Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Rideau Lakes Renegade Ride

Steve, Matt and I rode the 'renegade' version of the Rideau Lakes Cycling Tour on the weekend--starting at Jamie's cottage on Bob's Lake, and making our way to Kingston with a bit of a detour for good measure.

Matt and I left Perth on Friday night at about 8:15. Despite being sick, I was feeling pretty good, and in a good mood for a weekend of riding. Matt made a comment about how it was going to be a good weekend, and my response was "It's always a good weekend when you have a car full of bikes and beer!" We arrived at Jamie's cottage after an hour drive, and Steve and Jamie made us feel at home. The evening was spent chatting (mostly about bikes, but other topics came up as well...) and having a couple of beers. We crashed fairly early in order to be in prime shape for the ride.

In the morning, Steve cooked up some bacon and scrambled eggs, and we ate well. We decided to ride out from the cottage on the gravel road instead of driving out, thus adding about 15kms to each end of our ride. After eating and cleaning up a bit, we went out to get bikes ready to roll. We were on the road for 7:40 or so if I remember correctly. The first pedal stroke Matt took sounded like his chain was going to break--off to a good start! Luckily, it didn't break, and no damage was done. Jamie set a fast pace off the mark and we struggled to keep up on the gravel roads while trying to wake up a bit. The gravel section went by quickly, with Jamie powering up the hills in front of us to keep us motivated. At Crow Lake Road, Jamie continued straight through--he had a TT in the evening, and a road race the next day in Milford, so he wasn't joining us on the remainder of the ride. We said goodbye, and headed down Crow Lake Road for Bolingbroke. We had a great tailwind, and made excellent time. We rode three abreast and had no cars come up behind us for almost the entire road--fantastic! From Bolingbroke, we headed to Maberly, then Elphin, McDonald's Corners, Playfairville, Fallbrook and Glen Tay before heading into Perth for the first rest stop. At Glen Tay we began to see riders heading out Christie Lake Road towards Westport--the first riders we'd seen all day.

As we got into Perth, there were riders all over, eventually all converging on Last Duel Park, where the rest stop was set up. We filled up on water and sandwiches, and had a bit of a rest in the shade. It was hotter than hot by this point, and we were all coated in salt that had crystallized on our skin after the sweat evaporated. We left Perth via Christie Lake Road, this time riding in the same direction as the rest of the riders, and tagged onto a group going fairly fast about 10kms out. We rode with them until the end of Christie Lake Road. By this point, Steve was getting some bad muscle cramps that locked up his legs, so we dropped off the group to take the first big climb. It was a tough one, and Steve was pretty sore at the end of it--we figured it was an electrolyte problem due to the heat, since he's never had cramping like that before. He ate a banana and drank more water to try to help it. We made our way into Westport, and flew down the hill into town.

At the Westport rest station, we again filled up on water, Powerade, chips (to replenish salt) and I also had a Coffee Crisp. We chatted with some riders from Ottawa who'd heard good things about Sport X, and we invited them down to ride with us on Monday nights. When we felt fairly rested, we hit the road again. With the wind in our face, we worked our way towards Kingston, occasionally joining in with a group if they were going a decent speed. We stopped again at the final rest stop along the way for some more water, but not for too long. The trip from there to Kingston was fairly uneventful, and we rolled into Queen's campus where Caroline was waiting for us (having ridden from Merrickville). The SportXiest Group in the Rideau Lakes Tour all converged in a shady spot in the sun for a beer and a rest (see photo below).

After hauling ourselves upright, we set off to pick up our bags and to get cleaned up before meeting again for dinner. Matt and I made our way to the Alexander Henry, which was to be our home for the night. We checked in, stored the bikes away in the galley, and had a cool shower to wash off the sweat and salt. We did a quick tour around the boat before heading off to the Radisson to meet the others. I almost fell asleep in the comfy leather chair in the lobby, but soon Steve, Caroline, Fernando, Brian, Chris, Marg, Rick, Jenny and Dave showed up and we set off to Frankie Pestos for some excellent pasta (penne with hot italian sausage) and some Stella. It was exactly what I needed!

After dinner, we did a short tour around town, but didn't really get much further than the White Mountain IceCream shop, where we stopped for a bit of dessert. I had a blueberry frozen yogurt in a waffle cone--tasty :) After that, we all headed back to the ship for a quick tour of the sites, and then went to bed!

Morning brought sun and more hot weather, although the humidity was not quite as brutal as the day before. After having breakfast on the ship (cereal, muffins, cinnamon buns, yogurt) Matt and I took a walk down town to see if we could find some fruit at the market, but had no luck. We also stopped at a convenience store to top up on Gatorade and chocolate milk. As we arrived back at the ship, the fire alarm was going off and all the guests were evacuating--turns out someone had burned their toast. After the fire department came (2 trucks!) and the alarm was reset, we boarded the ship, changed into bike gear, and checked out. We rode back to the Radisson to drop off our bags and meet up with Steve for our ride back to the cottage. We were late in leaving, and heading out of town tagged on with a rider who turned out to be an organizer of the tour--he was riding 'sweep' and thought he was the last rider on the route. We rode with him until Westport, and had a decent pace going the whole time. It took me about 20 mins to wake up, but after that I was fine and feeling strong again. At Westport we stopped for more water and a Clif Bar before heading off once again to Bolingbroke. Of course, leaving Westport requires the climb of the day, which was painful but fun. We picked off groups of riders from the top of the hill to Christie Lake Road, where the official route turned ours parted ways. We continued to Crow Lake Road, which we turned on to into a headwind. It was a bit of a grind for the 15kms to the highway--the hills keep coming one after the other, and each one seems to get bigger and bigger. Add in the headwind, and the mounting fatigue from the many miles from the day before and it was a tough ride! Matt and I commented that it would be a nasty 15km TT course! I'd like to see what kind of times could be posted on that course! Yikes!

When we hit highway 38, I hit a bit of a 'zen' state on the smooth pavement. My breathing was almost effortless, and we upped the pace considerably despite the constant uphill grade of the road. The gravel road to the cottage came soon, and we turned off the pavement onto the gravel for our 15kms of 'cross riding. Unfortunately (someone had to do it!) I flatted with about 2 kms to go! It took way too long to change the tube--I was tired, sweaty and apparently not thinking very clearly. Thanks for Steve and Matt for helping out :) I got about 50lbs of air in the tire with the mini pump, and rode the rest of the way back to the cottage very carefully. On the last downhill before the cottage, Matt dropped his sunglasses. He slowed down to turn back, but Steve picked them up. However, Matt's slowing meant he lost all momentum he had, and on the next steep hill he spun out on the loose gravel and fell down--it was pretty funny because it was within 20meteres of the cottage! :) We had a good laugh as we rolled to the end of the ride!

After stashing bikes in the cars, we had some chips and salsa while sitting on the dock with our feet in the water. We decided it'd be nice to go for a swim, so Steve and I jumped in. When Matt jumped, he forgot to take his sunglasses off, so they ended up on the bottom of the lake. The weedy bottom made it impossible to find them. After our swim, we BBQ'd some sausages and had a good meal. After packing up, we said goodbye to Steve, and headed back to Perth.

Phew! That was long... the quick recap: 297kms, 2 days, 1 flat tire, 1 slow-motion fall down, 1 fire alarm, several beers, untold liters of water, two wheels and one hell of a good time! Same time, same place next year lads!

No comments: