Tour De Mississauga (#tourdemississauga)

What an awesome day I had today.  I have had the goal of riding the 100 kilometre route in the Tour de Mississauga today, since I rode the 60 kilometre route a year ago.  On July 1, I cycled 50 kilometres on my hybrid bike and was on track with my training programme.  However, as I increased my distance I was finding myself yearning for a road bike so on August 12 I bought a used one.  On August 14 at the end of my first ride with clipped in shoes on my new road bike I fell and bruised my tibia.  I ended up with a very swollen knee and huge hematoma.  I had to stop riding for days and then ride only short distances.  The swelling subsided somewhat, but I still have a hard, swollen lump under my knee today.

I have a confession to make.  I fell again last Tuesday.  That was fall number five.  I sure hope its the last.  I was very careful with the wet roads and paying attention to clipping out as I approached stops today and successfully rode the 100K without falling.  The bruise on my ankle from my fall last Tuesday became much more pronounced on the ride today.

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All week the weather forecast for today looked iffy.  It was looking quite bad last night and the Mississauga Cycle Advisory Committee (MCAC), the group that ran the ride, put out the following statement.

We know that many riders are concerned about the weather for Sunday’s Tour, and our organizing committee is actively monitoring the evolving forecast.  Here is our present statement as of 6:00 pm Saturday, and we will update again at 10:00 pm.

Like virtually all large organized rides, we have no Rain Date.  Our policy is that the Tour goes Rain or Shine.

Our current position is that all (5) rides should be able to START at their scheduled times on Sunday, and probably without rain.  As always, riders must exercise their own caution and judgement as to whether they ride, and whether they turn back at any point on a ride.  Riders should plan to carry some rain protection with them.  Reviewing your route map ahead of time is helpful should a quick return to the Square prove advisable, or if you need to take shelter at the nearest community centre or other destination (e.g. a plaza, coffee shop, etc).

The Free BBQ will proceed in any event and we have the use of the Great Hall (ground floor of City Hall) in which to gather and eat and view the exhibits.  The BBQ unit can be sheltered outside near the building.

In regard to our volunteer Tour Marshals out on the routes, they are prepared for rainy conditions.  Marshals can point out short back turns.  We will stay in communication with the Marshals, and all riders may wish follow the @BikeMississauga twitter feed for the latest updates or to provide information from their locations.

We will not begin a ride during a thundershower or storm, and may delay the start of a ride if the weather looks to be clearing up in the near term.  There will be safety messaging at the start of each ride, as the weather in evidence develops.  Further decisions will be made as necessary.

Two weeks ago a woman riding in the charity event Ride the Rideau was struck and killed by a garbage truck in the south end suburb of Manotick.  The weather might have been a factor.  It was raining heavily.  Given that tragic occurrence I thought the MCAC might cancel the ride.

Later they updated their page with this information.

11:30 update: The MCAC and City Staff will be meeting at Celebration Square at 5:30 am on Sunday morning as planned.  At this point the Tour is still moving ahead on the ‘Rain or Shine’ basis, pending further evidence of the thunderstorm risk as predicted for the morning hours.  We will provide later updates on our Twitter feed.

I set my alarm for 6am and went to sleep.  When I got up, there had been no rain overnight as predicted and it was warm and humid.  There was no update from MCAC so I proceeded as planned.  As I left the house at 7am it started to rain.  I almost didn’t leave, but I knew I would regret it if the weather improved.  As I drove down the 410 it began to pour.

There were over 3300 riders registered by the end of day yesterday with the following breakdown:

120k — 440
100k — 525
60k – 1000
30k – 870
15k — 550

The 120K riders were scheduled to leave at 7am and the 100K riders at 8 am.  When I arrived at 7:30 I was still unsure whether or not to ride.  Many cyclists were ready to go, but sheltering in the garage or under the roof by check-in.

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I parked under City Hall and left everything in the car.  As I began walking towards the stairs another rider called out to me that she was unsure about riding, what was I going to do?  We decided to walk up together and listen to the announcements.  MCAC had decided to delay the 120K riders until 8am, then send out the 120K and 100K riders together.  About 7:45 the rain tailed off to a light sprinkle.  Sandy (my new friend) and I decided to grab our stuff and ride.

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I got up to the starting area with enough time to take a selfie and we were off.

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Within a kilometre my socks were already soaked inside my shoes.  It started pouring again.  Within minutes I was completely soaked through.  I was a little nervous going down hills.  I rarely ride on wet roads and had never done so with such narrow tires as I have on my road bike.  I braked gently on the hills and took the corners carefully.  Sandy is a better rider than I and I soon fell behind.  Just over 100 riders left at 8am, only about a ninth of those registered, however, for most of the ride there was someone to ride near, to chat with or just to follow for help with navigation.

There were very few marshals out and the markings on the road were hard to see.  I had planned to stop every 20 kilometres to rest and eat.  However, I caught up with Sandy at about 17 kilometres into the ride and we started riding together.  I was getting more confident on the wet roads and feeling pretty good.  We didn’t end up taking a break until we had gone 35 kilometres.  I’ve never gone that far without a break before, but I felt good.  We picked the Tim’s in Port Credit and pulled in.  Turns out they don’t have any indoor tables.  It was still raining hard.

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I put my bike under an umbrella at a patio table and removed my trunk bag from my rack.  I had put the rain cover on, but the spray had got up under the cover and everything was wet – extra shirt, snacks, iPad and Blackberry.  I grabbed some napkins and dried things off as best I could.  I went to the bathroom, grabbed a coffee and headed outside to see blue sky!  The rain had stopped and there were small patches of blue.  Sandy didn’t want to stop for long.  Had I been on my own I probably would have headed to Second Cup or Starbucks and sat in a comfy chair for half an hour, but I was enjoying riding with Sandy, so after we took each other’s pictures, and I quickly finished my coffee and a hard boiled egg I had brought along, we were off.

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Shortly thereafter, the sun came out and eventually the roads dried up.  To my surprise we made it all the way to the rest stop at 60 kilometres before taking another break.  There was a very steep hill at the foot of Winston Churchhill, but it was manageable after my ride up the Escarpment last weekend.  I had drafted behind Sandy on Lakeshore and she drafted behind me on Winston Churchhill.

At the rest stop I wolfed down one of Megan’s homemade cinnamon rolls and re-filled my water bottle.  I did some stretches and we were off, again.

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At 80 kilometres I had to stop for another rest.  I told Sandy I would see her at the end, then laid down under a tree for ten minutes.

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In the end I rode 101.89 kilometres in 4:39 hours of riding time over 5:45 hours of elapsed time.  It only took me 15 minutes longer to ride the route today than it took me to ride 71 kilometres last Sunday.

There was an announcer waiting at the finish ride who asked me a few questions and then announced to the whole of Celebration Square that “Lisa has just completed the 100K ride, the longest ride of her life”.   He then took my picture in front of the finish line.

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I grabbed some lunch and found Sandy and my friend Elaine, who rode her bike across Canada last year, and who is on the MCAC.  We enjoyed lunch together in the warm sun before I headed home to sit in a cold bath for half and hour.

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Finally I collapsed on the couch with a coffee and TWO more cinnamon buns.  After all, its not that often that I burn 2572 calories in one day!

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About Lisa Stokes

I am a stay-at-home mother of four whose hobbies include photography, quilting and cycling. I have recently started to advocate for better cycling infrastructure in my community. I am the photographer at the Brampton Quilters' Guild.
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One Response to Tour De Mississauga (#tourdemississauga)

  1. Pingback: Cycling Goal Achieved | Lisa Stokes

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