(I need some more adjectives) this was one of the highlights of the year.
Alex S, Ian, Dave Shedd, Dave’s friend Peter, and I arrived at Blue Mountain Village for registration on Saturday in the pouring rain. For me, a little dread was setting in, the forecast for Sunday was “overcast and medium winds with a small chance of showers”. As it turned out the rain was a good excuse to have a beer at Windy O’Neal’s. The rain stopped by 5pm and off we went to our cottage in Thornbury. Alex cooked a great pasta dinner with special ‘no bonk’ ingredients. Then we set up our stuff, sorted out clothes and went to bed for an early start.
Sunday am, WOO HOO, the sun is coming up, the wind will be light and it will be glorious for the whole day! So over to BlueMountain , for the 7:30 start and find our start group. The line probably had 2000 riders! 2 routes, 100mile and 50mile. The setup is to self seed. In the 100mile, we were divided into RACER, SERIOUS, CASUAL. Coloured dots on your start number designated your choice, but the marshals were not strict and you could start where ever. Dave started a little further back in the line, Ian, Alex and I moved up close to the front of the serious, Peter kept moving up and rode with the RACERS. As well I saw Lou at the start and Nick and Peter Oyler at the finish.
This was a class event, Police all intersections, helicopter filming the start, lots of marshals, 4 feed zones with lots of water, Gatorade, gels, bananas, great Pasta and salad dinner at the finish, chip timing and spectacular route. Much of the roads are perfectly smooth, brand new pavement! In fact the whole route was amazingly smooth and with the police controls at the major intersections there were no stops, other than picking up food.
7:30am and we were off. The first km’s were at an easy pace, 32-35kph on the flats, is easy when you are in the middle of a big group. Flat for 5.5 km to the bottom of Osler Bluff Ski Club turn right and up the escarpment for the first real climb, about 5 km with 230m of rise. Picked a moderate pace and went steady to the top. We joined in a good working group of 10 or so and with a good rotation moved fast. The sun was rising, we were riding through beautiful rolling terrain, of forest and farms. There was mist in the fields, steam off the hay rolls, we were too fast to hear but I am sure the birds were chirping.
What goes up comes down! The first real decent took us down a smooth curvy road into the Pretty River provincial park. 10 km down, some in a tuck and very fast, all very fun!
Flats riding toward Wasaga Beach then turn south on Fairgrounds Rd. This was the second climb, rolling steps and not too difficult to a quick descent into Creemore. Ian and I stopped at the feed zone for bananas and water. Out of Creemore is a gentle rise for 10km then steeper last few km to get back up to the top of the escarpment and rolling terrain. Ian was climbing well and went ahead. After the climb I was on my own, but rolling terrain suits me so I was able to ride a good pace and by the next feed zone had caught back up to Ian. More rolling terrain with a causeway through pretty Lake Eugenia, then turn N for a 30km descent into the Beaver Valley. Don’t forget to look around to the left, the valley is beautiful. This road goes down one side and the up the other, and unfortunately what goes down must come up. King of the Mountains climb looms straight ahead of the descent. 4km with 200m rise. I shifted into easy gears and made my way up. Ian cruised off ahead, chasing some lady. Ride along the flats at the top of the W side of the valley then turn right to head down Grey 40. WOW, the view is amazing, the valley is off to the right, the edge of the escarpment and shore of Georgian Bay straight ahead, and the bay with glimpses of the far shore to the left. Into as aero a tuck as I could for my maximum speed of the day of 83kph!
Across the flats to Grey rd 2 and turn S to climb back to the top of the escarpment. Tired muscles, sore ass, but resolved to doing a good job, I settled into a rhythm and climbed. Made good time to Ravenna, which looks like the top, then you turn left and see an ugly steep rise, get up that one then a little down and another ugly steep rise and so on until 5 or 6 times, then a little flat section to one last short climb and hooray, the high point, the top of the Scenic caves descent. Marshals at the top warned to take is easy going down, as there is a 170 degree left turn halfway down, I sat up and occasionally braked until the turn, then let it go. A few km of flat and voila, the finish!
We all finished with smiles. For me Start 7:30am finish 1:20pm, 178 km in less than 6 hours!
One for the calendar next year! July 9-10 Collingwood, and maybe Lake George NY in August.
URL for this route is: