It’s come to this: Less than a week before the big day, Ride For Karen, on Sept. 9, which raises money so kids with cancer can go to camp. Last time I blogged, I was going to do a second training session on ‘real’ roads, after my outing with Ride co-founder Kris Tobias. This time I would go it alone. My extended family’s annual camping weekend the weekend before last was at Rock Point, near Dunnville, in Haldimand County on Lake Erie. I had anticipated cycling from Dunnville to Burlington, on Lake Ontario, but when it came to the day before, I chickened out since I’d be alone in unfamiliar territory, and didn’t fancy trying to find my way through the city of Hamilton or around it on busier roadways to get to Burlington. I’m sure there’s a way, but I’d rather try it with a riding partner than alone. Instead, I decided to stick to the wider area of country roads around Dunnville.
Armed with a Haldimand County cycling route map I headed out of our campsite at 9am Sunday. The route I decided to follow was 47k and since I wanted to go longer, to beef it up a bit, I planned to go beyond the route for a while near the beginning, then come back to it again and continue on the mapped route. This proved very simple to do: after about 10k along the lake, instead of following the route’s left turn inland, I kept going along the lake’s shore, crossing into Niagara County and going another 8k, before turning back. It was beautiful scenery, and so empty of both people and cars. One lovely town was Lowbanks, with a string of bungalows along the lake and a little cafe. [I took a mental note of it, and my husband and I went there later that day for lunch with our niece and nephew on our way home to Toronto.]
There were some rolling hills, but lots of flat too. It was really invigorating and I did feel I was pretty much the only person out there on these roads. I saw about 3 cars, and a couple of cyclists, for the first 2 hours. The keen wind was blowing against me sideways so wasn’t much of a probem. But when the route turned back south towards Dunnville at about the 40k mark, with still more than 20k to go, the strong wind was now against me. I’d never been out on a very windy day, so now I was getting taste of what that was like. The distance of 10k seemed VERY long to Dunnville’did I mention it was 30 degrees and humid, too?’then from there it was another 10k to the campground, still against the wind, AND with quite a lot of traffic at this point. It was quite scary, actually. But I made it, three hours after leaving the park, and rolled up to the beach where my sister, brothers, nieces, nephews, cousins etc were frolicking in the waves. I put my bike down, took off my shoes and walked right into the lake. Instant relief.
Well, now all that’s left to prepare for this Sunday’s ride is to do a few more smaller [30-minute] rides. Kris Tobias told me to keep well hydrated this week, and to eat carbs and lean proteins, particularly the night before the ride. I asked him what I should have for breakfast on Sunday morning to prepare for my longest ride yet, 100 kilometres. "Oatmeal, juice and fruit," he suggests. "Or pancakes/ waffles, and fruit plus yogurt."
I also asked both Kris and Kirk Tobias how they are feeling in the busy final stretch of preparation before the Ride. Says Kris (above left), "I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with details, but I know the feeling will turn to elation once we ride off onto the course. This Ride brings meaning to a terrible situation, the death of our mom: raising money for worthy causes and helping others in their healing process."
Kirk (above right) says, "The day of the Ride is a very emotional and proud day. I’m saddened that Karen (pictured below) is not around to see her grandchildren grow up, and am proud of what we do in her name. The selfish side of me loves that we keep her memory alive by the mere fact that we run the event. Year in and year out, people ask what kind of lady she was, and I revel in the conversation that ensuses about "my mom.”
If you want to donate to this cause, go to rideforkaren.com.
I’ll let you know how my ride goes.
Read all Bonnie’s cycling blogs at besthealthmag.ca/BonnieonaBike.