Tour de Mississauga 2011

UPDATE: Cindy & I made it on the thumbnail of Tour de Mississauga 2011 goodlife video!!!
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What a weekend!  After Tour de Greenbelt yesterday, it was time for the 4th annual Tour de Mississauga today!!  Registration cost?  FREE!!  You won’t find THAT anywhere! 😛  This event keeps growing each year, reaching a record high of 1,300 participants!  😀  This year’s route focuses on the NE quadrant of the city.

Route maps, electrolytes, & my all-time favourite bars: Larabar, Taste of Nature, & Clif Bar. I’m also trying a new bar today – Banana Bar

Whether I was too excited or too hungry, I didn’t sleep well last night.  I ended up getting out of bed at 5:45am & made breakfast.  While carbo-loading, I studied today’s route & prepped for the ride.  I registered for the 100km Invesco Challenge Ride with the hope of finally reaching my goal of completing at least 100km in one day.

Since this was a free event, there was only 1 rest stop.  I knew beforehand that the refreshment there wouldn’t be plentiful from what I recall last year.  So, having a good supply of my favourite energy bars was a MUST! 😀

The ride started at the newly renovated Mississauga Celebration Square.  It was only a 5km bike ride there from my house & I arrived at 7:30am.  Since my brother pre-picked up my Registration Package for me yesterday (while I was at Tour de Greenbelt), I avoided the hassle of checking in.

Celebration Square. So empty at 7:30am!

Check-in at Celebration Square

Volunteer marshals at the back

More riders are arriving!

Whole Foods Market was on-site handing out breakfast snacks: bananas & granola bars

Whole Foods set up at the green tent

This year was extra special because my friend, Cindy, rode with me. 🙂  It was chilly again in the AM – thank goodness for my neon jacket!

The starting time for the 100km riders was 8AM.  We were slightly delayed by the pre-ride speeches, given by MCAC members & Mayor Hazel McCallion!  🙂

Mayor McCallion

Riders listening attentively

We took our positions at the start & the ride was led off by someone riding the penny farthing (a bike with a funky century-old design).

In line for the 100K start!

We were riding in a huge group for the first 10km.  However, the group eventually got smaller as some fell behind at red lights.  The first half of the route was mostly on commercial roads, making them almost traffic-free on a Sunday.  Cyclists basically owned the entire lane.  LOVE IT!  😀

Volunteer pouring lemonade at the rest stop

Cindy & I had the pleasure of leading the group for a couple of km until we reached the rest stop at ~42km into the ride.  Our pace was quite decent, especially Cindy’s!  She was stellar at hills. 😉 My congestion & sniffling (I had a cold) were once again a hinder as I tried to breath through my non-existent airway!  😮  The rest stop offered Voortman cookies & lemonade.  I had neither, but I did enjoy my Banana Bar.  It was so good!!  😀

Riders arriving at the rest stop

Cindy & I set out on our own once we headed out again.  The route led us to Courtneypark Drive East, right beside the Toronto Pearson Airport.  We met a long uphill there.  On the downhill, there were arrows signaling a right turn at the bottom.  We did just that & ended up on a gravel trail for the 60km riders (green arrows).  Our 100km arrows (orange) completely disappeared.  But we kept going & finally reached a road we already biked on.  Uh oh, totally lost!! 😕  We bumped into 5 other 100km riders who were just as lost & confused.  We even flagged down the police for help.  HAHA 😆

Bike parking

Luckily, Allan (one of the MCAC organizers) suddenly showed up.  He was also riding the 100km & led the way.  We ended up repeating part of the route, which meant going up that uphill again. 🙄  It turns out we weren’t supposed to “turn” right at the downhill, but “veer” to a 1km gravel road on the right (the gravel was brutal for a roadie!).  Oh well, getting lost is all part of the fun esp in a group. 🙂  It ended up being a good thing because I got to meet Allan.  I spoke with him prior to the event on Facebook.  So, meeting him in person was a treat & he even remembers me.  Cool! 🙂

We rode & chatted with him for the rest of the ride.  Fun times!  🙂  We were going at quite a pace too….flat roads at 27-28km/hr.  With 15km left in the ride, I was starving & needed food BADLY.  I just wanted to get the ride done!  Maybe that’s why I was able to keep up the pace!! 😕

We made it back to Celebration Square at 1:30pm & hung up our bikes.  Time for lunch!

Line up for lunch?! 😦

Hard at work making burgers

All those burgers!!

Volunteers handing out burgers

View of seating area

Excited for lunch….& I’m not even a burger person! Also had coleslaw & potato salad.

There was even a band on stage during lunch.  As a grabbed a seat to eat, they were singing one my current favourite songs, Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the People! 😀

Free entertainment!

We relaxed for a bit before I biked home.  I biked a total of 110km today through the combination of completing the 100km route, the extra distances from getting lost, and biking to & from the Celebration Square.  😀 I’m really happy to finally reach my “biking” goal this year & then some, especially with a cold! 😀

110km in 5hr4min. Avg speed skewed by the gravel road!

I had such a good time.  Then again, I say that after every bike tour!  🙂  I had a fantastic time biking with Cindy & Allan.  I’m starting to wonder how I can bike solo on tours now!  I love having biking buddies.  Thanks Cindy & your hubby for driving down for this tour! 😀  Glad you guys were here!

This has been a bittersweet weekend.  I had an amazing time, but this is probably the grand finale of bike tours for me this year as the biking season winds down.  😦 However, I’ll probably do more biking before the snow rolls in…..just not publicly organized events!  I’m so sore right now.  It’s a good thing I planned out this weekend & already requested a vacation day from work tomorrow!! 😀

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2 thoughts on “Tour de Mississauga 2011

    • Food is part of the joy of biking!! I love my carbs & energy bars!! 😛 But maybe I shouldn’t have done it with this burger. The more I look at that picture, it kind of looks really gross. I’m so glad I didn’t have time to over-analyze it when I was eating it yesterday. 😆

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