Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour 2008

Heading out on the old reliable Fuji bike "It was like riding into the blast from a hairdryer" someone was heard to say. The high temperature was about 31 degrees Celsius on Saturday and a vigorous headwind (20-30km/h) was blowing into our faces on the whole ride. You know it's just a headwind messing with your mind, but more than one person was expressing the sentiment that maybe they weren't in good enough shape or getting too old and maybe they won't be doing this again next year. The conditions spaced out the arrivals to such an extent that there weren't any cafeteria lineups at all during dinner.

It still wasn't anywhere near as tough as three years ago.

As often happens, the second day was much better. The wind blew in the same direction. It started as a gentle tailwind at a pleasantly cool temperature under overcast sky. Perfect cycling conditions. My leg muscles felt pretty dead, but then in Westport I ate one of those pepperoni sticks and drank a chocolate milk, and the combined ingredients in those (probably mostly the sodium and other "unhealthy" stuff in the sausage) was like firing afterburners. I could hardly get enough of muscling up the hills. By the time we got out of them, the sun was out, the heat came on strong, but so did the wind. No need to find a pack of riders to seek shelter in - just point your wheel down the road and go, usually well over 30km/h riding solo with 40km/h easily attainable. The bike computer just clicked over to 30.0km/h average speed as I was pulling into the finish area at Carleton. Perfect.

Ottawa -> Kingston

Distance: 177.5km

Riding: About 70% group, 30% solo
25.8km/h average speed while moving
21.2km/h average speed end-to-end
8:23 end-to-end
6:54 time spent moving
1:29 time spent stopped
77.4km/h maximum descent speed in Westport

Kingston -> Ottawa

Distance: 177.3km

Riding: About 20% group, 80% solo
30.0km/h average speed while moving
24.0km/h average speed end-to-end
7:23 end-to-end
5:55 time spent moving
1:28 time spent stopped
Some observations...

Is it just me, or is the average Rideau Lakes participant getting more hardcore? No more than half the bicycles I saw seemed to have metal frames any more. Everyone was talking about Cytomax and which carbon fiber frame was better than which other one, and people were disdainful of my filthy 25 year old steel bike (well, the frame is - few of the mechanical bits are still original). Stopped at a traffic light, someone said "too many carbon fiber bikes" and I looked and truly, the amount of actual metal in that bunch was not certain to trigger the traffic sensor buried in the pavement. People were also talking about races they'd done and so on. All this makes me feel really out of place. I'm just this guy who loves old bikes and tinkers with them and rides them. But to those hardcore guys, I'm ridiculous. And to "normal people" (i.e. noncyclists) I'm way hardcore. I don't fit in anywhere.

They say that dinner starts at 5:30pm and breakfast starts at 6:00am. It's not true. In the past I've always showed up at the specified time, and observed a surprising number of people already inside by the time I got in. This time I just went half an hour earlier to both meals and still found a lot of people already inside. This knowledge helps to get started early for the ride back. Also at 5:30am there was no lineup.

That stupid dirt road is completely unnecessary. Just take the next crossroad to the northeast, McPhail's Road. It's paved (with a rough chip seal surface), but more importantly you're trading three kilometres of the rough Tennyson Road for the perfect pavement (currently) of County Road 10. The distance is the same.

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