Bonnie on a Bike: Training for a 100-k Cycling Challenge. Countdown: 31 days to go!

I’ve been working on my speed. I will be embarrassed if I have to spend more than 5 hours doing


I’ve been working on my speed. I will be embarrassed if I have to spend more than 5 hours doing the 100-kilometre Ride For Karen on September 9. That means I have to average 20k/hr. Two weeks ago today, the day before leaving for a week-long camping trip with no access to my bike and no way to train, I wanted to get in a ride that was speed-focused, so I headed west on the Waterfront Trail, and did 44km in just under 2 hours. So, 22k/hr hour. Faster than I’ve been averaging up to that point, for sure’I’d been doing more like 18km/hr up to then’so that’s a good thing. But, it’s not exactly Clara Hughes fast!! (Fifth place for Clara in the Olympics Time Trial, how incredible.) Plus, I have to keep that up for 100k…yikes.

Kris and Kirk Tobias, the founders of Ride For Karen, assure me it’ll be fine, especially as there will be a group of many others riding, all of whom will support each other. It sounds like such a great event, and it’s building each year in participants and the money raised to give kids with cancer a chance to get to camp. These guys (Kris is on the left, Kirk on the right) are really inspiring. You can find out more about the Ride by clicking here

Back to the training: It was good to get that faster ride under my belt before our camping. And the many portages of lugging our gear through the woods, plus hours of paddling at a time, was great for the upper body’and gave my legs a welcome rest for a week. Then, after returning last weekend, I took the Monday public holiday to do my longest ride yet’90k’and challenged myself again to do it FAST. It was a lovely cool day and I went west again, my destination the far west end of Oakville, to an area called Bronte.

I had cycled to downtown Oakville before, on the Canada Day weekend, and had met my parents for coffee; each way, almost 40k, took more than 2 hours. This time, as I rode west it seemed that each time I glanced at my speedometer it read 26k/hr; I felt really strong. As I passed that coffee shop I’d met my parents at, I noted that this time it had taken just 1 hour 45 minutes. Much faster than the first time!

I kept going west, as Bronte is another 6k farther. One small mishap: At the first red light, in fact the first stop I’d made at all on this ride so far, I unclipped my right foot to balance against the curb and took a few moments to stretch my arms out’and must have shifted my weight too far to my left because I promptly took a spill. It was the same kind of fall I had at Algonquin a few weeks back. Really embarrassing struggling to get back up with cars waiting at the red light beside me. Oh well. I had a cut left knee and that now-familiar pattern of gear wheel dents on my right calf where that leg slammed on top of it, just like last time. A bit of blood on both injuries but nothing to make me turn back. The wind out of my sails a bit, I sheepishly rolled into Bronte, stopped at an ice cream shop where I cleaned up the cuts and consoled myself with a strawberry ice cream cone.

After that 20-minute break, I turned back’and was now really feeling my sore leg muscles. I pushed, but the speedometer seemed stuck on 20k/hr. Really, this felt like the longest ride back. Another park to negotiate around picnicking families? Another neighbourhood street taking me away from the lake? Another hill? It just seemed to go on forever, and I knew I had slowed significantly, but I tried to ignore it; I didn’t want to stop or let up but wanted to get it over with.

Whereas on my way to Bronte I was happily shifting to the ‘big wheel’ for more power on long stretches, I found now my left hand didn’t even have the strength to push that gear lever over. After all, by now I had been in this position for so long, gripping my handlebars and absorbing the shock of the bike path’s surface, it was no wonder my hands were also drained.

When I arrived back in my neighbourhood, I had to take my limbs off the bike one by one, slowly; they seemed stuck in their riding position. I did feel beat up! But my total riding time was 4 hours, 10 minutes. Which, if my poor math is correct, is around 22k/hr. So I was able to sustain that speed over twice the distance of my previous fastest time, although of course I’ll need to ride 10k more in the Ride For Karen. AND, there will be bigger hills than the ones I’ve done so far. So, more training to come!

If anyone out there would like to donate to the Ride, please do! I’m happy to say that thanks in large part to the team here at work, I’ve surpassed the goal I set to raise $5,000 (that’s me and my donation bucket from one fundraiser), and wanted to sincerely thank everyone who so far has donated to this awesome cause.

If you want to sponsor Bonnie Munday for Ride For Karen, go to, click ‘Donate’ and look up her name.

Read all Bonnie’s cycling blogs at