Tuesday, August 31, 2010

an early morning ride

the summer has been filled with gorgeous day after gorgeous day.
some maybe too hot
but i remember last summer when almost every day was punctuated by rain -
which for me is not a problem at all - but for me as a cyclist,
well it's not my fave way to spend time outdoors.
so i'm really enjoying the chance to step out the door at any time and
know that i can go as far and wherever i wish.

this was a special ride as i got to share it with pro rider chloe black and
africycle bike buddy ben tyne.

ben's usually slinging americano's and yummy sandwiches at the silver bean
but this was a day off for him, and so he and chloe and i met up at the silver bean at 8 a.m.
chloe splits her time between racing, coaching, and training in arizona
and doing much the same up here in peterborough.

heading north through peterborough along the rail trail, we passed bushes
loaded up with shiny, little red berries.

some sumac thinking early autumn sumac thoughts.

and big summer clouds massing but not threatening. right?!

then we turned through trent university, exiting through the northwest driveway and
off into the fields and long open roads that lead to ennismore.

look up.

look down.
it's beautiful wherever you look.
eventually you round a corner, crest a hill and there before you
are tantalizing little glimpses of chemong lake.

but on this ride, this is about as close as you get. unless you decide
to not apply your brakes and turn the corner at the bottom of the hill!

from this point the ride between ennismore and lakefield becomes circuitous and you need to be with someone who has a very good memory or a strong visual sense for landmarks.

i navigate using landmarks which occasionally fails me as i reach the landmark and then can't see the next pointer. the result? well i ride further. no big loss!

here are ben and chloe.

a rare moment when chloe slows down.

sorry about the industrial backdrop!
believe it or not, on the entire ride there is only one scene like this.
the rest is bucolic, idyllic, rustic!

we rode back down river road from lakefield to peterborough at a good clip
and then into the silver bean for an americano.

lucky me to get to do what i love with such good people!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

the road to young's point

the ride out to young's point is a beautiful addition to the ride to lakefield.
with a little detour west through the town you end up on the outskirts of lakefield.
take the first right turn and you're off on a wide country road that takes you past all sorts of lovely sights including these buildings that caught my eye.

on this particular ride a large red fox crossed the road about thirty feet in front of me.
i wanted to say hello but he moved as smooth as water into the trees to the right
and was completely gone within a moment.

i love the fields, trees and big skies the most!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

ride for africycle day ten (part two)

uxbridge to peterborough
100 km (part two)

after riding through the countryside south of lindsay we hooked up with

i've used this trail many times before, most especially to bike out to omemee
to pick up some of the most very best buttertarts in this universe at ruby's roost.
the coffee there is excellent and the owners are fun and lovely.

so we got on the trail and the feeling of being almost home was palpable for some of us.
some of the riders still had a long way to go -
airplane flights and car drives were still between them and home.

the trail is made of well-packed very fine gravel and makes for excellent riding
if you watch out for the odd soft spot or wash-out.

eventually we found ourselves crossing a completely rebuilt rail trestle that has the most incredible views.

first some posing.

and then some admiring of the view.

and what a view it is!

and then in what seemed like a matter of minutes we were making our way through the streets of downtown peterborough and on our way (well i was definitely on my way) to an americano at the silver bean.

it was so strange to sit in the bean with some of the africycle riders.
the context of connection was so different.
people wandered in and congratulated us which was nice.
but it seemed sort of anti-climactic to be sitting down - the ride at an end.

it was a journey that felt like it should have no end.

in some ways it doesn't.
the work we did raised money for a project that will have lasting and meaningful effects.
friendships were forged on the ride that will also have lasting and meaningful effects.

a few of us left the bean and wandered through an area that was celebrating the annual ribfest event.
to our great fortune we ran into a guy from the steam whistle brewery down in toronto who wanted to know what we were about and when we told him he gave us free beers in fact he said we could have as many as we wanted but with some of us still needing to ride on our bikes to get home we were careful. too bad actually it was really good, cold beer.

my ride through downtown peterborough and out to the west end where i live was hilarious and bizarre. i had two near traffic accidents - both my fault - and both because i was feeling that post major achievement euphoria that just rushes through you.

