All my scheduled ride leads have been rained out this year so I’ve yet to wear my fancy new red jersey but Sunday’s looking pretty good, at least for now. If the weather turns dodgy, I’ll make a call by 7 a.m. but let’s stay optimistic.
This route reverses one of my favourites through Rockwood and Everton and I’m excited to be descending into Everton instead of making the infernal climb out of it. Those interested in a shorter route can head home at any point along the pass over the north part of the city or when we make the stop in Maryhill at about 80km. There is a little section of gravel down to Mosborough but we’ll manage.
Bring money for a coffee stop and tail lights are a good idea. Load the route on your bike computer if you have one, here’s how.
UPDATE 7:15 AM CANCELLED: This is a tough one because the forecast says a 30 per cent chance of rain but the radar looks ominous. However, I always think it’s better to be cautious when it comes to club rides so I’m cancelling. Those that are still interested in a ride are welcome to go on their own.
I have yet to wear my fancy new red GCC ride leader jersey, so I’m stoked for this ride.
I’m also keen to try my Sunday route building approach, which is to have everyone complete the “Tour Medium” section of the route, then have those interested in adding some more kilometres continue on. I will (likely) be doing the shorter version of the route.
The route will take us North through Oustic, then onto the “three sisters” climbs of Sideroad 22 before making the turn into Erin and a stop at Holtem’s Bakery, purveyors of treats both sweet and savoury. We’ll cruise home along Wellington County Road 50 before tackling the climb out of Eden Mills back into Arkell.
For those interested in doing more, the extended remix adds another 37km or so down to Campbellville Road and back. I will assign a Road Captain to provide guidance for this group but it’s likely a good idea to load the route on your bike computer if you have one, here’s how.
See you on Sunday: I’ll be the guy with the white beard, red shirt and jolly disposition… hey, wait a second…
UPDATE 9 AM CANCELLED: I see that a bunch of riders have already made the prudent decision and removed their names from the signup list (which was very helpful in making a decision, thank you.) Based on that, the radar map and the hell that was P2A still fresh in my mind, I’m canceling the ride. See you next time.
UPDATE 8AM: I’m having a look at the radar and I can’t say I like what I see. I know the gravel grinders have pushed on but not sure that’s the right call for us roadies. Even if I cancel it, there’s nothing preventing a group of courageous souls from gathering at the library and doing their own thing: it just won’t be a club ride. Final decision posted at 9 a.m.
There’s a new format for these rides this year, one that formalizes the approach we occasionally adopted last year of combining the medium and long rides for as much of the route as possible. It makes building routes a bit more challenging but I really like building routes and riding in bigger groups on Sunday so I’m all for it.
My approach this week is to have everyone complete the “medium” section of the route, then have those interested in adding some more kilometres continue on. I will be doing the shorter version of the route because I’ve been feeling under the weather most of the week after riding for three-plus hours in the mud and rain at P2A last Sunday (the post-ride beers likely didn’t help either.)
The route will take us North through Oustic, then down 7th Line into Everton before stopping in Rockwood at the Whistle Stop for a refuel because the two other cafes in Rockwood aren’t open on Sunday morning. Then we’ll whip down to Moffat past Dar’s Delights (R.I.P. good doughnuts) then into Arkell via Watson Road.
For those interested in doing more, the extended remix adds another 50km or so down to Campbellville and back. I will assign a Road Captain to provide guidance for this group but let’s be honest, if you can do 125km in May, you probably don’t need to be told what to do. You should load the route on your bike computer if you have one, here’s how.
These rides are posted at 29 to 31 km/h and are No Drop so we’ll stay together and regroup if things break apart on climbs. We’ll go at a pace the whole group can reasonably sustain, remembering that’s OK to let the stronger riders do more work. I’ve built an entire cycling hobby on the benefits of this principle.
Alright, see you Sunday. Note the 10 a.m. start time. The weather doesn’t look too bad for a change… better than last Sunday, anyway, though that’s an extremely low bar as my immune system will try and tell you.
I have a confession to make: I’m kind of sick of road riding.
Don’t get me wrong, I still love it: of all the different kinds of cycling I do, it is by far my favourite and just looking at my road bike still fills me with that little kid excitement and sense of anticipation. The speed, the intensity, the comradery…
But with the end of weekday group rides, cooler weather and shorter days, road riding doesn’t have the same allure it does during the dog days of summer. Fall feels like the time for gravel and I’m already looking ahead to the snow and fat bike season. The Zwift membership has been reactivated and trainer set up reassembled. I actually enjoy the variety that cycling in Canada demands.
That said, there are still a few good days left and some places I’ve been meaning to get to. A couple of times this season I’ve mapped out a run to Holtem’s Bakery in Erin only to be thwarted by the weather so I’m throwing it out there one final time in the hopes of getting hands of some of that tasty goodness.
Anyway, let’s head into the breach one more time my friends before putting the trusty skinny-tire steed away for the winter. If nothing else, I promise the fritters will be fantastic.
