Sunday 25 May 2008

Hill Sprints in Gatineau Park

The weather was gorgeous today and I went back to Gatineau Park to do a set of five hill sprints, which are basically going uphill has fast as you can for around 30 seconds. By the second or third time my breakfast wanted to escape but I just kept at it and soon the instructions of the Coach of Cruelty were carried out.

The route was a variation on my usual Gatineau Park route, going to Champlain Lookout but then returning the same way I came instead of going back the direct way. This gave me around 1000 m of climbing today, and 74 km in distance. I felt very good and even chased down a few people just for fun.

The ride out to the Park was a bit scary. First of all a truck full of roofing supplies almost pushed me off the road near my house. Then on Beechwood Drive, as I got onto the bicycle lane and began to cross the bridge, a woman in a car behind me started honking her horn. I looked back to see that she was driving on the bike lane! I guess it would never have occurred to her to just wait until the traffic was clear and get back onto the roadway but this marked my first sprint of the day.

In the Park itself I saw more wildlife than before. A groundhog sitting up next to the road watched me with great interest as I rolled by him, perhaps two feet away. A red-tailed hawk swooped over the road and landed in a tree on a low branch on one of the big climbs but best of all was as I came up to two women cyclists and a big black bear loped across the road. He looked much better-fed that the bear I had seen on Skyline Drive once so I was not too concerned. I asked the women what kind of dog it was that had crossed, which they found highly amusing.

It was quite windy, which is usually not so much fun but the road was generally sheltered and the wind kept the blackflies away. When I stopped briefly on Champlain Lookout they began to swarm, which encouraged me to just keep riding. But on a beautiful sunny day with comfortable temperatures who would not want to keep riding? And the beer at the end of the ride just makes it so much more worthwhile.

And thanks to the assistance of Chill the Computer Genius, I have actually been able to do a map of today's ride!

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