Like it says on my hotel wall: “le bonheur est un parcours…pas une destination”.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. I’ve been checking out the area for almost a year, which included 6 months of basically non-rideable winter – think bovine deep snow for most of that time.

It’s June now, heading towards high summer, and truly it is beautiful round here. I’m overnighting at La Cache du Golf hotel, which sits east of the river on some pretty charming grounds with some very charming views.

Now I really don’t give a poop about golf, nor really care what color jacket who wears, but for some reason lately I’ve been gravitating to Golf properties on my trips. It really works well, because they are set up for sporty folks with gear, beery folks with cheer and so I find there’s generally a convivial atmosphere and room to swing the cat. Or the 9 iron.

Nobody seems put out when I lug bike gear, oil my chain in the parking lot or strut around in high-fashion lycra. No polo shirt for this deuce.

After work, I quickly check-in, change and head out like a kid in a store made of candy.

I spent some time last night setting up the bike, and cleaning it up, so it’s ready to roll. A left turn from the hotel and I’m hello kitty to the gravel, or like they say in French, gravel.

It’s really good to be back on 37’s – I’m rolling up and down some lovely little hills between Beauceville and Sainte-Marie today. Past endless cottages and farms and open fields and close woods. Lots of cows and tractors and manure out here today. Lots of manure. And pellet-shot signs.

I roller coaster for about 20km and then drop down a 20% grade (thanks on the return for that one) and take a quick roll up the Route Verte 6 for a cheeseburger, at my favorite on the road burger place (thanks to coupons which make it super cheap) A&W. I enjoy a snack (well, a meal) and chit chat a bit there, then head back to the hotel. Thankfully downwind. Although there are very ominous storm clouds in the sky and I have a bit of chat with a cheeky local who I tell to get out my way nicely and who then proceeds to sass me for going too fast. Ahh teenagers…

This was supposed to be something of a recovery ride, the outbound leg was pretty hard going – you know when you can’t get your HR up out of tempo, and the legs are the consistency of dung baked in the microwave and then covered in chocolate sauce for a while.

Legs felt recovered by the last hour so gassed it a bit. The final climb on Strava looked pretty puny after the ride, but I can tell you it was a vertical wall of abuse – the pitch must have been 25% or more – my back wheel skidded every time I stood up so I had to quad – power it up the hill. A pickup came blasting by me near the top delivering clouds of dust which made the last push even more memorable.

Been working on cranking the steeps in big ring, so when I’ve finished the climb, head off for one last effort and then back to the hotel. Did I miss a 42 on the back ? Not today, which is kind of interesting.

Overall, some epic gravel is here to stay, come and play, ping me if you want a tour in the area. Would love to be your guide!