happily i made it home and my family were happy to see me.

after everything and everyone had settled down i dumped out my clothes.
the smell was so bad!
so really really bad!
rotten swamp. decay. mold.
those would describe the stench.
the picture doesn't tell the story but here's my stuff dumped and waiting to go in the washer.

some of it still smells funky after several washes.
scratch your screen for a scratch and sniff sensation - or not!

here's the google map for the stretch from uxbridge to peterborough.
it doesn't include the extra 10 km i rode in order to get home!

i hope you enjoyed this ride with me.
i've committed to next year's ride already.
somebody said to me "i guess it's like having babies, you forget the pain pretty quickly!"
i guess that must be true.

come back to my cycles blog for more rides - they'll be shorter that's for sure.

for further information about the ride for africycle you should go to the africycle main page

Monday, August 23, 2010

ride for africycle day ten (part one)

uxbridge to peterborough
100 km (part one)

waking in a park in the middle of a small town.
no one around.
i stumbled over to the washrooms.
perhaps one too many beers last night i dunno.
it was a good time and i know my body enough to know that once i'm on the bike it'll all wake up and my mind will clear and the day will unfold as it should.
but that first half hour of stumbling back to my tent and lying down and realizing that i had slept with my feet higher than my head because the tent was on a slope.
that i had slept awkwardly because the "pillow" i had made had lumpy stuff in it that was sort of damp.
oh boy - you're how old !!!
one ibuprofen, some coffee, granola, and juice. then i put back a pile of water
and i started the head-clearing process.

it seems that i missed a bit of a meeting somewhere along the line and when the morning ride headed out i was a little behind everyone else so i was headed out of town until my buddy john paul chased me down and told me that we were meeting at africycle world headquarters
on the outskirts of uxbridge - a place that i had passed a couple of kms back.

if you'd like to drop by and have a look at the africycle place for yourself then here's the google map!

here's a blurry pic of john paul in part of their showroom.

it was a strange ride.
i was preoccupied with getting home, seeing my family, seeing the world cup final, having cold beer.
well you name it.
i was preoccupied with it!

the ride between uxbridge and peterborough is really pretty.

it took some fancy navigating, some riding alongside cars travelling at a good clip,
and an eye for the rural beauty we were passing through.

sometimes you just keep an eye on your shadow.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

ride for africycle day nine (part two)

bronte creek provincial park, oakville to uxbridge
110 km (part two)

after lunch we headed out with the uxbridge bike club boys to a rendezvous somewhere in the middle of nowhere at which point we were to meet up with a group who had done a shorter "out-and-back" from uxbridge. you see, there were a whole series of fundraising rides attached to this day that left from uxbridge. you could choose a 100 km round-trip like the boys accompanying us did, a fifty km round trip like the crew we were to meet up with in the middle of nowhere did, or some shorter ones.

the group spread out as the hills and the heat took their toll.

i find that the real challenge with rolling countryside is that it's hard to set up a good pace, you grind up the side of a hill, race down the other side, do some flat stuff at a good clip and then slow down to nothing up the side of another hill and so on.

on a hot day those races down the other side are like the best gift, so no big complaints here!

when we arrived in uxbridge we had accumulated a fair number of riders and so we made our way to the park in the centre of town where we were going to be spending the evening.

surprisingly and amazingly an event had been planned that included live bands and barbequed food and the most wickedly good smoothies made right there with all sorts of fresh fruit! it was almost surreal. many of the riders had arranged to meet girlfriends or mums and dads or even children
so there was lots of hugging and congratulations.

it seemed strange to be with so many people and so we went off and set up our tents and we were part way through that when we heard that the local swimming pool was willing to let us use their showers if we could get up there, showered and outta there in half an hour.

the team grabbed towels changes of clothes and soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste etc. and biked quickly through the edge of town over to the big community swimming pool building. good showers. then biked back to be welcomed by the most vicious and bloodthirsty swarms of mosquitoes i've encountered in years outside of algonquin park. man they were hungry! i actually decided to use some deet based product even though i know that stuff'll shut your kidneys down as quickly as it'll scare off the bugs. it was worth it because it allowed me to join in a cut-throat game of monopoly!!!

