Last Sunday September 7 was a perfect early sunny fall day for the Halton Epic Tour.
BCC was well represented by Bob Knight, Chris Andrews, Neil Bacon, Jim Vandekas, Joseph, Wayne, Dave Adams and me. (I may have missed one or two others.) We all did the Gran Fondo route of 140 km. There are other distances available from 50 km to the 170 km Ultra Fondo.
Great event and well-organized, with police managing traffic on every busy corner. Well-stocked rest stops, clear directions and volunteers at every corner.
The route is stunning, going through beautiful wooden areas, farm land all on rolling terrain and hardly any cars. The roads are in great conditions, mostly super smooth.
There is a section of maybe 10 km on an unpaved hard-packed gravel road, and we had to be careful to stay in the tire tracks because the middle of the lane tends to gather loose gravel.
Chris and I rode mostly with Bob Knight's friends all wearing matching kits of their group called the "cicli buffoni" (cycling buffoons). These buffoons love a quick pace!
We formed a pack of maybe 20 riders and worked together, and stopped only once to replenish and stock up on gels and cliff bars. We also picked up Jim along the way.
Our group splintered toward the end. Despite eating a phenomenal number of cliff bars and gels, I was a bit cooked in the last 10-20 km, until an angel zipped comfortably by us on an old steel bike with mountain bike shoes. As I was pulling at the time, I seized this opportunity to glue myself to her wheel and get a free ride at a higher pace until we got to a big downhill where with hit speeds of over 75 km.
This long descent meant more climbing was in store for the last few kilometers, including a "coup de grâce" at the very end where a giant inflated gorilla met us at the foot of a monster hill appropriately callled "Gorilla Hill". They even had volunteers there to say "Welcome to Gorilla Hill"! The grade is probably 15%-20% and many riders just threw the towel and walked up.
The post-ride lunch was catered by Hero Burger and there were lots of exhibitors.
Bottom line: a ton of fun and great hammerfest with something for everyone.