I hugged Raf goodbye, and set off. The opening 25km was a broken affair with a stiff headwind, a glut of traffic lights and more construction detours than you could shake a stick at, all trying to salt my game.
I soon ended up talking to a guy who was out on a training ride, and then to a lovely woman named Monique. We cycled together for a while, and she even put a shift in out in front to give me a hand combating the wind. We breathlessly talked for some time, battling the wind together. She was training for a Charity cycle, and I wish her every success.
The smell of strawberries filled the air as people combed the nearby fields looking for the juiciest ones to pick. I smiled, because summer doesn’t get more summery than that!
Further on, and I talked to a motorcyclist who rode a Harley Davidson. He didn’t get me, and I didn’t get him. I was sensing a kind of rivalry. Well, “sensing” has probably replaced the more accurate “expecting” at this point. A guy on a Harley a few kilometres earlier had pulled up beside me at a red light, and given me a good, though look-over before exclaiming, “There’s no engine on that you know!”, before immediately cackling and roaring away. I wasn’t sure if he thought his joke was funny, or if it was funny because he thought I wanted to be like him and had come up several grand short. It’s a shame he didn’t stick around, because I had news for him: everyone hates you. People are inherently good so instead, here is my 4-point criticism of Harley Davidson’s:
1. Harleys are loud. So loud, in fact, that all other road users have fillings shaken loose, get distracted, crash and die. Probably.
2. Harley’s are like the Mask; as soon as the user is attached, the user turns into an asshole. Unfortunately for them, Harley riders don’t turn into smooth, eccentric, Cameron Diaz-shagging assholes; they turn into moody, socially awkward, exhaust-pipe shagging assholes.
3. Harley’s run in packs. It the only vehicle in existence that doesn’t work unless there are at least 3 more within 10 metres. Dismay is always multiplied.
4. They don’t count as a vehicle. Vehicles take you somewhere. Harley’s take you nowhere. Except in a huge circle designed to rip through as many quiet villages as possible, before arriving back at their lair.
Harleys had now become so abundant that there were actually signs up telling them to be quiet. Thank you Quebec.
Back to my own business, and it was quickly turning into a slugging match. I wanted to go on with distance to make, but I couldn’t afford to go toe-to-toe with the oncoming airstream for hours and hours. I employed counter-punch cycling into the wind, punishing the road every time the squall ebbed and for a while, to great effect. Trust me, I’d like to shut up about the wind, but I won’t as long as it’s still there, wrecking my nut. According to the locals, Westerlies are a feature of this part of the world at this time of year, so this is going to be a repetitive read.
The effort was taking its toll. I hadn’t eaten enough as my stomach was still uncomfortably unsettled from the previous day. I began to wilt badly as Trois-Rivieres came into view, but made it as far as the town centre before finding some food.
There wasn’t long left on the day, so I went on until the buildings dried up and found a place to pitch. Other than the bugs, it wasn’t a bad spot.