Two days in and the weekend has been pretty good so far.
For Monday, I’ve just added a second route options to the ride, so there’s the big 175 km loop, but also a shorter 105 km loop that shares the first 45 km. We’ll ride out together, and can then split at the 45 km mark.
Saturday was a fast ride. The plan was to try and do a similar effort to the Eager Beaver race next Saturday. We had a group of 6 at the start, and things kicked off nicely.
The climb up Langdon Drive really got things going. Once the road smoothed out, we got some paceline practice going. Ha, it’s really not that common on gravel rides for us to do this, so it was nice to try it out, and it may come in handy on race day.
The route included lots of rolling terrain, like Bant-Waterloo Line and W Dumfries road. We also tackled the steep and loose climb up West River Road, we got to go up it, loop around and then do the descent.
After that, we crossed the Grand and found ourselves on roads we don’t use very much. As we went along McLean school road, we though “Isn’t this familiar” and yeah, it’s part of the P2A course. I’ve made a mental note to try more routes on the other side of the grand and explore a bit more. There’s some nice gravel rods on the east side too.
Here’s a great shot on Kitchen School road. A nice and quiet winding gravel road.
The nice thing with going fast is that in no time at all, we found ourselves in Paris, and that meant a great stop at the Paris Bakery. (side note, they also have great, freshly made sandwiches)
After lunch in the shade of a big solar panel it was time to finish off. Dan decided to take the direct way, enjoying the Cambridge to Paris rail trial to come home. The 5 of us continued on the route, which included a nasty climb on the way out of paris, and then more rolling terrain.
The goal was to not have to walk the steep and sandy hill in the Barker’s Bush area of Paris, but alas, just like last year when a group of us did a similar route, the lose, sandy, rocky hill was not rideable by any of us.
2019 ride, which looked a lot like this year’s ride:
Maybe I’ll come back with my mountain bike or fatbike some time…
The rest of the ride home we took a slightly easier pace - still a good effort, but not full gas like the first half of the ride. Disaster nearly struck, as Chris had been watching a small bulge on his front tire through the day. By late afternoon, it was bulging dramatically, and looked to pop any moment. Erring on the side of caution, he put a tube in the tire to try and even out the load, and he headed straight for home. The good news is he managed to get home just fine, and even was able to stop for ice cream.
Today the weather was looking threatening, but I though I’d still give it a shot. The planned route was 31 km, so I was hoping we could ride and get back before any rain. Figuring on rain, I opted for my singlespeed bike, and I even decided to drive to the start
I got to the SJAM parking lot, and surprisingly, Chris was already there. then a few moments later Tom showed up, and then siblings Sing and Ching also showed up. So surprisingly, we had 4 out of 6 who signed up all ready to go despite the rain.
Because of the rain however, we nixed the planned route and instead went and played bikes in Columbia Woods. The canopy of the trees provided some shelter from the rain. The slightly muddy trails gave us a good opportunity to work on our bike handling skills.