No droughts here!

Dan’s annual family backcountry trip is becoming one of my favourite events of the summer. I haven’t been away from the house since the Beaverbrook camping trip earlier this summer and despite the rain in the forecast I was not willing to miss it. We had said that we would not go if there was a lot of rain, but how do you determine what “a lot of rain” means? My final deciding point was “If Dan is going, we are going”. We’ve had a drought all summer in Ottawa and I was looking forward to rain.

I got soaked through on my way back from work so the little evening drizzle we encountered once we reached the lake was pleasant. How I missed the grays and the dark greens of an overcast evening!

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We booked off a cluster of sites on Lac La Peche. The remaining camp clusters were so far away it felt like we were alone on the lake.

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Saturday had huge rainfalls in the morning and in the late afternoon. Our tarps held up quite nicely and as the weather was warm and the fire sustained through the downpour, the time passed pleasantly.

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The older kids pretty much entertained themselves, but the families with younger kids ended up calling it quits half way through Saturday.

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They could not leave before playing The Most Extreme Elimination Challenge

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Sitting in the middle of canoe and not paddling is called “princessing”.

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It was time for me to improve my steering skills. That is me doing a tack in the background.

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The kids were fishing like crazy.

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A really cool thing about tarps in rain is that they are a constant source of water. Markus went a bit too far…

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Sunday morning was absolutely gorgeous!

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We were sad to pack up, but it was time to get back to civilization.

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Getting ready to show off the paddling skills…

There was a bit of a worry that the rain would make us miserable. I found that it was not so much the rain itself that was the problem as it was warm and hence not actually unpleasant. The worst, for me, was worrying if it would get colder, or if the kids would get sick or if our clothes or equipment would start leaking. None of this happened and the worry was moot. The lovely company more than made up for any worries, but the best part was how happy and engaged the kids were.

Randonneuse

For about half a dozen years or so I have been planning to take up randonneuring. There are many sports I find fascinating, like water polo and biathlon, but I would not try them if you paid me. Randonneuring, I can do, nay, I want to do.

I had put a few local events on my calendar this spring without any particular intention and even as far back as three weeks ago, considered them outside of my abilities. However, I have ridden over 1500 km so far this year including four 100+ km rides (in bad and worse weather). On paper at least, I was prepared for a 200 km brevet.

At Britannia Park I knew I was in the right place when I saw a titanium Marinoni with an extra large Carradice saddle bag and fenders. Our group consisted of three bona-fide randonneurs and me. The club policy is for at least one randonneur to accompany newbs as long as they can keep a pace that will allow them to finish within the 13.5 hours time limit. Unfortunately for him, though fortunately for me, one of the guys had injured his knee earlier in the season and was significantly slower than me on the hills. Though there was no way I could keep up with them on downhill or even flats, I was able to stay ahead on the hills. On a different course, this might have not made enough difference for me to keep up, but the route we had taken had 3500 m of climbing which meant that I did not have to put in more effort than I was comfortable with to keep pace and I was almost never the last.

We reconvened every so often at depanneurs, gas stations, pretty beaches or bakeries. The conversation was sparse but interesting. All of my companions had a few Paris-Brest-Parises under their belts and had been randonneuring for a while being some decades older than me. We tended to stick together on busier roads but spread out in the quiet countryside. One of the guys mentioned that randonneurs like solitude and as I zipped though the country road behind Mont Cascades I was glad to be able to gasp at the pretty scenery and sing through the rolling hills without an audience.

We rolled over the finish line within five minutes of each other, a few minutes short of 13 hours running time. I really enjoyed this brevet. I enjoyed the calm and determination that I did not experience to such an extent when I was doing Ottawa Bicycle Club rides a few years ago. I like that there exists an organised sport which I can actually enjoy. Whether I keep doing these events remains to be seen. I don’t see myself doing much beyond 200km rides and it is questionable whether I can keep depending on other randonneur’s injuries to keep me in the running.

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This is the only picture I took. I was hoping to take a picture of my brevet card but the team lead spirited it away before I got my phone out. As I was not dealing with the Twitter generation, I did not feel it appropriate to protest. Yes, my max speed topped at 65.5 km/h. Weeeee!

The next day I got to do another first. I was not up to biking so I got to sit on the back of my cargo bike for the first (and probably last) time ever.

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My legs are still kind of sore a week and a half later. It is a good sore though.

Montreal c’est toi ma ville

After agreeing to accompany Chris to Montreal for the weekend I was perplexed about what to do with kids in this place. We had some kid friendly plans but it all came to a naught. It took kids s whole hour and half to go through Biodome. The Science centre and most of the Old Port were on strike and the Redpath Museum was open any day other than the day we were there. So we did what one always does in Montreal. Walked forever, bought treats and revelled in the odd.

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Why not on Ontario Street

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Traffic gets refreshed on Sherbrooke

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Visiting La Fontaine Park by rail

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Upside down at La Fontaine

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Duluth

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Not another shoe store!

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I desperately need this artisan leather wallet to keep my one bill and the library card

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Coupe Bizarre moved a few blocks further north. This is what is in their St Laurent location now

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No comment

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Lemonade on St Laurent

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Getting around

Film: Love and Friendship (sp)

After some thought I decided to put password on the kids blog but not mine. In their age of literacy, or near literacy, I want to be able to write cute stories without worrying if I am embarrassing them. As I only tangentially talk about my family here, there is little need to password it.

After three years of training, I have participated in the Rideau Lakes Tour. This is one of those quintessential Ottawa things. Instead of boring you about it, I’ll let the T-shirt convey the salient details:

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Despite the head wind that some will tell you went up to 40km/h, this turned out to be a great girls’ weekend getaway. We kept a nice pace, had the best bike snacks I have ever imagined, got comfortable with clippy shoes and, for the first time ever, biked 200km in just 30 hours.

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Perth

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Kingston

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Perth

I am still putting my thoughts together about the weekend. More than anything it was fun. Though we never passed anyone that was not stopped and had the support van “chase” us from Narrows Lock to the finish, neither of us had done this kind mileage before which made our success sweet. Luisa pushed her bike to the limit and then a bit further. Though her derailleur was trashed before the last 20 kilometres were out, it was somewhat gratifying to know that we can complete the route as the support cars with bikes of people who had abandoned the ride passed by. It was fun to bomb down the hills we had climbed the day before. What a great weekend!

CHEO Ride 2016

WARNING: As of next month I will put password on the blog. The password will be the name you get from first letters in our kids names.

The weather forecast was a bit iffy so we were not sure if we were doing the CHEO ride this year until the last minute. As you can see, we did end up at the event.

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Because the adults were outnumbered, we did the 15km ride that took us along the river and back.

The weather started out fine enough, but drizzle caught us half way through and combined with cold made it a bit hard for the little bike ornaments that were not pedalling.

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Don’t worry, they cheered up as soon as food arrived.

At the way back we got to enjoy the benefits of the minivan – out whole family including bikes still fits!

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Final thoughts from the boys:

T: If it was a nice day I would have done 40km.
O: If it was a hot day I would do 70!
M: If it was a really hot day I would wear shorts!!!