Friday, October 31, 2008

The Hardfolk Classic - November 23

As promised, below is the briefing Rodd wrote for the First annual Hardfolk Classic, coming up on the 23rd. Check it out and we'll answer any questions posed.

Hallo all hardfolk
So I have no way o' predicting the weather, but assuming the roads are still somewhat clear and somewhat dry, I'd like to propose one last hurrah before it becomes impossible/passable

Some of you have had to listen to me spout off about the riding north of Wakefield.  Some of you have had the pleasure of joining me, others have had the pleasure of exploring the area yerselves. 

Here's some links to the kind of terrain you can expect:

Now granted, these were taken on sunny warm days, but the fun is still there. 

I have two route ideas and I'd like some feedback

option 1

Starts at the Island Park Bridge and heads northeast towards Mt. Cascade, up into the subdivison at the top then on to wakefield via a neato gravel gap I found.  Lunch at Wakefield (60 km or so in) then onto a loop towards Farrelton, (the green bridge for those of you who know) over the green bridge, and then up onto the escarpment via chemin Woods, Pritchard then Erable, back home through Wakefield (for more hot coffee perhaps and a snack,) then a flat 40 km home. 

Option 2 (and this is the one I'd really like to do with ya'all)

This route is almost identical (including the lovely lunch in wakefield), except instead of crosing at the green metal bridge at Farrelton, we continue up to the Paugan Dam at Low,

then over and down beside Lac Bernard via Kalala rd then onto Erables and back home through Wakefield. 
(this routes adds perhaps another hour to hour and a half to the previous route)

The nice thing about these routes is they have many bailouts, either the first 60 km at wakefield, you can just go home from there, or once you've done the one side of the river, you could just blast down the 105 (12 to 15 km) and be in Wakefield again and then home...
So no worries if the day isn't working out for you... No need to do the whole thing if it doesn't pan out. 

I would like this ride to be inclusive, but challenging. No drops.
Drafting and pacelining isn't much of a factor on the gravel (and there is some gravel, prolly 40% or so) but may be fun on the roads.
We usually average, on a nice sunny day, somewhere between 23 and 25 km an hour tops. 
That is just a guideline.  
This is not meant to be a puke you guts out hammer fest. It's meant to be a long ride, but a fun one, there are many steep climbs, but also many amazing descents. The scenery, as you will see, is jaw dropping. 

Lower gears recommended, simply because on some of the steep stuff ya gotta stay seated.  I use a 36x25 and do not have a problem. If anyone is gear challenged let me know, I have many options to help make you road steed more steep hill friendly.  Tires are an important consideration.  I have done all of these rides on plump smooth 30c tires, 28s are also fine, I wouldn't recommend any smaller.  Again, I have an extra set of the smooth 30s and some 28s ya'all can borrow. 

Obviously the more the merrier, stock up on grub, (clif shot bloks rok!) 
two tubes, and a patch kit to stave off the flat monster. 
Bring some dosh for lunch and snacks.. 

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Inaugural Fall Fixed Frolic: a Classic in the Making

On Sunday, October 19th Ottawa's first annual Fall Fixed Frolic rolled into the books in style. After months of planning, and weeks spent getting the word out, 20 riders assembled at Tall Tree Cycles on Richmond Road, ready for what promised to be a great morning in the saddle. No one was disappointed.

The frolic was inspired by an article I read in Dirt Rag in 2007. The article told of a fall ramble somewhere in the U.S., which attracted cyclists of all stripes to enjoy a leisurely, scenic ride around a lake. The ride was 50 miles long or so. I was inspired to put together a similarly motivated ride from Ottawa, one that would attract both hardened veterans and newbies alike. Here in town we have quite a fixed gear scene happening, but I've found that many of the riders don't get out for rides out of town. Here was an opportunity to get them out in a safe, friendly context so they could experience the wonder of riding out on the open road through the countryside. It so happened that a number of said fixters did not make it out, but there is always next year!

Before we rolled out, Rodd took some pre-ride snaps of the bikes that would carry us through time and space. More pics of the ride can be found here and here.

Matt's converted Cannondale

Jeff's Langster

Thom's Steelwool Limited, gentleman style

Pascal's Japanese Bianchi

Kent's Steelwool Limited

The Route

The ride was to be flat enough to keep the group together, quiet and scenic. Will and Thom delivered what was coincidentally the same route the Cycle Logik group often rides on Saturday mornings, but in reverse. The ride unfolded mostly on backroads.

Pascal rolling toward Kanata - photo: Rodd Heino

We headed west on the bike path along the Ottawa river, and once into Kanata, through the Tour Nortel route west. 

The group rolling a buff dirt road toward Carp - photo: Will Ficner

Out on the open road, a couple groups developed. Candace was on her first fixed ride ever, and noted how much energy she felt she had to devote to paying attention. Some were keen to wind it up on the mellow downhills, while others were more than happy to roll steadily and enjoy a chat.
Glenn and Marilee rocking traffic cone frienders - photo: Will Ficner

Will busts out some serious camerage - photo: Rodd Heino

Only one mechanical during the ride...kinda. Alex was motoring on a big ratio - photo: Will Ficner

The kilos ticked off smoothly as we passed through farmers fields and past old homesteads. Many of us had never ridden this area before and were more than pleased with the route. Very nice terrain. Stu informed me that the route could be extended to Almonte. This makes the Paris Roubaix route accessible from Ottawa without a necessary car ride, which is good new for those of us who prefer to drive less and ride more. In 2009 we will put together a ride out to Almonte to do the Roubaix route. It'll make for a nice 200k day. We'll run gears for that.

Kent representing the Camelback contingent - photo: Will Ficner

We rolled right through Carp and toward Dunrobin where we planned to break for br/lunch.

We had intended to stop at a cafe in  Dunrobin, but were turned away. Who'd of thunk they wouldn't be able to accommodate 20 for a drop in! Fortunately, we were able to head over to a near-by pizza place where they were still serving breakfast. I had a pretty darn good 'gravity pizza,' while the others partook in the breakfast fare. Bobby's, I think it was, will see us return.

After lunch, it was just an easy 20k or so back to town.

Heading into Carp - photo: Will Ficner

On the way back we bumped into Marco, who had left early from lunch to get home to his family. He'd dropped his chain kilometers back and stripped the treads on his hub - the main risk of running a suicide set-up. Jeff, Jamie and I offered to push him home, and proceeded to motor. Turns out its pretty easy for three to push one. Once we hit Island Park and Richmond Jeff was left on his own to finish the job, which he did without complaint. Nice.

So, the first annual Fall Fixed Frolic was a hit. Thanks to everyone for coming out! We'll do it again next year, but before then we've got lots of rides lined up. 

Next up is the Hardman/Hardperoffspring Classic. This ride will go down Sunday November 24th, departing from town, likely Tall Tree. We will head toward Wakefield on gearies for a nice long ride on mixed surfaces. It'll be between 130-150k, with about 40 percent dirt roads. A post will follow with the details Rodd has formulated.

In the spring we will put together a series of rides beginning with an icebreaker fixed ride, hopefully in March, weather permitting. We will then work up in distance every Sunday, preparing for the Cascades road race for some, and the Paris Roubaix for others. Hopefully we'll be able to work up to a couple rides around 100k with hills in advance of the Roubaix to prepare for the challenging course. After the Roubaix we'll keep upping the distances a bit each week and put in some epic routes up Wakefield way. Good times will be had. Stay tuned.