This weekend we were invited to a friend's cottage northeast of Peterborough. With Canada Day being on a Friday, I wanted to leave early Friday morning to avoid the traffic heading out of the city as well I wanted to ride part of the way. The cottage is over 200 km away and that's too far to ride so the plan was for Tammy to let me off about 100 km away and I would ride the rest of the way. I wanted to be on the highway by 8:00 am but as usual, it took us forever to get out the door and then after driving for 10 minutes, I forgot my water bottles in the fridge so I had to turn around. So we didn't get going until close to 10:00 am by which time the highway heading east of the city was just brutal. Within 15 minutes of getting on the highway, we were crawling along at 40 km\hr as traffic was bad. I was so annoyed by the late start I drove right by the place where I wanted to be dropped off. I was just on the outside of Peterborough before I realized I drove too far. In hind sight, it turned out to be a good thing.
Here's the route I took. Ride to Kassahabog Lake (the link might not work so you have to refresh your browser). If you look on the left hand side of the page, there are a bunch of options including to turn on elevation for the route. Starting along Division Road which runs parallel to Highway 7, there were a lot of rolling hills but not as bad as Muskoka. The weather was pretty warm but traffic was very light or non existence on this secondary road but at one point it turned into a packed hard crushed gravel road. I didn't really like riding my new bike on that road but after checking my map, I didn't have much of a choice but it only lasted a couple of kilometers. I eventually headed south (even though the cottage is north) simply to avoid riding on Highway 7 as its a two lane highway with minimal shoulder and very heavily travelled. I rode through a couple of small towns before heading east and then finally north. I reached Havelock which is famous for their country music Havelock Jamboree. This small town of five thousand will get over 100,000 people in August.
The town was pretty busy for Canada Day but I didn't hang around. I started heading north on Route 46 to Kassahabog lake and while the road didn't have any shoulder, it wasn't too busy. I just hoped I didn't get smoked by some drunkin' cottager. The road had lots of false flats and I was constantly gearing down. On the outside skirts of Havelock, I realized I wasn't going to make it with the amount of water I had left. I probably had less than one bottle of Amino Vital and a little bit of water so I stopped off at a locals house and begged for a two bottle refill. The lady was kind enough to add some ice cubes but in this heat, they didn't last long. The turn off to my friend's cottage was Fire Route 75 and by Fire Route 65, I was barely hanging on. There was a tough double hill climb around the 65 km mark and I stopped at the top of the hill where I promptly got bit by massive horse flies. Talk about an incentive to keep riding! I counted down the Fire Routes until I hit Fire Route 75. Thank god!!!! I was cramping pretty bad in both calves as the sun and heat were taking its toll pretty quickly. The Fire Route is nothing more than a gravel road carved out of the woods and my friend suggested I call him for a pick up but the horse flies had other ideas so I rode my bike down the final 2.5 km. Bad idea. The flies were even worse as the road cut through the forest and there was no wind and I didn't want to go fast because I thought I would either get hit by a car flying around the blind corners or run over a rock and crash in the gravel. Somewhere along the way, I lost my rear light as it must have jarred loose. I almost wiped out when a car passed me and I pulled over to the side where the gravel was deeper. I felt my rear tire sliding out and I knew if I went down, the gravel would cause a lot of damage to me and my new bike but I was able to peddle my way out of danger. Whew. I finally made it to the cottage! It was only 75 km but I was wiped out. The hills and sun took its toll and its a good thing I missed the earlier starting point and eliminated the extra 30 kilometers! I don't think I would have made it. All throughout the day I was constantly thirsty and drank a ton of water. I only had about six beers for all of Saturday. I woke up at least three times to pee during the night and on Sunday morning I was so thirsty.
I also brought up my wet suit to do an open water swim and so on Sunday, with my friend in the canoe beside me, I swam down the lake. This is my first OW swim and I remembered last year's first swim was at Guelph Olympic and I died. Its a completely different feel and effort between swimming in a pool and OW with a wetsuit. Within 10 minutes I was exhausted and had to rest a couple of minutes. I started out way too fast and paid for it. I kept having to stop and rest for a couple of minutes while my friend looked on with amusement. He's a non athlete and just shakes his head at some of the things I do. So all in all, the OW swim was a disaster as it took me about 43 minutes to swim 2.1 km with a least 5-6 stops where I treaded water or did breast stroke.
Needless to say, this Sunday's Peterborough Aqua/Bike Half Iron might be more like a disaster as this weekend's workout showed that I wasn't a fit as I thought I was.