Posted by: Silver | June 3, 2012

Shawinigan to La Malbaie

Shawinigan to Cap Santé:
Distance: 97 km
Ascent: 331 m
Cycling time: 5 hours, 10 minutes

Cap Santé to Québec:
Distance: 57 km
Ascent: 456 m
Cycling time: 3 hours, 40 minutes

Québec to Baie-St-Paul:
Distance: 104 km
Ascent: 1204 m
Cycling time: 6 hours, 50 minutes

Baie-St-Paul to La Malbaie:
Distance: 48 km
Ascent: 858 m
Cycling time: 3 hours, 50 minutes

Another whirlwind week: Shawinigan, Baie-St-Paul and La Malbaie were sadly all just one night stops with hosts I would have loved to have had more time with, but I wanted to tweak my normal two-nights-in-each-place itinerary in order to allow more time for presentations in Quebec City. Service clubs almost always meet at mealtimes, but across the country, the choice of meal has been reasonably evenly split between breakfast, lunch and dinner. In Quebec City, however, every Rotary Club meets at breakfast time it seems, so for four mornings in a row, I was up before 6am to make my way to various far-flung corners of the city in the hopes that I would be able to convey my passionate support for SOS Children’s Villages more strongly than my passionate need for sleep… Fortunately, I believe I did. 🙂

Then, after a string of early mornings, a string of mountains to climb! The Charlevoix region, to the east of Quebec City, is possibly the hilliest part of the whole province, and at 740m, the summit of my climb on the way to Baie-St-Paul was certainly the highest I’d been since I left Alberta last summer. Perhaps even more significantly though, the slopes around here are steep. In BC, the grades only rarely got into double figures, but in Quebec, I’ve been getting quite used to not knowing exactly how steep the slopes are, because for some reason, my cycle computer refuses to display the grade when it gets above about 15%. Maybe it thinks it’s being kind: “No, honestly, you don’t really want to know how steep this slope is…” Fortunately, though, it does still record the data, and so I was later able to reassure myself that my 3km/h average speed on the hill out of Saint-Irénée was not an indication that my legs had finally completely lost it, but simply that I’d broken my personal record for the steepest slope climbed: 25%! Truly, with a trike, you really can pretty much climb walls!

And of course, what goes up, generally comes down again… which is how I came to also break my personal speed record, which had stood at 74km/h ever since my vertiginous plunge into the Drumheller valley almost exactly one year ago. It’s probably best if my Mum stops reading at this point… but for any of the rest of you who are interested, the record now stands at 75.5km/h… 😉

I’ve seen huge numbers of trikes since I’ve been in Quebec… but all the others have had motors…!

Old Quebec is a very beautiful city, and has consequently been photographed to death: if you want to see a shot of the Château Frontenac, google it! I was more intrigued by the hidden nooks and crannies, like this garden on top of a building in the lower town: its roof was just about level with the city walls on the top of the cliff!

The waterfall as modern art: the Montmorency Falls, on the way to Baie-St-Paul, are also very well photographed by much better photographers than me…

Sculptural adornments in people’s front yards seem to be another popular feature around here, but this creation, in an alpaca paddock(!), was definitely taking it to quite an extreme!

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