Tour du Lac (Prelude)

Posted: July 4, 2013 in Bike, Lifestyle
Tags: , , ,
Easy, right?

Easy, right?

During one of our first correspondences before we were even officially dating, I made the offer to Kelly that I would be more than happy to go riding with her and little HRH.  In fact, I think I worded it exactly like this:

“I’d love to take you for a ride”

Am I eloquent or what?

Now, with all sniggering aside (hehehe…’snigger’), I genuinely meant what I said.  Now, here we are, a little over two years later – four days out – and we’re about to just that…go for that bike ride together.  But this will be no leisurely spin around the neighborhood or a trip to the park and back.  No.  We’re talking about no less than a 940k trek around Lake Ontario as part of the Tour du Lac fundraiser for the Heart Investigation Unit at the new NHS Healthcare Complex.  How’s that for a bike ride?  Stock up on the butt lube, that’s for sure.

I doubt she ever had a ride of this magnitude in mind when she first agreed to take me up on my offer but, life being what it is, that’s exactly how it shaped up.  I’m no stranger to long distance cycling and have enjoyed it in both competition as well as a means of supporting the cycling community by acting as both a participant and as a volunteer sweep rider for various local charity rides.  Throughout it all, Kelly has supported me and encouraged me.  Now, she has her first opportunity to actually join me.

And what an opportunity it is.  Here is how next week (beginning Sunday, July 7th) is going to roll out (yes, that pun was intended):

Day OneSt. Catharines to Toronto (155km) – Despite the distance, we catch a bit of a break here as the route skips the Niagara Escarpment altogether and mostly follows the Waterfront Trail along the lake and ending up at the Toronto University where we will be staying the night.

Day TwoToronto to Cobourg (125k) – Promises to be very scenic as we continue along the Waterfront Trail through all the coastal areas and port towns of Pickering, Oshawa, Bowmanville, and Port Hope.  However, what we managed to avoid on Day One will inevitably come back to haunt us today beginning at about the halfway point as the Cobourg area is known for being pretty hilly.  Kelly is going to get her first taste of climbing today.  We’ll be spending the night at the local Best Western and dining at the local Cobourg Jail.

Day ThreeCobourg to Kingston (167k) – Our longest day promises to be scenic indeed as we pass through the wine region of Prince Edward County; a mecca for naturalists, painters, fishermen, sailors, and pleasure seekers.  We are promised panoramic views and a ride on the Glenora Ferry.  Afterwards we’ll be staying at the Four Points Sheridan.

Day FourKingston to Oswego, NY (151k) – Today is going to be tough; tough with a capital ‘H’, for HILLS.  First, however, we will have to cross over Lake Ontario to begin the American leg of the journey aboard the Wolfe Island Ferry and the Horne Ferry.  Once over, we’ll be following the Seaway Trail around the eastern end of Lake Ontario through Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Park, Sandy Island Beach State Park and the Selkirk Shores State Park.  So while it promises to be scenic, it’s also going to be a real challenge in the saddle.  We’ll be staying at the Quality Inn & Suites overlooking the canal lock and river.

Day FiveOswego to Webster, NY (109k) – It’ll inevitably be more hills in the morning stages along an otherwise scenic route through Wolcott and Sodus Bay.  In Webster we’ll be treated to a hospitable BBQ banquet and meeting with the local Rotary Club and billeted at one the member’s homes.  We’re also hoping to be graced with some friendly faces we know who happen to live in the area as well.

Day SixWebster to Lockport, NY (133k) – We veer away from the lake for a while today to instead follow the Erie Canal trail and Route 31 though the very historical areas of Spencerport and Brockport.  In Lockport, we’ll be staying at the Holiday Inn.

Day SevenLockport to St. Catharines (100k) – The last day also happens to be the shortest distance-wise and, thankfully, it’s mostly downhill the whole way.  We’ll be following the Niagara Parkway on both the American and Canadian sides, so we’ll be back on familiar territory once again passing by Niagara Falls and the historic township of Queenston and Niagara-on-the-Lake before its home, sweet home.

Yeah, it’s safe to say I’m pretty jazzed.  This trip is going to be the culmination of my planned ‘fun’ for this off year.  First, back in the fall, we found her a bike; a beautiful Cannondale (‘Serge’) with the help and advice of our good friend Kent.  Likewise, there have been the many adjustments at the bike shop to enable her to ride as comfortable as possible meaning she has endured some uncomfortable days out on the road as well as on the trainer while that right combination of saddle, handlebars, clips and whatnot were all figured out. Then there have been the endless shopping excursions for all the attire (I figure, by now, we’re official shareholders at MEC).  Who knew that finding appropriate and ‘cute’ cycling attire would prove to be more daunting than finding a decent bike?  Shit, I just throw on whatever jersey I happen to grab first out of my closet but, apparently, it is not that simple for the ladies.  Go figure.  Yes, this cycling is serious business indeed.  But we’re past all that now and, finally, we’re on the cusp of the actual ride itself.

My goal is simple enough; just pedal, pedal, pedal, enjoy the sights, and support Kelly and the other riders to make this journey as memorable for them as it promises to be for me.  And regardless of what happens, I am very proud of Kelly for even considering taking an event of this magnitude on and she has already proven herself as a trooper in my book throughout her training thus far.  Likewise, I look forward to whatever other opportunities this event might create for us in the future as, already; we’re scheming about next summer’s adventure.

So, please, cross your fingers for us this weekend that for the next week the weather remains nice, the wind subsides a little and the pavement is flat and merciful.  Here goes nothing…

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Comments
  1. Brad Gerecht says:

    If you are doing breakfast in cobourg I recommend the buttermilk cafe or johns junction. Cobourg is my hometown; it’s beautiful. Say hi to my sister…lol

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Susan says:

    Kelly, I have the greatest respect for you and all that you have accomplished! You Go Girl!! Your hard work and dedication the past several months in training and preparing for this ride is to be commended.

    Here’s hoping that the weather is beautiful and the wind always at your back. Wishing you both an memorable and enjoyable ride next week! 🙂

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