We woke up in Mechins to a bit of rain, or rather drizzle. We were not looking forward to a rainy day, and put on our rain jackets. It turns out the rain soon evaporated and it turned into a pretty nice day! We hit the road around 7:30am, and were planning on covering some distance (as we didnt get the chance to cover too much yesterday). It was a weird day for me because I was mentally a bit drained. It was the first morning I was in a funk and didnt really feel up for a cycle (probably because I knew the hills up ahead werent supposed to be pleasant, and I knew, from the North Shore, that Quebec could have some BRUTAL hills. I wasnt really looking forward to it). This hasnt really happened in the four months, and I figured it was bound to happen.
Luckily, I was feeling better as the day went on! The ride was really nice and pleasant and scenic (it mostly followed the St. Lawrence still)! The hills that were supposed to come never seemed to (for the larger portion of the day that is). The guy we bumped into on the way to Rimouski said the worst were right after Magdelaine de la Riviere Magdelaine (a stupid name for a stupid place with stupid hills.... but Ill get into that in a bit). We didnt know where the town was, as it wasnt on our maps, so we were essentially dreading it all day.
The start of the day was great! It was fairly flat, with a growing amount of ups and downs as we went on (with long flat sections in between). The ups and downs were fairly pleasant though, because with every up there was a nice down that followed.
We had our first break in Sainte Anne des Monts for a grocery store lunch. We ended up spending a solid hour there, eating and buying essentials like lens solution and things. We expected the mountains to start soon after Sainte Anne, but luckily they didnt. The ride was still nice and pleasant! It seemed that most of the day, the so-called brutal hills were non-existant.
Finally, we made it in to Sainte Magdelaine de la Riviere Magdelaine. The first hill we climbed really wasnt too bad (it was a big enough hill, but it wasnt bad enough to warn people about). We were shocked that that was the hill we were warned about and shocked it was going to be easier than that for the rest of the way. Boy, were we wrong! The second hill was the worst! It was a 2km 12% hill, followed by a lot of other LONG, STEEP hills. At one point I couldnt breath and had to stop to catch my breathe. I dont know what happened, but it was almost as if I instantly developped asthma or something. It was not cool and scary and really mentally drained me for the rest of the day. The hills just sucked. I dont know if they were on par with, a bit better, or a bit worse than the North Shore. But it sucked. When we started going downhill into Grand Vallee, there was a nice lookout. We figured we worked too hard not to enjoy the view! So we had a look and met some people who were really impressed with the cycle. One group of people consisted of two couples (who may not have known each other but both came over to talk at the same time) who told us that the worst to come. We were partly scared and partly skeptical. The other cyclist, who saw the road like we did, as a cyclist, said the worst would now be over (but Im sure up ahead will be easier, but Im sure it will still suck!). We also met a family with a small child who was so cute! I dont know what it is, but kids are so cute when they speak french!
We then cycled into the town and although it was early (like 6pm), I was mentally and physically ready for bed. We didnt know what was ahead (hill-wise) and if it was actually going to be worse, I wasnt ready to face it! So we camped behind a store on the beach (the girls working at the store let us) and slept like babies!