Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Traveling in French Canada

I promised a write-up on the travel/logistics side of my Coteau-du-Lac trip once I could download the pictures off of my camera. My battery died on the Friday before the race, so I don’t have a ton of pictures … but here goes…

Coteau-du-Lac is a small village on the outskirts of Montreal. As the name suggests, it sits on a large lake. Most of the houses were in this cute “cottage” style … and it seemed to be sort of a summer/vacation area. The surrounding area was rural with a lot of farms. It would have been a pleasant place to stick around and ride for a few days, but I had to hurry to Las Vegas right after the race for a surprise birthday party for my father. (He was very surprised, as his birthday is still three months away!)

The Race Director was very generous in setting up lodging and meals for any out-of-town athletes who requested such support. About fifteen of us stayed at the Base de Plein Air Les C├Ędres. It appeared to be a summer camp, complete with campers and counselors running around doing their camp thing. The athletes were all housed in one building with a few dorm bedrooms, showers and a kitchen. It was quiet & peaceful. There were some nice-looking trails that made us wish that we had mountain bikes.

I really like when an RD puts a bunch of athletes in the same place. It lets you get to know your fellow competitors. Wildflower and Scott Tinley’s can be similar.

There was a walk-in fridge that was stocked with snacks and plenty of chocolate milk for recovery.

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About an hour before mealtime, two volunteers would show up with our catered meals.

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I don’t have any other pictures from our camp… the bedrooms each had six bunk beds but no more than three athletes to a room …

I did manage to get a few pictures at the race venue.  First up, I found this placement of the local triathlon club’s sign right in front of the latrine to be … well … uncommon …

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I also got a kick out of the “No Swimming” sign in front of our swim venue. Such things are quite common on the racing circuit, though. We swim in a lot of places where people usually can’t swim … the river in downtown Seoul … San Francisco Bay … the Kelowna marina … various oceans & lakes that don’t have public swim areas …

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The swim dock in CDL was rather sturdy, and it needed to be sturdy with our 75-man field! Anybody who didn’t dive immediately at the gun would have been forced backwards as the dock moved in an equal-and-opposite reaction to the force of the diving swimmers.

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We had to run up a rather steep ramp between the two swim laps and after the second lap … but they had some super-grippy paint on the ramp and nobody slipped.

The swim course was not terribly wide and our 75-man field probably covered 75% of the width of the waterway. Carnage!!

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After the swim exit, we ran up some big stairs and then had a short run to transition. They did a very professional job of preparing our run surface and lining the chute with banners:

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The day before the race I saw a bunch of their road signs getting staged. Racing in other countries gives you a chance to see a new variety of street signs.  My favorite:

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Some of the others:

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That’s all I have for pictures … as for other entertaining notes:

  • It was fun to see a lot of the guys that I met at Ixtapa. You travel all over the continent to race the same dudes!
  • Getting to Quebec from Seattle isn’t easy. I over-analyzed my flight selection and picked a pretty good one, with a not-too-early departure from Seattle and a not-too-late arrival at YUL … but of course, my Seattle flight got delayed so that I couldn’t catch my connection, and I got rebooked on another airline which charged me $200 for my bike. $200!!! And I got in to YUL three hours later than planned … and I had to wait an extra 90 minutes for the next race shuttle … at least I was able to sneak in a 30-minute shake-out jog at the airport. At 11pm. The awesome things that you do on the road.
  • My flights back to Vegas were a bit of an adventure, too, due to thunderstorms in Chicago. But I got to Sin City in time for the birthday festivities.
  • Our after-party at CDL had two phases, as these things often do. The official dinner + awards were at a hall in downtown CDL… then the unofficial gathering was back at camp. We all drank a few beers as we packed up our bikes, then many of us sat up chatting until well after midnight. The first two airport shuttles were at 3am and 5am, so this probably wasn’t the most responsible course of action.

That’s about it for now. Tomorrow I leave for San Francisco and the next Pan American Cup on the schedule.

1 comment:

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