Saturday, November 14, 2015

I have perfected the best southern Quebec road-bike ride, with various distance options.

I have found the perfect road bike ride. It is not a hilly mountain ride, because that's a different thing. It's not just lowland flats, because that's boring. This ride combines scenic rural country road riding with a moderate hill climb in the middle, all of it on great roads: quiet with few cars, always scenic with mix of forests and farm fields, and almost always on good to very good quality asphalt.

The itinerary is

Section 1 : St-Bernard-de-Lacolle to top of Covey Hill

St-Bernard-de-Lacolle to new bridge on Covey Hill (above town of Franklin Centre)

St-Bernard-de-Lacolle /piste cyclable la paysan bike path /Chemin Hebert/Country roads near St-Chrysostome, Havelock, Franklin and finally chemin Brooks to top of Covey Hill. On a clear day Chemin Brooks has a view of Montreal from 80 km away. We stop at the bridge because it is scenic and a zen spot.

The Covey Hill bridge is the turnaround point - or the start for all longer-ride tours to the west
This bridge is where all the ride options start. You can return back to the start (by a the same route or a slightly different route), or head further west for whatever distance you want to ride or extra time you have in the day before sunset. Sunset time and remaining daylight is the constraint you need to decide what to do here.

The return from Covey Hill to St-Bernard-de-Lacolle via Chemin Moore 

This section of the ride takes a slightly different route from the route we took to get here.

I use a different route to make the start of the ride a bit easier and less complicated and since it's on a bike path you can chat with buddies a bit more comfortable than on a road. The return simply takes a series of perfect roads for road-biking, including the funfest Chemin Moore. This direction also exploits the downhill trend of the landscape so it is speedy. Pure gravy!

All the optional circuits to the west will return to the Covey Hill bridge and will use the Chemin Moore route back to St-Bernard-de-Lacolle.

Section 2: West between Franklin/Covey Hill and Powerscourt

There's a bunch of excellent options in this section. Riding around Rockburn and Powerscourt is road bike paradise. In Powerscourt is QUebec's oldest covered bridge, built in 1863. It crosses the Chateauguay River. This region is called the Chateauguay Valley and don't you forget it!

Rockburn loop

This option adds one hour. It pure bike-ride perfection. Highly recommended. Either direction is good, I like clockwise. You could do even it both ways because it is that good. I usually do this version of the ride because I have just enough time extra to still get back in time for supper. So I often say to buddies, we can do this little extra section, one hour, and it's great riding." Then next time they tell me that want to do it again, so I know it's good. 

There is a restaurant in Rockburn.  Because this ride avoids towns and civilization, this is a chance for food without having to take a detour into a village.

Powerscourt allez-retour direct
Go west (one hour) direct out-and-back to Powerscourt & Quebec's oldest covered bridge.

You will be riding on First Concession. A few hundred metres south of here is the border with the USofA.  It is a another great road for road-bike riding. No I am not bullshitting. THis ride overflows with great road-bike roads.

This version goes straight and does not use the Rockburn Loop (Although I suggest including the clockwise direction of the loop on the retour/return leg of the ride because it's a free downhill, and it's really good riding.

Powerscourt plus Rockburn Loop
Go west (2 hours) hour direct out-and-back to Powerscourt  This version includes doing both directions of the Rockburn Loop separately on the allez and the retour parts of the ride.

Franklin > Montée Rockburn, Athelstan, Powerscourt

Franklin > Montée Rockburn, Athelstan, Elgin, Powerscourt

Franklin > Montée Rockburn, Chemin Gore, Gilmore Bridge, Elgin, Powerscourt

We'll finish this later. It's time to go outside.


Friday, November 13, 2015

Fast pedaling workout aka High Rpm Cadence Intervals

Pedaling cadence rpm is one of those things that separates the pros from the slows.

High rpm spin-the-pedals is always preferred to low rpm push-the-pedals.

Fast pedaling at high rpm = low effort.

Slow pedaling at low rpm = high effort & poor form.

Here is a cadence interval workout I like a lot.

I like it a lot because it works. The more you do it the easier it is to bike. This makes biking easier. So either easier, or faster, or more fun, or all of these together. Caution: may cause jubilant glee.

Training to spin over 110 makes regular 90-100 rpm cadence sweet and easy, and gives me plenty of headroom for accelerational requirements.

Having good high rpm cadence capabilities is a skill the debutants definitely do not inherently possess and I would say it is as fundamental as correct bike position, map reading skills, flat changing skills, road safety skills, and a positive and welcoming attitude about impending uphills.

I like that this provides a training to support the constant changes in pedaling speed and effort arising from wind, gravity, shifting and other fun factors.

I love to watch Colorado high speed road bike youtube videos because watching high speed road riding inspires high speed pedaling.

This workout will make bike riding easier, therefore more fun, with greater potential to put the pedal down and go faster when needed.

Which means have more fun!

Print me! Ride me!

Don't forget to use good form. Good form is everything.

These things will address good form. Always use good form.
  • No bouncing up and down.
  • Keep your weight on the seat.
  • Watts set watts or power below your cardio overload level. This is NOT about pushing hard.
  • Headband, bike gloves, towel, lip stuff, and water nearby. 
  • Put a powerful fan in front of you. You will sweat. (with big fan wearing bike shades for eye protection is useful)
  • Use fast-beat tunes
  • Fast Colorado mountains road-bike videos on youtube
  • Rest the next day, no back to back hard sessions! 
It's a long time until summer returns:
  • November - the less less said about n-v-m--r the better!
  • December - perform sacred snow dance to make snow fall from sky in large quantity
  • January - snowshoe and cross country ski - woohoo
  • February - snowshoe and cross country ski - woohoo
  • March - snowshoe and ski road trip to Charlevoix & Saguenay
  • March - late winter road bike rides near ormstown if dry weather
  • April - road bike rides near Ormstown, mtn bike on road around lac Brome lake & Wotton
  • May - everything turns green and warm temperatures arrive
  • June - It's starting to look a lot like summer!