cut-throat and monopoly would not normally be seen in the same sentence
but you have to see how some of these people play!!

lying in my tent i felt both happy and sad to be going home and ending my trip tomorrow.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

ride for africycle day nine (part one)

bronte creek provincial park, oakville to uxbridge
110 km (part one)

the morning broke relatively cool and sunny.

a fragile time in the lives of many people.
how to get fourteen people to take care of that most critical and vulnerable phase of the day?

it was a miracle that took place each and every day of the ride.
a miracle that most miraculously always included coffee.
a few of the more truthful and inwardly confident riders admitted that this had been one of their main pre-ride anxieties. not the weather, the distance, the people. nope, would there be coffee!

here's michael carefully assembling the food to break his fast.

after observing that michael the hungry beast has moved on,
john paul steps over and assembles his morning meal.

here's part of the team huffing back their breakfast in the cozy confines of their camp chairs
under a gorgeous beginning of the day sky.
the raccoon that had showed up last night was still at work and reappeared to the left of the
orange bike just moments after i took this picture.

somehow, miraculously, everyday this and so much else was achieved.
like most things, this was a team effort. somehow people got things done. food bins were brought out. dishes and cutlery appeared, and eventually when the frenzy was over, snacks for the ride appeared, and then the whole was tidied up and put away. different people chipped in each day to help make this, and everything else happen.

you know this is how things should be in all parts of our lives,
but to actually be a part of something like that - well it's special!

a member of the oakville rotary club arrived at our campsite to escort us safely and quickly out of oakville and through the circuitous route that gets us north of toronto.
i'm sorry i can't tell you his name but he really was a super nice guy and a strong cyclist!
i'm pretty sure that he is a member of the oakville cycling club so here's the link to their page.

the route he took us on was safe and gorgeous, and while longer than what we had planned
it was definitely the better route.

we travelled through beautiful countryside and eventually met up with the rolling hills that characterize much of the land that sits north of the toronto conurbation.

speaking of good people.
here's an over-the-shoulder shot of bike buddy jolianne.
jolianne is one of those very quiet people who do amazing things.
jolianne completed the tour d'afrique.
never heard of it?
well, it's a 12,000 km ride from cairo to capetown.
no typo - 12,000 kilometres.
think about that.
almost 12 times what we were cycling!!!

if you're interested in the incredible details of the tour d'afrique
then you need to nip over here and have a look and learn about this gruelling and incredible journey!

our rotary guide left us at belfountain to heaps of gratitude from the team.
on we went through the hills and valleys.

bike buddy ben and i spent quite a bit of this day up front
racing along at a good clip and gabbing.

here's a shot of ben at speed going uphill.

with nice open roads, beautiful scenery, and the prospect of
a special lunch and a special dinner at the end of the day, speed was easy to find!

lunch was sent out to the park we stopped in.
i'm pretty sure that it was provided by the rotary club
and consisted of subs and cookies. wow!
then some of the boys from the uxbridge cycling club arrived to guide us the last fifty km or so into uxbridge.

these were really nice guys who at first took us out at a slower pace than we were used to.
not to worry, eventually the pace picked up and so did the hills!
long rolling hills and some of the heat - dry heat, but heat all the same - returned
and the combination made for some hard cycling.
going down the other side of the hills - well there was lots of yelling and high speed!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

ride for africycle day eight (part three)

niagara falls, ontario to bronte creek provincial park, oakville
120 km (part three)

a big part of cycling for me is that it brings me closer to the world i live in.
this in turn allows me to more fully appreciate the big and the small of what and who i share this space with.

the evening at bronte creek was especially beautiful.
clouds filled the sky and melded with all sorts of light to create some amazing scenes.

here is some of what we saw.

here's the google map for getting from niagara falls to bronte creek.
you'll notice that it begins in the united states.
that's because (if you recall) we changed our plans a day or so ago
and made our way into canada a day early.