I remember the first time I saw an event post for this ride on the site. I remember thinking "Holy crap that's an insane amount of riding!" I remember thinking that there was no way I'd ever do something like that....then Thursday morning rolls around and I receive an email in my inbox from Steve with the subject line "IDEA" All it said was "Toronto to Niagara and back. One day. You and me." We kicked the idea around for a day, I emailed James to see what he thought, and the next thing I knew it was 3:45am on Sunday and we were waking up about to ride our bikes 322kms.
As we were eating breakfast, trying to remember why we'd signed up for this, thoughts turned to France, where QB would have been racing his IM already - made the task ahead seem a bit more manageable.
We arrived in the Square One parking lot just before 6am and it looked like there were about 45 or so others who were joining us in this task. I had looked on last year's posting for finishing times and saw only one other woman had done this, so I'd kinda hoped that I would be the solo female this year - not to be. There were four of us in total...oh well, so much for being the first woman finisher! We met up with Dave Adams, Brian Blakely and James and got set to ride.
The group was a bit messy on the start, not like our usual club rides. I have to say that riding with the BCC really makes you appreciate what good group riding is all about. Brian, Steve and I rode together for the first 120kms or so, where we met up with James at a gas station. Great timing! We were then able to continue on as a foursome. We lost Dave at the start, and assumed that he and James were together but that wasn't the case and although we hoped to see him somewhere along the way, we didn't. Dave we hope that you had a good ride!
The route out to Niagara was pretty much flat - a few hills here and there, but really nothing to write home about. With the exception of one LONNNNG stretch of road that went on forever, the route was quite nice. The weather cooperated all day - overcast on the way to Niagara and sunny and beautiful for the return home. Our pace was pretty moderate and to be honest before we knew it we were at the half-way mark. On a ride like this, there are no designated rest stops, so you basically just have to keep an eye out for Tims or other places for food, water and washroom breaks. (Note to self - NEVER stop in Binnsbrook if you need a washroom, or hospitality because they are sadly lacking in both).
After a bite (yes at one of the many Tim Hortons that we visited) we were on our way home. The route back was stunning - through Niagara-on-the-Lake, past a ton of wineries and gorgeous landscapes. We stopped quickly at the falls for a photo op (just had to) and basically enjoyed the company and the ride. Just like it should be.
All in all, it was a fabulous day out - despite the aches and pains that are associated with this type of riding (yes, I am standing as I type this!), it was something that I'm glad I tried. All told we were on our bikes for 14 hours if you include our stoppage time for breaks, a flat tire (impressive that there was only one!) and our photo op at the Falls.
Thanks to Steve, James and Brian for the awesome company out there - couldn't imagine doing this solo, that's for sure!