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.


Pascii said...

Nice write up!
I had a blast and am looking forward to more big group rides from Tall Tree.
Sammy's was the place that fed us in Dunrobin. We sure lit that place up didn't we!?

Sean said...

Hey Matt.

My email is and you can find me on FLICKR under Ralfieboy