Sunday Morning Luggage dropoff
Morning dawns.... with rain. Aaghh! The forecast said 'sunny with cloudy periods'. This is just awful. I think a number of positive things to myself: it's probably raining here near the lake, but inland it will be better - the northern sky looks lighter - it looks like it is tapering off.... but in any case there is nothing that can be done about it so we raise ourselves out of bed at 5am and over to the breakfast (also served in the dining hall) at 5:30am.
After stuffing ourselves pretty well with scrambled eggs and french toast, we head back to check out, aiming to leave at 7am. While everything is still wet, it has stopped raining - and the forecast still looks good. So, with fingers crossed, we drop off our luggage, set up the bikes, and set off at about 7:25 am. My knee (and now heel) pain comes and goes. Sometimes it is sharp and painful, sometimes it is just a dull ache, and sometime is goes away completely. But in general it affects my ability to cycle and so I find the going somewhat hard. I just pray that this won't be a long lasting condition and that it won't affect my plans to do hiking and climbing during the rest of the summer.
Ready to roll
The weather, however, takes a turn for the better. As soon as we get out of Kingston, the clouds break, and we cycle into a beautiful clear sunny June morning. We are not yet formed into a draft group - the cyclists we were grouped with yesterday have given us the cold shoulder today. But eventually we meet up with some friendly folk, Julio(sp?) and Ken, who seem happy with our speed and group dynamic and join us. So again we manage to move along in a pretty efficient 6-pack. Along the way we periodically pick up and drop additional members to our group. And I'm becoming pretty good at all of the fancy group bike signalling protocol - road irregularity ahead, passing upcoming cyclist, signal to rotate, car ahead, change pace, car back, etc etc...
Westport - before the hill
Meanwhile, Markus has gradually come to hate his seat - a fact made all the more annoying to him due to the fact that everybody else around him is stating that the type of seat he has bought is quite comfortable.
The time gradually ticks by, as do the various stops, this time in reverse order - Perth Road at about 30 km, Westport at about 70 km, and finally Lunchtime in Perth at about 100 km. Its getting hard for me, 280 km is hard enough, but the pain from my various joint problems is, well, quite a pain. Still, I'm having fun, and the weather is great, and our ride is going quite well. Even though we have an unfavourable headwind, we manage to keep an average speed in the low to mid 20km/hr range.
After a nice long break at Perth, with lots and lots of hydration, we set out on the final two legs (Perth->Ashton, and Ashton->Ottawa). I find this is the point where the ride becomes a test of endurance - a long 77km slog all the way back to Ottawa. At this point you've already cycled a tremendous distance, and there is still a long way to go. Couple that with the wind and the soreness, and it just becomes a matter of putting one's head down and doggedly doing it. So that's what we did, and at around 4:40pm we roll into the Carleton University campus in Ottawa. We've all made it, and in pretty good time. Our two friends Julio and Ken have been great cycling companions (thanks guys) and I am happy and relieved to be finished. Also of special note is that Johanna has managed to do this ride with a minimum of prep (very few kilometres under her belt before the ride) and has done the ride on a Mountain Bike! Many kudos to her, for sure!
Official OBC Photographer
Thanks to all (Markus, Lorraine, Johanna, Julio and Ken) for a great ride, and thanks to the OBC and partners (OPP, amateur radio group, and others) for staging the event. We all had a great time.
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