Posted by: Silver | June 5, 2012

My First Century

La Malbaie to La Baie:
Distance: 166 km (for those of you watching in black and white, that’s 103 miles…)
Ascent: 2349 m
Cycling time: 12 hours, 30 minutes

And the records kept on tumbling…

In the world of long distance cycling, one’s first century (ie. a ride of 100 miles in a single day) definitely appears to be something of a milestone. Ideally, it is something you would probably plan to do over fairly flat terrain, on a day with light tailwinds; you wouldn’t do it the day after two consecutive days of fairly intensive hill-climbing and you certainly wouldn’t plan for the last 2km to be up a really steep hill.

But then, my first century wasn’t actually planned…

I knew the ride from La Malbaie up to La Baie was going to be long, but google maps reassuringly promised me it would only be around 137km: a big day, certainly, but nothing I hadn’t conquered before. It wasn’t until I got into discussion with my hosts in Baie-St-Paul that I was apprised of the fact that the roads google was sending me down were actually nothing more than forest tracks, if indeed they existed at all… The only practical way of getting to La Baie was apparently via Saint Siméon, a scenic little detour that just so happened to add the small matter of about 30km to my route. And so, with barely 24 hours’ notice, I began to reconcile myself to the unexpected challenge ahead…

Doing your first century right on the eastern fringe of a really wide time zone would probably be another thing you would plan to avoid, if you were actually planning it: even though I was up before 5am, I’d still lost a good hour of daylight by the time I got underway. But at least it was sunny! I can’t just remember exactly how many times I repeated this to myself – as the headwinds gusted yet again during almost half of the day, or as I hauled myself up yet another slope that my computer refused to reveal the steepness of – but I do remember just how overflowingly grateful I was that it wasn’t raining!

It was also a very beautiful ride. 🙂 I saw more wildlife along the roadside than I have in a good long while, and whilst hills might not make for the easiest cycling, they certainly make for some very attractive vistas. I finally rolled into La Baie just as the sun was setting: too exhausted to be too triumphant, but certainly very happy to see that I still had the strength to climb the stairs into my hosts’ house, where a very kind family of avid cyclists was ready and waiting to ply me with just what I needed: protein-packed food, a hot shower and a cosy bed!

Leaving La Malbaie in very early morning sunshine…

It was certainly a day of ups and downs, but I took them all in my stride 😉

It was a loooong day of pedalling, but I still had to stop to eat, of course, and on one occasion I ended up in a little park in Rivière-Éternité that was full of nativity scenes: my favourite was this rather interesting northern take on the story

Finally – my first glimpse of La Baie, as the sun began to set on an unexpected day of achievement 🙂

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Responses

  1. Well done, hell of an achievement! Was rather diappointed it wasn’t a cricket report though! Not to have a run rate or how many overs you faced, dash it, just not right… You still batting right handed?

  2. WOW!! Go you Silver, what an amazing day! 😀

  3. Such beautiful photos Silver, thank you!

  4. Silver- you’re a rock star! Congratulations on your first century, and one so incredibly challenging, at that. Thank you, thank you. Thinking of you, always. Love, Layla

  5. Congratulations. You’re photos make me want to travel to Quebec, despite my lack of French language skills.


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