5 BCCers, that I knew of, made the trek to Ottawa for this edition of the Rideau Lakes ride, Mohamed for his first time, Ken B, Steve J, Ian W, me. This year’s edition was sold out by the end of March at 2200 riders. The ride, for you who aren’t familiar, is a two day event, start in Ottawa on Saturday, ride to Queens in Kingston, eat tons in the dining hall for dinner, then again for breakfast, ride back to Ottawa on Sunday. All in, 350km in two days. The route goes SW from Ottawa to Perth on mostly flat farmland then turns more South through rolling hills of the Rideau Lakes region. There are 4 well stocked stops with fruit, water, sandwiches and water stations inbetween the stops. Plus, a few lemonade stands run by budding entrepreneurs!
As an alternative, you can choose to reduce the ride by starting in Perth and returning to Perth. You get the best part of the ride, the overnight in Kingston and distance reduced to just under 200km.
Change for this year, Friday night accommodation and parking was at Algonquin College, not Carleton. Generally better, closer to the edge of Ottawa so less city riding, parking was very close and easy to find, breakfast needs tweeking.
We met at registration Friday, and found our way to Pub Italia for a bruschetta, beer, pasta, or pizza (thanks to Bob C for that suggestion). Who knew that hummus tastes good on pizza. Well it does!
Back to the residence and get some sleep for an early start Saturday, we thought 7am would work, and almost did. I think we left at 7:30. Missed Ken somehow, he connected with some people from Bay Cycles.
Our group of 4 were off! On and off drizzle for an hour, nice 15 deg C and light tail wind, steady fast pace. Quick stop in Ashton, take off the rainshell, and we’re off to Perth for a longer break and food.
A little rest, fill the bottles, let’s go!
We were a well -oiled machine, sharing pulls, speeding to Kingston. Lovely rolling terrain, and my favourite descent into Westport as a reward for the climbing. Then the climb up from Westport, look to the left for a beautiful view of the lake.
Great respect for the condition of Steve and Ian, while Mohamed and I were fading toward the end, those two still seemed to be able fly up the hills like it was the beginning of the ride. Well done!
Arrive Kingston – gotta stop at Mac’s for a pint of chocolate milk (thanks to James, Steve and Kerri for that tradition!) just a few km to Queen’s and checkin. Pick up the bags, get changed and back down to the courtyard for another chocolate milk, then a celebratory barley sandwich!
Dinner at Queens – meet at the dining hall for dinner of Pasta, soup, salad, fruit, Lamb, potatoes, Egg Strata, desert. No restrictions here, the organizers have this right, 2200 people riding 175km are going to be hungry, and there is lots of great choice.
Apres dinner – out for a walk to keep the legs loose, then back, Steve and Mo pulled the plug. It was too early for Ian, so he and I walked downtown to Kingston Brew Pub got a pint of Dragon’s Breath Ale – another tradition (thanks to Jon S). Walk back and collapse into bed!
Early start Sunday, breakfast at 5:30am back to get into cycling kit, drop off the luggage and meet to ride at 7am. Somehow we missed Ken again, hope your ride on Sunday was great too.
Sunday was SUN-day. Glorious, cool 15 to start, light tail wind, (again), sunny! We started modestly to get up the first few hills as a warm up, then started to ramp up the pace about the same time a group of 6 from Newworld cycles in Burlington caught us. We joined them and flew. Nice to ride with these guys, great riding etiquette. We were a double paceline all the way to Westport, climbed the notorious Westport hill and stopped for water at the top. Again Steve and Ian showed their colours and flew up the hill! Refill the water, and we were off as 4, the 6 others waited awhile longer. Before we knew it, we arrived at Perth, found a nice spot in the shade and enjoyed lunch. About a 20min break, so we started slowly and after 5 or so km, back to cruising speed to Ottawa.
The body is amazing, I had a real low point just entering Ottawa. We turned up a little hill into a headwind, and the legs protested, body agreed, I just slowed to crawl. The amazing thing was, I consumed a gel and some water, within a km, the legs started to come back and I was feeling pretty good. Quite incredible, apparently the brain just needs to be told that food is coming, and then will let the body go back to work!
Arrive in Ottawa, checkin then, I think a new tradition was born, we skipped the burgers and tube steaks, and went for Shawarma instead.
It was the combination of testing my limits, comradeship and sense of accomplishment that made this ride a favourite.
Thanks to the guys for making this another great ride!
Fun coincidence, the random rider that took our photo before the ride, just happened to have be standing at the luggage at the end, so took that photo too!
This is way more than just a ride, it is an event!