat sapped the Wanderer’s strength in the second half, and the Irish started to creep back into the game. Fortunately, any hope of a comeback evaporated with a perfectly executed wing-in play that sent Caleb “I’ll Have Another” Jordan galloping majestically through the Irish backline.
With the unbridled win and bonus points, the Wanderers find themselves several lengths ahead of their closest rivals, and well positioned to take this year’s league championship.


“Un osti de mille kilomètres en Gaspésie”

June 15, 2012

At long last, Lochinvar has rediscovered his chevalric passion for over-ambitious and over-narrated adventuring. Starting on June 22nd, I will mount my new steed (a gorgeous, American-patriot-colored Cannondale touring bike) and complete a 1000 kilometre circuit of the Gaspésie Region of Québec. This trip will mark the birthday of this great province.

Below is a tentative outline of my route. I promise more info to come re: themes, gear, and accessory goals.