Foggy Fall Thanksgiving Ride

I awoke just before 8am and the bedroom was still quite dark.  I peeked outside fearing that I would see rain, but the ground was dry, and the view foggy. Rani had planned a Thanksgiving day ride today, with a choice of meeting spots – Gage Park at 9am or Butter and Cup, in Caledon, at 10am.  The destination was Belfountain – about an 80km round trip for the first group or 50km for the latter.

Lina and I decided to drive to Butter and Cup together. She picked me up at 9:30 and when we pulled up in front of Butter and Cup people were already there fueling with caffeine. Just as we were about to set off, Dayle arrived to announce David was close behind. They had finished their cottage closing early.

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The route was straight north on Kennedy Road to the Caledon Rail Trail, west to Mississauga Road and north into Belfountain. The ride up Kennedy was amazing:  foggy, a small amount of drizzle – but only enough to wet glasses, not clothes – little traffic and a gentle tailwind. It felt like no effort at all for most of us.  It was a long ride for Lina and for Yvon – his longest since he was a teen – so Barry had us slow our exuberant pace a little to keep the group together.  Barry is an excellent sweeper. Ted left us at Old Base Line. Ted is 85 years old and easily rides 100km in a day and many thousands of kilometers a year.

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In what seemed like no time we were at the rail trail. The surface is hard packed with crushed stone and comfortable even for narrow road bike tires.

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There is a great view from the bridge over Highway 10.

 

 

 

Once on the trail it is generally very flat, and any change in elevation is difficult to detect, with a few exceptions.  One spot is the bridge over Highway 10.  Cyclists must take care here as part of the ascent and descent is large gravel, and only the part of the bridge over the road is paved. Another spot is where it crosses Old Base Line. Here the first part of the group awaits the rest of the group crossing Old Base Line.

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Crossing Boston Mills we saw the most amazing hedge.

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We left the trail at Mississauga Road, just opposite old brick kilns. The trail runs south from Highway 10 and we were heading northwest to Belfountain which means we travelled two sides of a triangle, but we were out to ride, see the colours and enjoy the company of our travelling companions, so it was not the distance, but the journey, that was important.

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If you look at the elevation profile above you can see where we left the trail and started climbing Mississauga Road.  It’s almost 200 metres of climbing.  Lina had to walk some of the hills, and Yvon walked one.  Lina has set a goal of riding up those hills in the future.

 

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Lina is still smiling when she catches up to the group at the top of this challenging climb.

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There is definitely still some time before we hit peak fall colours, but there were some very pretty trees, standing out in the foggy landscape.

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While Belfountain was busy, it wasn’t nearly as busy as it would have been on a warm, sunny Thanksgiving Monday. We had lunch at the General Store.  The food was delicious, but expensive.  My sandwich, latte and peanut butter square came to $24! I know businesses like these in small towns often struggle much of the year without tourists, but it still seemed like a lot. They did have bike parking, which I do appreciate.

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The return trip was a delight! My experience is that winds generally become stronger in the afternoon, so I was expecting a headwind to somewhat  temper our return, even though it was mostly downhill.  However, it was barely noticeable.

We flew downhill out of Belfountain, had a small climb just past the conservation area and then wound our way downhill on the Forks of the Credit Road.

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Shortly after this descent, Dayle got a piece of glass in her tire and had to change her tube.  It was her third flat in as many weeks and she will be getting new tires soon. Lina decided to take the opportunity to do some stretching.

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I couldn’t pass up this amazing scene and wished I had my full frame DSLR with me, but my cell phone was able to capture a pretty good version.

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Shortly before parting in Inglewood, Rani got an usie on the single lane bridge where McLaren Road crosses the Credit River. Everyone is still smiling.

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Rani, Yvon and Tracy went south on McLaughlin from Inglewood and the rest of us went back across the rail trail to Kennedy and to Butter and Cup.  Barry announced that we hadn’t sufficiently tired him and he was heading back north to ensure he got 100km in today.  David and Dayle headed to their nearby home and Lina and I loaded the bikes to return the rest of the way home by car.  We rode 54km.

Lina is still smiling, but is glad to be done.

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Happy Thanksgiving.  I can’t think of a better way to have spent it and I am thankful for all my wonderful Bike People.

 

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