Listen, I get it. It’s Thanksgiving and most of us have things to do and trying to fit a ride in with family obligations and turkey cooking and even a stupid playoff baseball game might be tough. It’s the end of the long summer season and we’ve already made plenty of time for cycling so perhaps, in this particular case, we should prioritize other things.
Or, and just hear me out here, maybe we can squeak in just a quick ride, just a wee rip before turkey time. We’ll feel better about gorging ourselves if we burn some calories first, more tolerant of vaguely annoying extended family members if we’ve spent a little time Zenned out on two wheels: among the things to be thankful for, surely cycling makes the list.
So how about a compromise? There is no long and fast route this week because even ride leaders have to know when a bridge across the gap is a bridge too far. But I have devised a plan that might, just might, have a little something for everyone.
We’ll do a quick 60km loop through Hespeler, no stops. We’ll wave at the Four Fathers patio, breeze by the coffee shop on Queen Street – no time for dilly-dallying today – and finish up at the south end Starbucks. Two hours, with a bullet.
For those of you with more time to spare, there will be a longer route option that adds another 50km or so. I will not be joining for this bit because I like being married so it will be leaderless in practice but not in spirit because we are all leaders on the bike at this point. Might make sense to load the route on your bike computer if you have one, here’s how.
So let’s give thanks the right way on Sunday: from the saddle, in spandex with our riding friends. Everything else is gravy.
This time of year always makes me a little bit sad and lazy. The days are getting shorter and weekday rides have come to an end: maintaining the fitness I’ve built over the summer gets harder and harder and the couch and the chicken wings are right over there, ready to fill the emptiness in my biking soul.
But wait. There’s one more big club event on Sept. 18 and some cool events this fall. I love my road bike but gravel rips in colder weather is fun, too. Fat biking in the winter is a trip. Zwift isn’t that bad, in moderation. And Sunday rides are still a thing. Maybe I should just keep pedaling and see how it goes.
With that in mind, this Sunday we’ll join forces with Daryl’s Long and Fast group for the run out towards Erin, then loop back through Rockwood for a quick coffee before some late morning hill climbing back to Arkell.
So once more into the breach, dear friends. Summer might be coming to an end, but our two-wheeled journey never stops.
Dar’s Delights has been a staple in the metropolis of Moffat since I can remember. Hers is a unique combination, to say the least: fine baked goods – the doughnuts are simply outstanding – paired with a personality so curmudgeonly it borders on parody. And don’t ask to use the bathroom unless you want to be stabbed in the neck with a set of metal tongs. Soon, however, Dar’s Delights will be no more: she is closing in early September to “enjoy” retirement. I, for one, will miss both the fruits of her labour and her unique world view. Only a heart of gold produces treats that good, hidden as it may be under layers of fully-formed crust. On Sunday, we will pay homage to Dar by swinging by to sample her wares and take some of her crap. It will be a combined ride, a mediumish distance done at the fastest pace the group can sustain. We will eat doughnuts, if there are any left, and revel in an experience that will soon be just a tasty, and inherently complex, memory.
RIDE CANCELLED: There is a “Special Weather Statement” that says heavy rain and thunderstorms are possible this morning and the radar is a sea of green and yellow. Oh well, I suppose we need the rain…
The quality and potential enjoyment of any given ride is defined by many things: the route, the weather, your riding companions, the functional performance of your trusty steed. And while not all adventures contain a mid-ride stop, they can add – or subtract – tremendous value.
We all have our favourites and this Sunday we will, weather permitting, check out one of mine: Holtom’s Bakery in Erin. Founded in 1946, it gets 4.7 out of 5 stars from more than 200 Google Reviews, a notoriously tough crowd. It features a plethora of sweet and savory treats, with nary a weak link among them.
Part of the appeal is the work required to get there: the section along Wellington Road No. 22 is lumpy and the route features almost 700m of climbing in less than 80km. I don’t particularly enjoy hills but for Holtom’s, it’s worth it. We will keep the pace reasonable and regroup regularly.
The weather at this point isn’t looking great and I’ll post a status update an hour before. We shall, as always remain optimistic: those tasty apple fritters demand it.
As Guelph has grown over the last decade or so, one of the many downsides has been the increased traffic outside the city. Roads that were previously quiet and safe – Downey, County 29, Marden, just to name three – have become sketchy corridors full of impatient drivers in luxury SUVs and unnecessarily large pick up trucks doing high-speed passes with inches to spare. Quel dommage.
On the plus side, this development has forced me to find new routes, to explore places I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. I’m a creature of habit, more inclined to do the same things over and over rather try something new. But forced out of my comfort zone, I’m usually pleasantly surprised by what I find.
This Sunday route features a run down 7th line into Everton. I’ve done it on club rides before, including a few Thursday’s ago, but I always forget how nice it is. So we’re going to do it on Sunday, along with familiar staples like Jones Baseline and Fourth Line and Victoria Road. We’ll stop in Rockwood at either Heaven on 7 or the Eramosa River Cafe (or even the godforsaken Country Style at the gas station if it comes to that.)
