Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday Death Ride: "Ambitious...I like it."
There was to be no Quintuple on Sunday (sorry would-be Quintuplets), so it only seemed fitting to honour the day by taking on a different route that could quite possibly deliver an epic merino wool Rapha epic experience. However, with a forecasted 30 degree celcius high for the day, and nary a cloud on the horizon, we all opted for our plastic outfits over epic merino wool. In fact, I forsook (past-tense of forsake, according to me) my older Tall Tree kit with large pockets in favour of my 2010 kit which features child-sized ones: racey! I figured the superior breathability of the RS fabrics would outweigh the compromised carrying capacity. Third bottle pocketed (soon to commence irritating a seam on my back, all day), along with a burrito, two packs of Honey Stingers, two homemade Thrive bars, 5 fig newtons, one Bridgehead fruit and seed bar, a canister of NuuN tablets (thanks NuuN!) and one pack of Clif Shot Blox (some jammed into my burrito shaped tubular seat-bag, including my burrito), I rolled out of the 'Matt Cave' at 7:45am, embrocated with Mad Alchemy's warm weather brew and delighted by the glorious morning weather.
Upon meeting up with the rest of the troops under the Alexandria bridge, we were off to begin our adventure. The plan was far from straightforward. We'd head to the McGregor lake loop, see how Thom's Tall Tree jacket was doing in the woods, stashed since May (moldy, in fact), head onto some cottage dirt roads connecting to the far end of Paughan, head west, drop south one way or another to the entrance of Lac Phillipe, ride the trail to Wakefield, break, get back on the trail and ride to O'Brien beach, then home one way or another. Brad was already in Wakefield, and hoping to meet up; I was hoping to receive a phone call to coordinate. In my mind, this route was doable, but surely hard. "Ambitious, I like it" said Steve on the phone Saturday night. Audacious even.
Perkins came soon enough and saw us reload on supplies, the grocery store being open before noon, and providing free water via the bathroom. We provided the fashion moment for the day. Nice. Continuing on, we rode steady to the junction of the 366 and 307, where Mark, Chris and Steve parted ways. Mark would have enough after about 100 all in, and Chris and Steve would try to head us off at Low.
I think at this point we'd already been chased by one dog. I almost hit h/er when s/he dodged left after giving up on Steve. Skid, no impact. Phewf. Dog number two was far worse. Cruising downhill at about 35kph, a full grown Rottweiler and black lab take chase. Blackie has nothing, but Rottie has kick. S/he is at my heel immediately and snarling, really looking keen to take a bite. I keep pedaling and yell. I drop the f-bomb as a last resort. Nope, this dog does not give a shit. I grab my bottle and go for a face-shot. Doh, its closed (obviously not a superior Camelbak bottle). As I look forward I'm about to eat it into the ditch, and barely avoid disaster one-handed. Fortunately, Snarly has run out of gas, so I'm clear. I worry about the others, but they get through as the owner can be heard yelling, and Snarly is listening. One has to wonder what this dog has been through. I'm not one to punch or kick dogs, or any animals, so I'll try to get some pepper spray for next time. Is it wrong of me to kinda want to get even?
Back to the fun stuff, we manage to miss a key turn that would head us toward Paughan. Instead we descend an awesome paved road to the 307, and head north once we hit it. Great roads over there, just added at least 15k. Close to the final climb before descending the long, long downhill toward the dam, Thom suffers a biological, and I offer some Badger embro for his ailing knees. Back in business, we descend and hit the depanneur (corner store) in Low.No Chris or Steve. No surprise either, it has been hours. Its 1:30 by the time we leave, and I opt to head alone on the 105 and West on Woods to spit out on the 366 by Lac Phillipe and ride the trail to Wakefield, as planned. The others ride the road; we'll rendezvous.
After about 20k of tempo, wind, and some solid climbing, I start to falter. I'm feeling it. Its hot, I'm sweating like mad, and there is little respite from the sun (since I've heard of many experienced riders suffering heat stroke and dehydration on Sunday). To my delight, I pop out exactly where I want to, and a dep looms across the road, Phillipe's entrance 100 feet to the right. I drink a grapefruit juice and proceed to feel horrible once riding again. Why? Too cold? Maybe. I feel as though I have nothing on one climb on the double track I'm traveling, then miraculously come around a minute later. Odd. The trail is beautiful and I enjoy it without expectation with regard to speed. A farmer has been cultivating something off the side of the trail in a bunch of clearings, reminding me that the 'trail' I travel has been a farm road for a long time, preceding the 366 as the main route to Wakefield from Masham and beyond for generations. Cool. Rolling downhill into a low area I've seen a bear grazing in I picture myself running into one, striking three for three as Ariel had joked earlier. Jerk. No bear, I'm clear; phewf. Pulling up to Pipolinka, I wear my fatigue on my face, or so it feels.
It takes 15 minutes sitting with the guys to feel ready to ingest anything. I consume a cherry roiibos slush, a must have btw. Then we ride. Ariel and I are delayed, and think Rodd and Thom must be crushing it ahead as we fail to catch up. That seems like an odd proposition. Instead, we cross Brad and company heading the opposite direction on Cross Loop. They've been riding for a while too. Then Thom and Rodd pull up behind; we'd been in front of them all along. Funny.
Solid tempo from there follows, Thom and Ariel both finishing strong, Rodd drops off after slogging his single 42 tooth ring all day. By home, I'm at about 183k total, which puts Ariel well over 200 from Orleans. I'm toast, crushed, finished, spent, cooked. The day is more taxing than any other this year, including D2R2. Funny that. Under the conditions, and wind was significant, I think my original plan was just too hard. In more moderate weather, it would be possible. Some of the dirt was perfect, while other sections were slow and loose. That takes its toll. I think we've confirmed that the leg we took to Paughan is the toughest way to get to the Dam. Here's the map, in case you'd like to take a crack. Elevation gain would likely be about 1500m for this loop, give or take. We did take photos, I just don't have them yet...
Note: I've run the start on the roads, while we actually take the path through Lac Leamy. Its just harder to map that, and you can look to other maps of mine for that part. This is a bit of a rough cut, so if you want to use it for a GPS, I suggest checking it over to make sure everything is cool. I believe we should have headed North on Denholm rather than south to the 307. The map can be found here: http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Death-Ride-Aug-29-2010
Totally unrelated, just have to share this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXhBti625_s&p=31D142B8D7402238&index=2&playnext=7