Saturday, June 7, 2014

PRACTICE makes perfect sense......................... (if one had sense!)

Today was the first day of The Ride to Conquer Cancer. I must admit that while I have been training on the spin bike 2 or 3 times a week, I had only been outside ONCE and that was an 80 K ride.  I know - shame on me, but between the crappy weather and my work load (hey - I don't even work per se!) But I really didn't have time to get out.

It was with a bit of trepidation that I started out today.  In the past, I have driven down to the start line, but with warnings about the traffic and road closures due to construction - I decided to take the GO train. I know - I will become a regular commuter before I know it - except that I don't go down town often.

I looked up the schedule - 7:36 AM was the first train on Saturday, borrowed a Presto card and called the GO to see about the bike policy since I could not find it on the web.  Yep - I was set. And I got a ride to the GO station and I was in PLENTY of time. No running like an idiot!!!!

Met up with another person who was part of the Medical Team - she was going to be riding her bike in case someone needed assistance along the way.

Yep - that is my bike on the GO train and the lady on the medical staff was meeting a friend of hers and they were at the other end of the train. Technically there is supposed to be maximum of TWO bikes per car, but as you can see - it was NOT crowded so we were OK. 

When we got off - I saw a number of other riders who had also taken the GO train.   We all think alike - it was a stress free ride and no worries about traffic!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I could certainly get used to this.

However - I was so excited that I forgot to tap off with my Presto card. I am sure it isn't a problem, but will check with them tomorrow.

A quick ride across Lakeshore Blvd. and I was at the start line.

I believe there were 5,200 riders. HUGE number, although some of them started from Niagara Falls. 

See that sign - right beside the guy who has his arm up - that is the start line and there were just as many cyclists behind me.  Next year - I have to snuggle up to the front of the line because it took a LONG time (almost a half hour) to clear the start gate.

It is fabulous to ride through the streets when they are closed off and for the start - the streets were closed, although we had police or other designated personnel to get us through the major intersections. If you were stuck in the traffic today - you know what I mean.  The cyclists were given priority, but I have to say that the drivers were very patient. I don't think I heard one horn honk!!!!!   That is amazing.

I stopped at all the pit stops and lunch stop.  I needed to stock up on food (I felt I was running on empty before every pit stop) and at the first one - I desperately needed air for my front tire which was practically flat. No issues after it got pumped up.  I think I hit a few bumps on the Lakeshore from the construction and knocked the air out of it because I did check it before I left home.

Here is the menu and nutritional information from our lunch.  
Check out the sodium!!!!   I guess they gave us that much to keep us drinking?????

It turned out to be a glorious day - the sun was out, it was HOT and a slight breeze (I thought it was a head wind all the way), but it was a fabulous day for cycling.

I did the Classic Plus route which separates from the main ride at about the 15K mark. It then joins up with the other ride about 30 K from the finish line.  I did appreciate getting out of the crowd of riders.  It is total chaos and I hate all the stop and starting.  My foot was starting to hurt from all the pressure of coasting (riding the left pedal) and stopping and starting.

I have to say that my butt was perfectly happy on that Brooks saddle. I will never forget the first Ride to Conquer Cancer. I thought I was going to die - my butt was so uncomfortable. That is when I started to investigate a new saddle and I've never looked back.  I love my Brooks.   Either all those other people have very different shaped bums than me - or they just suffer in silence??   I don't know - but I am going for comfort - who cares about the look.

I arrived at the camp in Hamilton around 3 PM.  I had hoped to get there earlier, but it wasn't meant to be. It was very slow going with all the other riders and it isn't a race. It is just a ride in support of a very good cause.

The bike corral which was quite full when I arrived (well the front half was full).  There is an entrance at all four corners in the morning, so I walked my bike down to the far end where there were NO bikes yet. When I left a couple of hours later - this area was PACKED with bikes. 5,200 bikes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I must admit that I was tired - partly because of the heat, partly because of lack of training and partly because my brain is stressed trying to meet deadlines!!!!!!!!!

Instead of staying at camp, I decided to get a ride home so I could get some work done on a customer quilt (that I want to have done by Monday). However when I tried to shampoo my hair with body wash - I decided that I had better not touch the customer quilt. Just safer that way!!!!!!!!!   I will have to get it done tomorrow.   I should be home much earlier tomorrow and will have time. I will sleep on the bus home from Niagara Falls so will be well rested to hit the machine.

I usually ride with Anna, but she did not ride this year and it was weird to ride alone even though there were 5,200 riders.  That is also partly why the ride was long????   But I managed to snag my two beers and my chicken dinner and chat to strangers!!!!!!!!!   OK - so I ate and drank a LOT today!!!!!!!!!!

One of the people I talked to had this cool arm band.  She had a heart on the band for all her loved ones that were sick, had supported her or had passed.  How cool is that.   OK - so the CRAZY quilter on a bike had better get her thinking cap on for next year!!!!!!!!!!

Neat arm band!!!!!!!

On the way home, I noticed the signs for those that are riding to Toronto tomorrow. The route goes within 1 KM of my house!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I was tempted to ride back and just get off at that point. But where is the fun in that - besides I NEED the outdoor training.   I am taking my bike to the retreat so I can check out the surrounding area.

Speaking of the retreat - it is now time to PANIC!!!!!!!!!!!
Here is my project bag - I think I could squeeze in another couple of projects - no problem

Oh crap - just go for it!!!!!!!!!!!! - why not just grab a couple more bags and shove stuff in - there is LOTS of room in the back seat of the car especially with that small sewing machine - I need to make up the room with projects.   I know - I better stay a month in order to make a dent in what I am taking. Granted the orange bag at the end is empty. But...............

Most of the stuff on the table needs to go in the bag.  OK - not all, but a couple of things. Let's not forget - there are tools, thread and other supplies in the bags - not just projects!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you want to check out the ride stats for today - here they are.  Not bad considering that we were doing a lot of stopping and starting.  Yes - we went down a big hill into Hamilton and YES we went UP a big hill to get to Mohawk.  However - that hill just isn't that big of a deal any more.  NOTHING compares to the Cabot Trail - NOTHING.  Well maybe the Pyrenes in France.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer - Day One

On that note - I have ONE more blog to prepare tonight and then lights out!!!!!!!!!   I hope to leave the start gate by 7 AM.

Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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