Sometimes when I am in the middle of a race or activity I
wonder what I was thinking when I signed up. I mean, what made me think that a
350km cycle over 2 days would be easy, let alone fun?
Each year the Ottawa Cycling Club organizes the Rideau
Lakes ride from Ottawa to Kingston and back. This is a great ride if you are
training for an event like an Ironman. I’m sure that there are times when the
ride is a lot of fun and a lovely ride...this year not so much!
We began the ride on a Saturday in June, leaving Ottawa
in torrential down pours. We were soaked through before we even got on our
bikes! The rain didn't let up for the first 80 km. If I hadn’t already been soaked to the
skin, the next 60 km would have been
perfect riding weather – cloudy, but warming up.
By the 140 km mark, the sun came out and we could start
shedding our web clothes. My guide and I had planned on going for a short run
once we arrived in Kingston as practice for the Ironman. After sitting in wet shoes for 8 hours, I
didn’t think my feet would handle the run well. However, the organizers of the
bike race put on a big dinner and we went for a walk to get a coffee. Funny how
I forget the pain of the day when coffee is involved.
Day two started off with a lovely sunny morning. I was
looking forward to a nice ride back to Ottawa… until I tried to sit on my bike.
Wow! You don’t know what tender is until you put your back end back on that
little saddle. I put on my big girl patties and handled the pain. After a few
kilometers my back end felt numb.
Outside of Kingston are a number of rolling hills which I
found extremely difficult as my legs were still dealing with the exhaustion of
the day before. It was a tough start, but 30km later I was warmed up and my
legs were back into the swing of things. Other body parts were no longer numb,
allowing me to stand up to peddles and help relieve the pain. The ride was
looking up and I was beginning to think that it would get easier. Of course I
was wrong! Shortly after the first rest stop, 40km head winds began. We rode
into the wind pretty much all the way back to Ottawa. We managed to make it
back and even though I had just told my guide that I couldn’t eat a thing, the
smell of barbeque had me drooling just like my guide dog, Lucy.
I learned a few lessons from this event:
1. No matter how you try, you can’t control the
weather and you have to be ready for any condition. Make sure you always have
options for clothing - layering works best.
2. Make sure the person who is your pilot and
guide is a good friend! Cycling in these conditions can bring out the worst in
people and you need to be able to let any whining role off of you (Thanks so
much Kory for putting up with me that weekend!)
3. Although this was a tough ride, I now know
that I will be able to handle it if the weather is bad on my Ironman race day.
It is important to train in different conditions so you are prepared for
whatever you face throughout the event.
Despite the challenges of the weekend, it was a fun time.
Great company and good exercise always go well together. I would recommend this
ride to anyone who is looking for a long ride as part of a triathlon training
or someone who is just looking to challenge themselves. I know I plan to go
again next year!
Diane is a proud member of The Tandem Project and Won with One Triathlon team. For more information, go to www.thetandemproject.org. Questions? Comments? Email Diane at email@example.com