I am declaring 2015 a good year for sporty biking.
Getting better at this
Chris and I talk about biking for hundreds of kilometres at a time, but but we do only as much as we can given our fitness and opportunity to get out and ride. Last year I completed my first 100km ride; this year I did three 100km events. I can’t really get out there and do longer stretches, but I have been able to ride the 100km with increased ease and comfort.
Nobody is going to notice I am not on a road bike…
The first of these events I did by myself, or really with a bunch of strangers. I would classify the experience as a pretty good disaster. It was billed as a friendly women’s only ride with groups delineated by their speed. I lined up with the 20-25km/h group and mentioned that I should be just peachy at that speed though I might fall out starting from stops or at longer hills due to heavier bike. The group consisted of the leader, two women in their late fifties who kept to themselves looked like they biked across the continent once or twice and another woman in roughly my shape that had just returned from cycling holiday in Majorca. Easy peasy.
Here is a good illustration of the ride:
The first twenty kilometres is just me riding to the event, I was on the paths so I kept to the speed limit (yes, I am that geeky). The next twenty kilometres were fine, all chit-chat and flat roads back to Kanata. At this point we were joined by a guy and a woman who (as I found out the following week) was familiar to my road racing friend. I am going to make an educated guess that they did the Grand Fondo the day before and were looking for an easy ride. I kept up for another twenty kilometres while the pace slowly increased and I kept falling off the back of the peloton and having to rush to catch up more and more. For goodness sake, I signed up for 25km/h max and we were going 28km/h up a hill. I bonked around kilometre 65 .
Now, I never thought that I would be inconvenienced by “we don’t drop anyone” policy or the existence of the broom car, but I was. The leader stayed with me and tried to coach me to catch up to the group – yah right, we were on the Galetta “And Up And Down” Side Road – I am not catching up to anyone, lady. And while the broom car was nice to have it was at the same time embarrassing. We made it to Fitzroy snack break (and caught up to everyone) at which point I told them that Chris was coming to get me and to head out without me. I waved them go and as soon as they were out of sight, headed home on my own terms.
– Despite the drama, at the end of the day I rode about 110km without too much discomfort
– I am not a roadie – don’t mix with roadies
– Don’t do group rides unless you are riding with friends you know are going to ride at your pace, and not just say they will
– I can ride 28km/h uphill – whoa!
Ready to roll
MEC ride was everything opposite of Ralpha. Chris and I started at the lovely Carp Fairgrounds and Luisa joined us in Appleton for the second 50km.
The weather was nice, the route easy, many other riders were at the same or slower pace than us so it was never just us on the road (though it was not crowded either). We even had enough energy to bike back to Kanata after the lovely dinner.
At the finish line
– Long bike rides are great, long bike rides with friends are AMAZING!!!
– When doing an organized ride, stick with the route they’ve chosen. Prior to the day I had seriously considered returning by a different path. Indeed, Stitsville and Huntmar were blah (though not trafficy as I expected), but if we had avoided them we would have missed much of the pretty countryside.
The day of the Perth Cyclosportif was a beautiful day, I did not even bother bringing my jacket, but I was working harder than usual to move the bike. I had come to expect this in the fall. The route took us through pretty cottage country with a bigger share of hills than we are used to. In retrospect, I am glad I did not look at the ride profile because I would have expected the last 20km to be easy-peasy downslope, yet this is where the head-wind hit us and Luisa and I had to switch the lead every few minutes to give us a break.
Even though this was the most difficult 100km I did this year it was also my favourite. Luisa and I were pleased that we were able to do 100km a whole hour faster than last year, even with more climbing and later on in the season. I don’t even think there were any new lessons learned except that while I am now unquestionably able to complete a 100km event, it can still give me a good run for my money.
At the rest point in Westport
Grandparents have been especially kind this year in babysitting department and I was not only able to get out and do these three events, but also a number of shorter coffee runs with friends. The outings with kids, though shorter and slower, aren’t anything to sneeze at either as Owen and Markus are getting heavy. Hauling them up the hill to the Wesley Clover Forest School off of Corkstown twice this weekend was a fun challenge.
Trip to Quitters in Stitsville earlier this summer
To close up this great season, Chris and I will, for the first time, attempt the coffeeneuring challenge. You can follow Chris’ twitter feed to check out all the great coffee places you can bike out to from Kanata.
As for next year, I would like to do the MEC Century and Perth Cyclosportif again. I would also like to attempt a longer distance, but in what form this will happen, I don’t know yet. We have been tossing around the idea of the Rideau Lakes Tour for a couple of years now, but even though I am fairly certain I can complete it now, I am not so sure I could do it without being completely miserable. In a couple of years it should be a no-brainer, right?