It's 2300h on the 12th of August and I'm getting ready for and excited about a long trip on my bicycle. The original plan is to bike a round trip along the southeastern end of Ontario, from Ottawa to Windsor and back. I'll warn any readers in advance that I may have to cut the ride short and turn around at Kitchener.
If I go with the original plan, the round trip should be about 2000km, and it will take me the full two weeks plus the surrounding weekends to accomplish. If I use up the full 16 days my schedule has granted me, then I would need to ride aproximately 125km a day in order to do this.
Unfortunately, I have not been doing enough cycling to get ready for this and may have to cut my plans back a bit. I was slapped in the face with this revelation two weekends ago when I rode my bicycle up to my Aunt and Uncle's cottage for an annual family party. I was planning on riding there one day, resting the next day, and then biking back the following day. It would have been around 200km each way and I was looking at this as being the "acid test". If I could make that trip I would be fine with the one down to Windsor and back.
I felt great on the way up to that cottage, or at least for the first 100km or so. After that I started to feel a bit sore, but still enjoyed it for a while. I was probably around 150km out when I started to "bonk", which is a sporting term that refers to a state one is in when their body has drained all of it's immediately available energy. After I had gone 170km, two of my Mom's sisters drove by and picked me up, saving me a good two or three hours of agony going the rest of that trip. To top it off, I got a ride back toward Ottawa as well on my return trip, meaning I only needed to do about 80km that day.
To summarize, if that was the test run, I failed it miserably. That brings us to plan B. I will ride from Ottawa to Kitchener, adding an extra day to that stretch as well, making the rides a little shorter. When I reach Kitchener, I'll decide then whether to go all the way to Windsor or to turn around at that point. If I do turn around then my round trip will probably be only about 1200km.
So here's my plan for the first leg of the journey:
- Sat. Aug. 13th
Ride from my place in Ottawa to my Dad's place near Bishop's Mills. That should be about 65km, a nice, gentle start to the trip.
- Sun. Aug. 14th
From Dad's place to the home of Ben and Anna-Maria MacDonald, some friends of mine who live near Mississippi Station and are kind enough to put me up for the night. I'll also stop by my Mom's place in Lanark en route, and pick up the sandals that I accidentally left there last time I was around. That should be about 100km.
- Mon. Aug. 15th
From Ben & Anna's place to Peterborough, where I'll hit the first motel or B&B that I can find and crash for the night. That should be just shy of 170km.
- Tues. Aug. 16th
From Peterborough to Toronto, where I'll meet an old friend of mine, Benjamin LaHaise, and make use of his couch for the night. That'll be about 130km.
- Wed. Aug. 17th
From Toronto to Kitchener, visiting my Mom's sister Donna-Lee and the rest of her Murphy troupe. That trip should be about 120km. I should probably stop in Georgetown on the way, visiting my grandmother and some of my Dad's siblings (I suppose I'd better call them. I have not yet done so as I type this sentence).
And that is where we hit the aforementioned decision time. If I'm feeling great at that point, I may keep on going, stopping in London, Chatham, and then Windsor. That plus the return trip in the same number of days would have me back in town the night before I return to work. If I'm not feeling so fine at that point, I'll turn around and head back, leaving me with five days to lollygag around Ottawa before returning to the office.
As a final note, I will try to update this journal on an almost-daily basis, but if I don't update on certain days, it doesn't mean I'm dead on the road. For instance, I know I won't have internet access on the evening of the 14th, and possibly not on the 15th either. But aside from that, I'll try to keep posting.