Sunday, October 04, 2015

Lacolle to Powerscourt ride along US Border via Franklin & Covey Hill

(Letter to a friend format)

Well I had also had significant winds in the consistently 30 & gusting to 40 km range all day, and in the they're out to get me dept, they were NE winds. So riding Lacolle to Powerscourt I had a fabulous great amazing best first half to a ride possible. Then it was turn around time and what was joy and happiness became energy depleting relentless obstacle. 

I got the first 80 km to powerscourt done 4 hours total time including a Pont Barré that was really Barré and so I had to explore crossing options in some detail and ultimately stepped over widely-spaced stones through a pretty good current. Using the bike with brakes held on helps stabilize when making the big steps between rocks (and they we all big steps between rocks!!). I lost a water bottle there because stupidity. This was the closed road (bridge closed) to Havelock which means that geographically the next step could only be to climb Covey hill the HARD way, from the east and it's a mega hill, 30-40 km tailwinds assisted fersure here. Then from the crest of the road's highest point it was downhill and tail wind 30 km all the way to Powerscourt. It went fast!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

I got to powerscourt at 1 pm and doing the math I had to turnaround here because return leg (although a shorter route) would be slowed by wind.  As a result I got home to Montreal at 7:20 for the 7:30 chicken roti pickup right on time, so this turnaround point plan worked exquisitely well. This is the deal with this ride, turn around at whatever point will result in correct return home deadline. Still gave me time for beer/n/chips when finished which if I had continued into Elgin would have been eliminated and it's a feature of this ride to be relished and with a hard return section, anticipated with pavlovian intensity.

Arriving back at the car, I didn't stop, I just kept going on the bike path! Because I battled headwind for 4.5 hours all the way back I went past the car a kilometer in order to turn around in a klick or two so I would then have tailwind and finish the ride with a little less survived the Somme feeling and get a tiny taste of tailwind to end the day. Ok, fine.  But when I mapped the ride when I got home it turns out my total distance was 158.5 Km or 99 miles, meaning I should have done 2 km not 1 km extra into the wind and I would have had 100 miles! Doh!  

It was also a cold day, the first one of the season - but I have figured out how to completely cover the exposed flesh and that wasn't a problem. I have new neoprene booties to wear over my shoes, and shopping early meant large (technically xxl) is in stock.  I wore a liner glove-cycling glove-fleece glove on top combination which worked quite well in combating my cold-finger problem.

So a good road ride uses up all your energy. The quality of "good" can be calibrated by identifying at what point the energy reserves are depleted, versus where on the ride the energy depletion occurred. For this ride, the energy reserve depletion point (ERDP, also known as the point where you learn you are not actually in the shape you dreamed you were in) was at the 75% of ride point, so the final downhill 1/4 of the ride (usually on a good day with the wind but today aggressively against the wind) was a challenge, but it has downhillish tendencies and this characteristic to the ride is a life saver. Both for me and most buddies who had their edrp long ago earlier in the ride.  When I did this ride two weeks ago I rocked this section at top speed, so what a difference wind direction makes to my perception of my self-greatness!

Good things
got an early start, on bike 9 am
great tailwind for 4 hours
did Covey Hill the hard way (first time since Dominic ride a few years ago)
Didn't get me or bike wet during Pont Barré stream crossing
Low car traffic (as expected and usual)
Almost no noisy motorcycles
Got some apples and juice at Stevenson's in Rockburn
Easy drive both ways
Did not forget any cold weather gear
These roads are perfect for biking in every way
Amazing view of big mountains in eastern townships and Vermont from middle hard covey hill climb
My explorations zigzagging during first 1/4 of ride has developed nicely into a new & favored version of the ride
Chicken roti with pumpkin for supper - a favorite post-ride supper,

Bad things
wind on the return leg of ride
did not get to elgin bakery within time limits of ride. Need 8 am start or less time-wasting zigzag route for first 1/4 of ride
I could be both stronger and have better endurance
forgot camera, although this does speed up the ride a lot.
Winter's coming!

Post ride advice: Recommendation: Chicken Roti at Caraibe Delite on ave du Parc. Spread the one-person size cup of hot sauce on the top of the roti. Mmmmm good.