John Lyall is doing a 125km leg-breaker starting from the Y on Kortright down to Dundas for his Long & Fast and it should be tough but fun. But this is truly a different option: shorter, flatter and, hopefully, a little quieter. Choice is a good thing, especially living in a city where the pace of growth is clearly beyond our control.
Bringing lights is always a good idea.
Club kit is on sale again for only one week. Click here for great GCC riding apparel!
Load the route on your bike computer if you have one, here’s how.
UPDATE 7:05 a.m.: The weather forecast actually improved a bit but the radar doesn’t look great and after riding in the rain on Thursday, I don’t recommend it. We’re also down to three riders so I’m going to err on the sign of caution and cancel it.
Cycling is often about optimism. Convincing yourself you have the legs to keep up, the will to hang on, the courage to go for the blue sign in the surge at the end of a ride (it’s not a sprint because sprints are definitely, absolutely, for sure not allowed on club rides.) And sometimes you just need to believe the weather is going to change.
Sometimes, that faith is misguided. Last Thursday, for example, we challenged the radar gods and were punished with a thorough soaking, sketchy conditions and general chaos. This is the downside of optimism, wanting and hoping for something to be a certain way only to have your hopes and dreams crushed. Ever watched the group pedal away, unable to do a single thing about it? That’s optimism gone horribly awry.
Still, we keep the faith. I’m posting this ride despite a decidedly foreboding weather forecast. I need it to change. I believe it will change. Because I want to ride.
When this ride happens (not if, when) we will START AT THE Y ON KORTRIGHT and join the long and fast group for the downhill, downwind rip towards Dundas where we will stop at Domestique, an exceedingly cool, cycling-themed coffee shop, before starting the climb for home on the famed Sydenham Road. The ride home will be long and mostly uphill. You will be tested. Your faith may waver. You will make it and be rewarded.
Or you will check here at 7 a.m. and have your plans ruined by Mother Nature in her cruelest form. The price of optimism is an occasional disappointment but that’s OK: we will ride again and it will be that much sweeter because of it.
I think we can all agree that, in most cases, cycling with other people is more fun than cycling alone. I mean, we joined a cycling club and that would indicate a certain inclination towards collectivism. And we might also agree that the more people in the group, the more fun it can be.
With that in mind, I have conspired with Deanna to merge a portion of the medium and moderate Sunday ride with the long and fast version. Does that mean our ride will be medium and fast? It does not. Will the other ride be long and medium paced? Inconceivable. Instead, we ride together at a pace we can all sustain for a time and then we, the medium and moderates among the group, will make our way home at whatever pace we need to. Meanwhile, the long and fast types can rip it up for as long as they see fit.
The route Deanna recommended heads south and therefore is largely downhill in the early going. The uphill journey home will likely be the moderate part (but with a forecasted tailwind and a stop in Carlisle for empty, fully-justifiable carbs.)
I like this plan. I especially like it because it means I can ride with more people and therefore have more fun. You should come and have fun, too. After all, isn’t that why you joined a cycling club?
I like riding my bike. I like looking at bikes in bike stores. I like coffee. I like riding down really big hills instead of riding up them (though that can be fun, too.) I like the Ellis Chapel and I like finishing a ride with an (expected) tailwind. I like that, apparently, it’s summer now. I like the new club kit and riding with a bunch of other people who are also wearing it. You know what else I like? That we can do all these things on Sunday at 8 a.m.
UPDATE 10 A.M: RIDE CANCELLED. With wet roads and more rain in the forecast, I think we’ll make discretion the better part of valour today. Sigh.
For our first Medium Moderate Sunday Road Ride, we will head down to the Flying Monkey Bike Shop and Coffee Bar in Campbellville where we will sip java and ogle all the fancy bikes before heading home through the metropolis of Crief and past the Ellis Chapel. It was built in 1861 and is the only known chapel in Puslinch with easy access to McDonald’s french fries. Alas, we won’t be stopping at the chapel (or for french fries) though if you feel the need to pray to the cycling gods at some point on the ride that’s completely up to you: this is beyond my purview as ride leader.
As this is a new ride, I’m sure there are questions as to the speed, intensity and overall approach. In a nutshell, we will adhere to the officially posted average of 27 to 29 km/h and work together to make it fun for everyone. If you are stronger, you should expect to pull more. If you are still getting back into fighting shape after a long COVID winter of wine drinking and potato chip consumption, well, you can hang out at the back with the rest of the fun kids. As this was my approach to off-season training, I plan to do most of my finest leading while dangling precariously off the rear of the bunch.
OK, this is already the longest ride preview in GCC club history (which is only like 4 days but still.) Come out on Sunday and let’s ride bikes, drink coffee and make our offerings to the cycling gods. It will be fun, I promise.