Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Who knew it could snow heavily this time of year? now with supporting pics

Matt and I had been hankering to get back to the Hastings Highlands since doing our second Hastings Hilly Hundred race last fall. The riding is spectacularly scenic, quiet and tough. Plenty of double digit steepness, with the steepest touching 20% in spots.
So we tried to rally the troops to come on back to Jacques house for a sleep and ride, and many expressed interest, but when the day came Steve was our sole wind buddy.

So off we drive to Jacques, via the scenic route.

Truly unbelievable views on the way up via Renfrew, Dacre, Foymount, Quadeville, Palmer's Rapids, and Combermere.

Arrive at Jacques just as the sun is setting, and unload. It's always a treat to get to enjoy Jacques and Adriennes hospitality at Stone Wall Farm. We are truly blessed to have such a welcoming host and hostess who so patiently open their retreat to a rotating crew of cyclists and cross country skiers. Thanks you two!

So we say our hello's, look over the bikes, admire Jacques tractor, layout clothes for tomorrow, have a snack and to bed by eleven(ish). Weather looked to be cool but sunny next day, chance of precipitation in the afternoon. Less than 1 mm they said (HA! says I)

Roll out after a hearty breakfast at 8ish, promptly plummet down two steep descents.
(which we would rue on the return trip), and hung a right on Siberia Rd.
Familiar terrain, we entered the Hastings route half way up one of the longer sustained climbs on the course, and immediately started warming up. Climbing up to where the checkpoint was last year, and then plummeted down Centreview Rd. to the highway. A short stint on the highway, a left onto Boulter and we were riding some very nice road. Rolling, some short steep pitches, always plummeting off the backside. No traffic, and those that did pass gave us plenty of room. Always a wave too.

Jacques left us as he had an appointment with a Rototiller, and pointed us on our way.

Unfortunately, it was the wrong way, but thankfully we noticed after only 3 or 4 km, when we came to a T that wasn't supposed to be there.

Puzzled and looking at our map a kind soul in a pickup helped us get back on track.
Some dark clouds had spun in, and suddenly it was blowing quite a bit more, and some rain and hey what's that? Snow! And it was.

Unfortunately, I don't have photographic evidence of the snowstorm that hit us, but Steve does, and just as soon as he gets back from San Fran, I'll show ya. (edit ha see there they are!). So snow hail, rain and wind for about 45 minutes to an hour on and off. If it wasn't so miserable it would have been spectacular. I do remember one instance when we all looked to our right, with the wind off our right shoulder, curtains of snow were dancing across an open pasture, in waving sheets. Truly a sight. Unfortunately, we were under dressed, thin gloves (i had brought my short fingered gloves in my jacket in anticipation of warmer temps.) Such a fool. But I was wearing wool to the skin, on top, knickers and ski socks down below, so really only my hands truly suffered.

At any rate, we all got thoroughly soaked. And covered in snow. Then the wind picked up (!) and the sun came out. The temperatures never rose much though. Made for a chilly ride. Uphills were a dream, downhills were to be dreaded.

We made it home, 130 km covered, 1900 m or so climbed, and only needed to stop once due to uncontrollable shivering. Not bad I'd say. The rest of the ride was beautiful.
Hard, but beautiful. Remember those steep descents we had at the start of the ride.
15% plus.

Hope Steve will still be our friend.

More pics here


Anonymous said...

when you boyz do'n another ride out to the dam?

(I could not attend last time, my cx ride is still in bits and pieces...)

the original big ring said...

I got wet and winded on here on Sunday too. Better than sitting in front of the TV though.

see you tomorrow night


Andy said...

Great riding out there. You rode right past Andrea's parents' cottage on lake Kaminiskeg. I usually ride out there at least once a year, and it is a nice 200k ride from Ottawa (one way) going through Pakenham, Calabogie, Dacre, Foymount and Combermere.

Too bad about your poor luck with the weather, though.

Matt Surch said...

Cool Andy, I think that's just the route we were thinking of doing later this year. Beauty.

nathan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nathan said...

Stumbled upon your blog, and I loved seeing the pictures. I grew up spending my summers on Papineau Lake at my Grandparents Cottage (I grew up in Rochester NY, though now live in Pasadena CA) My earliest memories are of fishing on Rose Lake and Mill Pond, which from the sound of it "Jaques'" house is in that area near Bell Rapids.
I became an avid cyclist a few years back, so the fact that you guys were cycling in that area doubled my excitement! I would love to do the Hastings Highland 100 some year. Next time i'm able to make it there i'm definitely bringing my bike.