On March 8, I volunteered to help out at the BikeBrampton booth at the Toronto Bike Show which allowed me to get into the show for free. Patti came with me. We had a look around for a while and then gave David and Dayle a break and looked after the booth. We had a couple of interesting visitors.
Nisha, from the Canadian Mental Health Association, came by to tell us about a ride the CMHA was organizing called Ride Don’t Hide on June 21st in Caledon to raise money for local mental health programs and initiatives.
From a CMHA media release, “The Ride Don’t Hide movement began in 2010 with Michael Schratter, a Vancouver school teacher living with bipolar disorder, who spent almost a year and a half cycling 40,000 km around the globe. Armed with only his bike, a knapsack and the determination to realize his dream of raising awareness and empowering those who experience mental illness, his story inspired millions of people and raised $100,000 for CMHA.”
The second interesting visitor was Michael Merrall, the founder of Epic Tour Halton, the first Gran Fondo in the Toronto area. Michael has also started the BikeChallenge, a community bike challenge to encourage cycling, community and fundraising. It is in its third year in Halton Hills and Michael hopes to spread it across the country to 150 communities in 2017 for Canada’s 150th Birthday. I hope that BikeBrampton or Brampton’s new Cycling Advisory Committee can bring it to Brampton next year.
Bike the Creek was a great success with double the cyclists participating compared to 2014. Patti rode without me. She biked the creek to the start of the ride, from which she biked the creek , after which she biked the creek to get home for a total of 75km. Patti and I have been riding together since middle school, but until recently Patti didn’t do much riding on her own. She used to think I was crazy for jumping on my bike and heading off on my own for the day. However, I know that Patti, like me, has caught the cycling bug, because she is doing the same thing now.
To minimize my disappointment with missing Bike the Creek, I decided to cycle in Ride Don’t Hide. Patti didn’t feel up to two long rides in two days so I went on my own. Right up until 6am Sunday morning I was unsure whether or not I would go. The weather forecast was for all-day rain, and even though I rode in the rain for 50km a week earlier on the Tour de Grand I didn’t really want to set out in the rain on my own.
I set the alarm for 6am and when I looked out the window it was dry and the forecast had changed to overcast, but no rain, so I headed up to Inglewood. I arrived just after 7am and registered. It was $45 and included a nice technical t-shirt. They had me fill out a waiver and sent me off to pick up my t-shirt. It wasn’t until about half an hour later I realized they hadn’t asked me to pay and headed back to the registration table where they told me they had been looking for me. Good thing I’m honest.
The day was misty, but brightening as I waited for the 8am start time for the 100km ride. I had cycled 100km only once before – last fall in the Tour de Mississauga. I decided to try, but knew I could cut it short if need be. Pastries, coffee, water and bananas were provided at the beginning of the ride.
We finally lined up to set off just after 8:30. Here are the riders in front of me.
And the riders behind me. However, they didn’t stay behind me for long. There is a very steep hill just south of Old Base Line Road on McLaughlin which quickly separated out the stronger and weaker riders. I was one of the latter.
I chatted with a couple people as we rode south on McLaughlin, often sensing someone very close behind. It was windy and I tried to stay behind a couple for a while to draft but lost them after we turned west on King Street, however, there was still someone close behind me. I dropped back and we chatted for a bit. His name was Kamil, a recent accounting grad from Wilfred Laurier University. He had registered for the 50km route, but since he was ready early and the 100km route left late, he left at the same time. We decided to ride together, sometimes side by side, often with me in front. I must admit it stroked my ego to have someone half my age drafting behind me. He was a little stronger on the hills, but I was stronger over the long haul.
We climbed the Escarpment on Mississauga Road to Charleston Sideroad and then came back down past the Caledon Ski Club (briefly climbing back up) into Belfountain for our first rest stop where we were told we were at the back of the pack. After refilling our water bottles, grabbing a LaraBar and eating some orange I had brought along, we headed off.
I replaced my handlebars just before this ride. I purchased my bike second hand and the handlebars weren’t quite right, but Scott at Cyclepath, who did a bike fitting for me, suggested trying them for a while. The new bars were much better for my neck and shoulders, but strained my lower back for the first half of the ride. It improved on the second half. Oddly enough, my jaw was sore for the last half of the ride. I must have been clenching my teeth. I’ve never had that happen on a ride before.
Less than 10km after the first rest stop we passed very close to the starting point. The sun had come out strongly and Kamil needed more sunscreen. I didn’t need to stop, but we made a deal. We would stay together and he would share his sunscreen. It definitely help to have someone to talk to on a long ride for distraction from boredom and fatugue. So back to the arena to sunscreen, use the bathroom and grab a cookie. Why not? I was burning tonnes of calories.
The next stop was in Caledon East where we caught up with some of the other 100km riders. We set off along Old Church Road to The Gore Road and headed north climbing the Escarpment a second time. Up to that point the signage had been very good. Unfortunately, when we hit Highway 9 we realized we had gone about 7km too far, climbing more than we needed and going well out of our way. We decided to proceed along Highway 9, an 80kph road, to Mountainview Road to get back on track. We stopped at Tim Horton’s at Airport Road for lunch and to call in to say we would be back late.
I find that my appetite gets suppressed when I ride all day. I wasn’t really hungry, but ate a bowl of chili anyway, as I actually had to push my bike a couple hundred metres up a hill on Highway 9. Lunch revived me and off we went.
We descended the Escarpment on St. Andrew’s Sideroad, a twisty, exhilarating downhill ride, then headed straight back along Old Base Line to the start 9 (skipping part of the route going south on Kennedy). We rode a few kilometres further than we would have, had we stayed on the planned route and rode more than 200m extra in ascents due to inadvertently climbing the Escarpment a second time – something I couldn’t do even once in April.
As we pulled into the arena driveway, Nisha was pulling out in a large van, with a car following her that nearly hit me. Everything was packed up. We had missed the BBQ and ours’ were the only two cars left in the parking lot. Nisha jumped out, very apologetic about the near miss and that she hadn’t gotten the message that we were running late. She gave us water and we chatted for a bit assuring her that all was well. It was a great day for a ride.
As I turned off MapMyRide, I realized too late, that I was at 99.14 km. Had I realized sooner, I would have done a lap around the parking lot to get to 100km.
The CMHA Peel surpassed their funding goal and raised $35,000 for mental health. I hope to participate again next year.
- Length: 99.14 km
- Ascents: 855 m
- Riding Time: 4:37:12
- Elapsed Time: 6:05:56
- Average Speed: 21.5 kph
- Top Speed: 59.1 kph
Ride statistics (for Tour de Mississauga):
- Length: 101.89 km
- Ascents: 531 m
- Riding Time: 4:39:14
- Elapsed Time (approx): 5:45:00
- Average Speed: 21.9 kph
- Top Speed: 42.8 kph
I love numbers and I find it very motivating being able to use an app like MapMyRide to record my rides. I am pretty pleased with how these two rides compare as I had trained longer for the Mississauga ride given that it was in September.