When I think about the term “B&B” I understand what the second B stands for. But on my second day of the Chemin du Roy adventure, I wasn’t prepared for what I was served.
In my last post, I mentioned I stayed at the charming Au Bois Joli – the room was lovely, the people I met interesting, but the breakfast… Ahhh the breakfast. Divine! Four courses, starting with a strawberry mousse, home-made jams and croissants/toast, and rounding out with a main of shrimp and cheese omelette with honey drizzled fruit. By the time dessert rolled around, I was too stuffed to enjoy the breakfast cakes, and left wondering how I was going to get onto my bike and ride 130km!
I left the gîte touristique around 10:15 am in this morning; two hours behind my original schedule. Heading out of the city was a bit difficult, and it took me about an hour to get to the edge of the city. If you follow this path, be warned: the Eastbound and Westbound signs cross right around the junction with highway 132. As my trip progressed, I started following the mantra “when in doubt, go East” – something that would have saved me a good 30 minutes. Crossing the Parc nautique de cap rouge was also a bit of an adventure. The road ends and runs through a neighbourhood park before requiring a steep descent to the river. If there is one thing that scares a biker, it’s going the wrong direction down a steep road!
Luckily the route turned out to be correct, and I was on my way to Trois Rivieres.
Stop 1: Érablière le Chemin du Roy – About an hour and a half into my trip, I took a brief stopover at this sugar shack. Too stuffed from lunch, I didn’t stop in for their classic meal and coffee, but did hop off and take a look around the grounds. Unfortunately I didn’t get a sample of maple, but I’d had my fill from the food tour the day before.
I followed the river after this until I hit the Domains des 3 Moulins. I had debated going down, but between the time crunch and the lengthy hill off the highway, I took my water break and headed on past Neuville.
Stop 3: After this rest I rode hard… until I couldn’t. By this time it was around 4pm and I was tired, hungry, sore, and pedalling very inefficiently. When I saw the sign for Alkisir Organic Essential Oils offering free samples for cyclists… Well, I couldn’t pass that up. The plant/store, along the highway in the Deschambault-Grondines region, was quaint with helpful staff and tasty samples. I walked (hobbled) in parched and exhausted but left refreshed with a 100mL bottle of peppermint essential oil.
Stop 4: This stop kept me going for another 10km or so but I was keeping a steady lookout for somewhere to eat. Finally I stumbled upon the Gite et Cafe de la Tour in Sainte-Anne-de-la-Perade and stuffed my face with a fruit smoothie and a chocolate-caramel cake. WARNING: Riding a bike all day will ruin your throat. By the time I got around to the cake I couldn’t even finish it all due to the pain from the rawness.
I quicky google searched the distance remaining to Trois Rivieres (25km) and set off, hoping to be at my hotel in the next 2 hours (by 7pm). Unfortunately that didn’t happen, and the ride turned out to be more like 2.5 hours – google was wrong. After a stressful and confused night-time ride through downtown Trois Rivieres (crossing two busy bridges with minimal Chemin du Roy signs), I finally made it in to the Delta.
Recommended: make sure your hotel/b&b accepts bikes (the Delta was great and let me keep my bike in my room) and make sure it has a bath! I fully credit my evening soak with how great I felt the next morning.
Recommendation 2: Pack sunscreen. Don’t be fooled into lightening your pack by skipping this lotion. By then end of day 1 I had a decent chin strap sunburn happening… lesson learned. 😦