Suggested Listening: Feeling Hot Hot Hot by the Merrymen
Total Distance Cycled: 1142km
Quebec City to Saint Germain:160km
The alarm went off around 6:30am, but we snoozed it a couple of times deciding early on this morning that today would be a slow day. Shantel had stayed up quite late catching up on her Instagram posts. Being a light sleeper the light from her phone kept me awake for a bit despite being exhausted. When we eventually rolled out of bed closer to 7:00 am we began packing our bags and getting ready. Our amazing host Suzanne had already prepared everything for our breakfast which again was granola with peanut butter, blueberries, local strawberries, and raspberries from her garden. Once ou healthy breakfast was finished we got a photo and said our goodbyes.
Leaving Suzanne’s place it wasn’t long before we faced the steepest downhill of the trip. Even using my brakes a bunch it was terrifying at times. The fact that Shantel admitted to being a bit freaked out by it (and she loves downhills) gave me some comfort I wasn’t totally unwarranted in my fears. From there we continued on a bike path and some road until we made it to the ferry where we’d take a short 10 boat ride to Levis. Just as we got there they closed the gate and Shantel was worried we might end up having to wait a long timf ro thr next one. Fortunately they seemed to run pretty frequently. While waiting for the ferry to arrive we bought us tickets and chatted with another touring cyclist named Tom from Minneapolis. My best guess was that he was retired and had the luxury of traveling whenever he pleased. He told us he was take the ferry tomorrow and just scouting it out today as he had a day off to explore Quebec City. Like us he is also headed to St. John’s. We chatted a bit about other bike trips and he shared that he’s gone from Cairo to Capetown before and also rode from Yukon to Costa Rica. Pretty damn legendary. I hope when I’m his age I have a few rides like those under my belt. With our ferry arriving our conversation was cut short as we had to board it.
It was cool to see so many cyclist among the cars on the ferry. Cycling definitely seems popular here in Quebec. I’ve also noticed a strangely large number of three wheeled motorcycles. No where else in the world have I many of them. Once the ferry arrived ind Levis we made our way up a slow long climb along the bike path. From here the rest of the ride until our first break seems like a bit of a blur and I can’t remember much of it. Shantel says we went down a big hill which took us to the 132 so I’ll trust her on it.
After about 60km into the ride we needed a break from the sun so we took refuge in a Tim Hortons. Shantel for some ice coffee thing again and I got some peach “juice”. We also got a coke and sprite for the road. Shantel also ordered us a Beyond Burger since Tim Hortons apparently has those now. After cooling down for a bit we made our way across the street to get food at a place called Thai Zone. It was only when I got closer that I noticed it was temporarily closed. Lucky (if you can call it that) for us there was a Subway across the street. We reluctantly each got a veggie sub again and got one to share for the road.
It was maybe 600 meters down the road when I saw another Thai restaurant open. I couldn’t resist making a short video and blaming my friend Christine for cursing me with this Subway dependence. One thing I will say though is that the food gave me a massive boost and for the next 50km despite the crazy heat and hills I went into “beast mode” which is to say I was pretty much unstoppable. It felt good to make up for the slower morning start and for the first time on the ride I realized I wasn’t in pain. Sad, I know, but I’ve sort of come to expect it. I did have to slow my pace on a few occasions to make sure I stayed in sight of Shantel, but I was pretty impressed at how hard she pushed it as well.
The route along the 132 had some pretty nice views for most of the ride and despite the crosswind being annoying it was helpful at making it feel a little cooler outside. It was with 48km left that we realized we were dangerously low on water so we made a quick pit stop to get more water and drink our Sprite and Coke. It had been ages since I’d drank either and I immediately remembered why – the feeling they left on my teeth felt gross. No doubt all the sugar was helpful though. From here we rode a short while longer before finding ourselves on a 14km gravel/dirt road. I was far from impressed. Dirt and gravel roads really slow our progress and while it is nice not to have traffic I think I didn’t appreciate that much today since there weren’t all that many cars on the road and we had a great paved shoulder for lost of the day. The trails redeeming qualities were that Shantel and I could ride side by side and talk, and that the view was quite beautiful.
Once we were finally off the trail we got back onto the 132 for pretty much the retrest of our ride. It started off slow again, but Shantel then quickly entered into her own beast mode. It took serious work to keep up with her. I teased her at one point when she slowed a little and immediately regretted it when she took that as a challenge and zoomed off. We kept a quick and steady pace until pretty much the end of the ride. Despite our Air BnB hosts place being just off the 132 there was of course a long gravel road and hill all within the last two kilometers of our ride. With this being our longest day to date it felt satisfying to finally arrive just after 6pm.
Upon arriving our host Melanie directed us to bring our things in through the back and showed us our room. As soon as we entered the house we were greeted by her friendly dog Whisky. Shantel was so happy to give the dog some love, but I had one thing on my mind – showering. I was so hot and sweaty I felt like a moving slip and slide. Being the fine gentleman I am though I gave Shantel the first shower and opted to stretch on the floor of the bedroom. This was a discussion I quickly came to regret as the sweat was dripping into my eyes now since I had taken off my headbsmd and was now causing my eyes to burn. Once we had spent a short time in the house we also realized there was no air conditioning. Not sure how we missed this crucial fact when booking the Air BnB, but we were suffering for it now. Fortunately our host was able to provide us with a fan for the evening. After Shantel showered I went down to take mine and soak up the cool water on my skin. Being a country home the shower had a strong sulfur smell. It didn’t seem to bother Shantel much, but I found it pretty unpleasant since it’s not something I’m use to at all. Once we were finally cleaned up Melanie offered to take us into town so we could get dinner and pick us up when we were done. Given how exhausted we were this was very very much appreciated!
Dinner for the both of us was a veggie burger and fries and it was pretty decent.It had cooled down a bit more that it was past 7pm and eating outside seemed cooler than being indoors. Once we finished and we’re brought back we went straight to business on keeping things updated before passing out.