Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Pre-Hardfolk Classic

The first Sunday of November delivered clear skies and a brisk clime for what was to be a long day in the saddle. Seeing the forecast a couple days prior, a few of us were inspired to skip the cyclocross race in Kanata and pull together a Classic ride instead. 

Upon rolling up to meet some of the others in town, I was pleasantly surprised to see some faces I didn't expect. Thom convinced Brad and Martin to ditch the cross race, and when they did, they pulled two of their buddies along too. Four more wind buddies. A minute later, Chris pulled up, another pleasant surprise, and away we rolled to collect our final rider, Jamie, to the east. 

And then there were ten. We cruised through Lac Leamy, a favourite route to work over to Cantley, across the river, and through the switchback section of bikepath that beckoned thoughts of Alpes Duez. On route to Cantley, misfortune struck, and I suffered my first Grand Bois flat after a season on them. An inch long nail near the bead...hmmm, just how does that happen?

Photo: Rodd Heino

Fixed up and rolling, we rolled on through Cantley and started to splinter a bit. About 30k in one of our wildcard riders was feeling a little too much sensation, and decided to head back to town with his compatriot. Down to eight. Unfazed, we plodded on.

As we approached the road to Cascades, Brad peeled off in order to get home at noon. Down to seven. Soon upon the Cascades downhill - the fastest in the area we know of - we headed down to encounter patches of brown ice near the middle. Yowsers. To be avoided. Nobody broke any records. As usual, the following climb made us pay.

Photo: Matt Surch

Atop this climb we hung a right into the neighborhood to climb a steep turn and partook in some fantastic dirt conditions; tacky and pretty darn smooth. Sure, there were strips of ice here and there, but hey, what's a ride without a little sliding action?

Rodd and Rob up the grunt - Photo: Matt Surch

This is where things get good! Photo: Matt Surch

The descent from the neighborhood back to the Cascades makes all the climbing worthwhile. Braking is required going into a couple of the corners, which is nice since we don't have many tough corners around here. There was a bit of ice, but we all came out clean, with smiles on our faces. 

From dirt to tarmac, we headed toward the golf course, where Thom found a most welcoming porta-potty. All those layers really slow ya down!

Before long we were onto the highway, then rolling into Wakefield for lunch. Pipolinka is where its at for excellent food and drinks, organic and fair trade!

After lunching, Martin departed for town while the rest of us continued on despite a bit of a time crunch. Rodd had a new route he wanted to try, so off we went, back through the covered bridge. 

This climb was pretty darn steep, up to %20 - Photo: Matt Surch

Rodd's 'gravel gap' proved most entertaining, with its snow-covered climb (Jamie climbs above) and rock laden downhill blaze. Unfortunately, not all got through clean; Rob pinched and put a bit of a dent into his rim. Even Grand Bois in 32 come up short sometimes.

Looping back to Wakefield we encountered a few interesting happenings: A hunter walking up the road carrying his rifle told us we shoulda been wearing red...scary; a teenage girl fell off her horse; a young buck sprinted at the road perpendicular us and bounded over ditch and fence, fence and ditch; a field of pumpkins; a bunch of huskies sitting in the sun. Then Chris's spokes loosened up to the point where it required serious attention. Unfortunately, the three mechanics in the group had to head back to town, so we left Chris, Rob and Rodd behind to deal with it. A short time later, we got word via cell that Chris had opted to call in the sag wagon. Then we were five.

Rolling through Hull, Rob suffered another flat in a construction area. We had just enough light to get home.

Total distance for the day was about 135k. After some post-ride discussion, we agreed that the Hardfolk Classic will have to roll out earlier, about 7 am, and we'll have to hit Pipolinka and run. This way we will have the option to head to the Dam, which ought to be spectacular. It was great to have an opportunity to do a dry run with less daylight after noon to feel out the timing. The Hardfolk will not be much longer than this route, perhaps even shorter if the weather is severe. Check back for an update with a GPS trace of the route.


the original big ring said...

Looks awesome. Can't wait for the day of. Here's to dry, warm weather.

Matt said...

For more pics go to:

Rodd Heino said...

trace here: