Friday, August 29, 2008

Le Tour day Georgian Bay

Le Tour day Georgian Bay is the answer to the Tour de Bancroft we did back in early May when we rode to Bancroft(235km) from Tobins in Chelsea, and then on to Peterborough(110km) and Orillia(115km). We loved it so much we knew we had to have a bigger and better ride. So the question was " What do we do next". Here we are starting our ride from Ann's parents place, Tobins wife's parents, all panniers and smiles we were this sunny afternoon! We figure the bikes and load were around 40ish pounds even with the minimal requirements. The rack system we used was very light weight and effective.

Our destination for day 0ne was Orillia just across the road from Casino Rama where we were supposed to start off the first night with some Texas Hold'em , big wins to pay for our trip! Unfortunately the navigation out of Peterbourough with a very hard to read ,1:750000 road map, last minute changes to our route, and the resulting longer ride time didn't afford us time for gambling (see? i don't have a problem,i prioritized!), after an awsome and massive buffet dinner at the casino we hit the hay in anticipation of a big 185k'er to our lodgings at the River Haven campground at the mouth of the Magnetawan river along hwy 69.

Day 2, unlike day one our distance to Magnetawan was to the km at 185km. The pic above describes the first 30km of this leg. It was a great day of riding, no rain , fast pace, often cruising at 35kph on rollers, very fun , very cool , switching up drafts and just loving the speed and huge shoulder we would enjoy all the the way up to Sudbury, this was for the most part the flavour of the entire trip!

The "villa" at the River Haven resort was fairly well used, on account of its popularity of course.

But i guess the princess must have found a pea under his mattress and opted for less swanky sleeping accoutrements.

All in all River Haven was a great place for us, we did see some other places just up 69 that would have been nice too but we got great service from the campground superintendant who also rounded up some towels for us and the cook who set us up with a massive dinner. We enjoyed some billiards while we did laundry followed by some crazy competative air hockey in which i was the winner of best of 5 until that friggin' kid Jake came along and made it best of 7 which Tobin lucked out on.

Day 3 started out with a bang, this is about 3km into our 165km ride to Espanola ,the order of the day, WOOHOO! Until just past Sudbury....

We rode into a place called Lively just as we passed Sudbury to begin heading West along the 17hwy, when we rolled up to a chinese buffet to park our bikes got pelted with the first massive raindrops which would be our first of 3 incidents of rain over the 6 days. Each time it rained for 1 to 2 hours really hard and we were at some location where we could wait out the worst of it.

This first incident of rain in Lively was significant due to so many variables changing all at once.

a) we had changed highways and completely lost our big smooth shoulder to NO shoulder and VERY rough pavement all of which was magnified exponentially by the close proximity of the big transports going by us at barely 4 feet away and ripping up the road spray.
b)we couldn't draft for rooster tails anymore c)I had but on my full goretex and didn't have the sense to realize i was overheating and just rode through it to my discomfort d) We, I for sure, was pulling more weight as my panniers which are not waterproof were holding water (lesson learned) e) My shifting started to go on the front derailleaur and some brake pad rubbing both at once, and a big ol' full stomach of chines buffet. This section of road was by far the toughest portion of the Tour and only lasted for up to 2 hours , from Lively we only had 65k or so to make Espanola.

Espanola was a mild experience, a little paper town, we had great accomodations at the Pine River hotel, some tv and to sleep.

Day 4 was going to be an easy 110km from Espanola across Manitoulin Island to the Cheecheemaun ferry out of SouthBayMouth on Georgian Bay.

This was supposed to be our rest day. On the ferry by 1:30 , done riding and in our motel at Tobermory for 3:30. BUT! due to our late breakfast taking 20 min to find us we didn't depart Espanola until 8:40, 40min off our tentative schedule, "ahhhh no problem man we're golden, we've still got just under 5 hours to make a lousy 110k; Yep we're good lets do it".

The first 5km had 3 massive "warm up climbs" that would indicate the order of the day which included some wall type headwinds.

In the end this section was 118km, and we made it with 12min to spare. See? No problem! Toughest day of the Tour for sure and still cool to beat the clock.

After a massive ,not to mention expensive but satisfying Cheecheemaun cafeteria lunch it was time to enjoy the rest of the cruise. The ferry landed right on time in Tobermory and we were back on schedule. This is the view from our balcony at the Blue Heron hotel. We paid extra for tv and extra again for a view of the harbour. I'd do it again. We had two fifty five foot masts right outside our room window,and next to that was a family of ducks hanging out on the docks, just a beautiful place.

After a swim in Georgian Bay which included some cliff jumping , and a rescue (assistance) of a family who rolled their boat in a not so smart attempt at landing their canoe along a nearly vertical shoreline we headed back to find some dinner. We had a great meal at the Crows Nest where we offended a large number of middle aged women who were waiting in line because we didn't know who Valdy is, a famous Canadian folk singer who was playing there that evening, still don't know who he is as nobody would sing a riff for us.
We enjoyed the company of a vacationing couple during our meal who were very interested in our trip, as were many we met along the way.

Tobermory in the morning. Day 5 of our 6 day trip was to be another 185k'er that turned out to be 197km. We were headed from Tobermory to Wasaga Beach. With a solid 4 days of riding behind us and 17.5hrs of rest the first 100km was going by real smooth. We got an early start for a change at 7am and stopped in Wiarton at around 70km for our official breakfast , where i was accosted by the town crazy chick who told me i had a nice ass and wanted to know if i was married, I was. Tobinar was kind enough not to interrupt or detract from this rendevous and quickly left us 2 love birds to enjoy one another while we still had time. She actually beleived i was someone else according to the voices in her head. Only about 10ish in the am. Blue mountain in the distance as we round the bend.

The run to Wasaga was fast and furious ,we had a nice tailwind at times and were feeling good for the ride so averaged almost 31kmph for the day. We found ourselves a motel room in Wasaga as we had not booked one in advance on advice that there would many available . I had greater expectations for our stay in Wasaga beach ,was thinking water park but it got shut down for a parking lot. Its really just a party place and it was a week night and i don't party much anymore. So a swim, an awsome dinner on the beach, a walk along the mainstrip , some tv (so y0u think you can dance again (frig) ) and lalaland. One more day to trip completion!

The final day, 6, from Wasaga back to Peterborough was meant to be 175km and turned out to be 190km. We had another great start to the day with the first 100km sliding by smoothly, it was clear that our bodies were adapting well. We had slight showers at times and some heavy rain again hit while we were stopped for breakfast in Orillia and also when we stopped for lunch in Lindsay. Once again heading back into Peterborough was challenging with the poor detail of the 1:750000 road map (lesson learned) but we made it by 7 pm for an 11hr day where i quickly loaded Tobins car and was back home by midnight.
What a great ride! We both want to do this again and knowing what we've learned from this tour the the next one will be just as great! A few more riders will be welcome, then we can go even faster with the extra drafts!

Thanks to my good'ol Tobin for being a stalwart riding partner and making this happen, its been a great season and its still not over!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tag team at Hot Aug nights, 2008

Big Ring racers showed up ready to rock!

Rick and I decided to tag team, Tobin’s first tag and Rick’s 3rd (with Matt Spak).
All started with Rick winning the honour of first lap over a loonie flip. On his way to the start, he breaks his chain. Fixed in time and makes his way to the middle to the pack.

After some laps and the race well under way, we are told we are in 5th place. We keep pushing and riding hard, we slowly make our way just into second place. Then, Tobin takes off and breaks his bike frame in half! Being 2 KM from camp and 3 KM from the Start/Finish, he decides to run back to camp. Cutting thru the bush, hopping from trail to trail and landing right by the main first aid tent, he ran hard back to camp. Rick was great, no complaining, no worries, he just put his helmet on and back on the course he was, at least he got a 25 min break, just enough time to eat and get his bike ready to go.

Gilles, God bless Papa G.

He offered his spare bike, a full S carbon FSR Giant (for sale). The bike was so happy to be ridden hard once again, poor thing, now a spare bike wasting away. Tobin switched his seat and seat post, hand grips and pedals, adjusting it as best he could since he did have plenty of riding to do on it. Minutes before Rick was coming back in, Tobin decides to ride around a little, just to get used to the bike. He could not figure out the shifting since the right shifter was broken! Like a great team, 4 to 6 guys started stripping Tobin’s broken bike’s shifter off while others removed the broken one. Within minutes, the new shifter was on. But Rick was to fast, we simply flagged him thru and said Tobin would be at the finish line to take over again, we hope. All worked out for the best, this gave us just enough time for Scott to finish the final adjustments.

Now we where in 5th place again and had a battle thru the night to deal with. We rode steady all night long, not missing a shift and keeping things smooth.
By daybreak, we where in first place and we had no intensions of letting this position be taken away from us. All morning we extended our lead and finished with 24 laps in 24 hours. Teams 2 to 4 finished with 23 laps, so a very competitive race.

Tobin is so proud of our duo and impressed once again on how Rick just kept his head on straight and rode hard all the way, never panicked and always wanted to crush our competition.

Once thing is for sure, never take Rick’s line.
Don’t force him off his line!
Don’t slow down his line.
Don’t mess with his line!
Don’t cut off his line!
Don’t even think of doing anything to his line!
Don’t even talk about his line!

Thanks to all our friends and the Big Ring racing team.
Special thanks to Gilles, without your great spare bike, this would not have been possible, thanks for your generosity.
Does this make the bike be worth more of less?
And a huge thanks to our support team! Would not have been the same without you, we hope to have made you proud.
And of course thanks to our Sponsors. I love those Kenda Small Block Eights!

A great racing even as always.

As mentioned here, Tanya #1 solo women, amazing, so calm and steady! The most low maintenance racer I’ve ever seen!

Gilles, Stef, Kari, Mark and Leslie, another podium, 2nd. Making it look to easy!

New to these races, an old friend from Adventure Racing, Tanya Martin and her man Ray placed 3rd, minutes behind second at their first try as co-ed tag team. Not easy! Great job! Again, fun to be with all the way.

And Matt Spak, placing #1 on his team, crazy fast laps all the way! Congrats!
And Matt, as for “having your tag team-mate back”, don’t forget, he was mine first!


Tour Day Georgian Bay

Here’s our better late then never report.

Now Rick has posted his, this was drafted so I will just post anyways!

Rick Clancy (Golonghardman) and Tobin DeCou took to the roads for our second tour of the season.

First tour, back in early May, consisted of riding from Old Chelsea to Bancroft On (255KM) on day one and then we split up and Tobin went 110 KM to Peterborough and Rick went 210 KM to Port McNicoll On. That went well and hurt a little so early in the season. We had a great time.

This time, we decided to take more time and equip our bikes a bit more touring style.

Setting up our regular road bikes with saddle bags (attaching to break bolt and skewer).
We drove to Peterborough since Ann and I had a wedding to go to in Midland, Sat night right after this tour. So Rick would drive back to Ottawa on his own.

We planned our route, argued, changed our minds on our destinations and came up with a counter clock wise route around beautiful Georgian Bay.
We took to the roads thinking of taking this easy, touring style. Yeah well, BRR mentality kicked in soon enough and off we where working hard at maintaining a 30 KM average, with loaded bikes don’t forget.
We stayed near Casino Rama on night one, great buffet! No time for gambling.

We found great roads all to ourselves along the way.

Night 2, Rick found us what looked like a great place, a campground in the middle of no wear, we rented a cabin. My bed was more like a hammock (so I slept on the floor) and we had 2 couches in there, one that both of us refused to sit on, a bit to much history on that couch. Everyone where very friendly, but a bit simple. We had a great time playing air hockey, Tobin kicked GLHM’s ass! It was intense! The next day, we make our way thru Sudbury to the nice paper town of Espanola . Nice place, but “smells like ass sometime” according to the Hotel staff (young girl)! We stopped to eat just out of Sudbury at a Chinese buffet and then the skies opened up. Did it even rain hard, we where just happy to be inside. Eventually we finished and rode out in a light rain trying to take advantage of a rare tail win that the storm brought in for us. We got on a back road for a while, thinking this would be nicer then the big highways. NOT! With light rain still coming down and the roads being as wet as can be, when the truck would go by us we would get lost in a cloud of rain mist and almost blown off the road! Rick and I had to stay apart from each other because of the rooster tail, but this made the trucks more in a hurry to finish passing both of us and they pulled in right in front of my wheel, making me disappear into the mist and giving me a shot of adrenalin every time. As Rick said, you just hope they never get it wrong….

The next day, we had our shortest planned, easiest day yet. Yeah right! We had 118 KM across Manitouly Island to do before 1:30 PM for the fairy to Tobermory. We figure we had plenty of time, not counting on our breakfast taking to long, huge hills to climb and a crazy head winds coming off the Great Lakes . After much suffering and great teamwork, we made it with 12 minutes to spare. Once on the fairy, I spent $16 on good cafeteria food, Rick spent $26 and ate the whole thing!

Above, Rick hanging over the rails and the guy next to him never even reacted!
Once in Tobermory, we went for a swim and rescued a family of 4 and a dog of a not so smart canoe ride in rough waters. We where heros! The next day we had a great ride to Wassaga beach. The local “crazy women” from a small town fell in love with Rick and his “nice bum” as we where waiting for our breakfast. To funny, I gave them space and spent as much time away from the table as I could. No picture, sorry Rick, you’ll need to rely on your memory. Wassaga was great, lot’s of people watching and friendly tourists. Not a busy time.

Along the way, Rick used so much lube that it went right thru his short shamy and onto his seat!

We rode 1000 KM in 6 days, kept an average of just under 30 KM/hr and had a great time!

Rick had either bacon or sausage once to twice a day and never ran out of energy! Tobin should learn from this…

Not one single flat between us. Love my Kenda tires!

If anyone wants all the route details and so on, just ask.

We should try to do something again like this next Year!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hot August nights in Pictures

Here are some pics from Hot August nights. You can also go here to view some great shots of the race and you may recognize some folks you know.

Mark and Hannah at the start line

The start...

Tanya rolling into camp for refueling

Tobin's broken frame - down tube snapped off from bottom bracket.
Broken Eclipse frame #4 for Coco! Didn't stop them from finishing 1st.

Golonghardman roaring into the finish line on his final lap

Papa G finishing his final lap - happy to be done!

On the Podium!!!

The Vegan Vagabon - 1st place Solo women; check out the lute she won!

Golonghardman and Coco - 1st place men's Tag Team-
Notice how GLHM is reaching for the dude's beer!

BRR Mixed - 2nd place: Curvy bum, Zamboni, T-Bone, Papa Giles
and Leslie Marie -Six podiums in a row!