Ride for Heart was a blast. Everything worked out well – the weather, the route, the food, the Team (See PART 1 about forming my Corporate Team). I ended up cycling 128km today – a new daily record!
PRE-RIDE (31 km)
3am wake-up call. Unlike last year, I had to cycle 31 km from home to the start line. As Team Captain, I wanted to arrive at Better Living Centre (Corporate Team area) by 6am. The rain poured heavily as I ate a quick breakfast. When I headed out at 4:15am, it was only sprinkling & stopped a couple minutes later. Rain or not, I’m prepared with my booties!! 😀 The lack of traffic before 5am & the downhill route threw me off. I ended up arriving at 5:30am. Could’ve slept longer?
Being early ended up working well. Ample time for the long line-up to drop off pledges (donations to Heart & Stroke Foundation), breakfast (my 2nd breakfast!!), & welcoming my teammates as they arrived.
Our team was scheduled for 6:35am Team Photo. Perhaps I should’ve calmed down a bit. I rushed everyone to the photo booth as if my life depended on it – even those who were eating. Whoops. 😳
My job as a Captain is officially done. Phew!! It’s ride time!
THE RIDE (93km) – ROUTE MAP
So thankful for the miraculous weather. The forecasted rain held off the entire ride. The sun even peeked out of the heavy clouds a couple times. Ride for Heart offered 25km, 50km, & 75km routes. I signed up for 75km which includes doing a loop twice. I ignored the rules & did that loop 3 times!! It’s a once a year opportunity to ride on a highway! I wanted it to last as long as possible.
1st loop. My redemption for my poor results in Gran Fondo. I pushed myself to see what I’m capable of – maintaining at average 25km/hr pace. The uphill to York Mills was flatter than I remembered from last year. They call that a hill?? Hands positioned on the drops half the time, which was something new to me. It really helped fight the head wind!!
2nd loop. I wanted to cycle with some friends & somehow found them. I was too focused on pace during the 1st loop, ending up being mostly on my own. Under reduced pace, I took this “less-aggressive” riding opportunity to practice 1-hand riding. I may have finally managed to drink without stopping & take pictures on-the-go. Near the end, I hurried into the 3rd loop before the road was gated off (cutoff time). No one wanted to come with me, so I was cycling solo yet again.
3rd loop. Made it!! A lot less riders than the first 2 times. Wind was picking up. I started to feel tired & the usual “uncontrollable” hunger. My pace slowed. NOW I felt that uphill to York Mills!!!
Last 10km. My quads were done. A lot of “shut up legs” were needed to continue at adequate pace. The only disappointment in this ride occurred when the 5km “false finish” loop for 75km-ers was closed by the time I reached it. Lost 5km. 😦
Just like after any ride, I gravitated towards FOOD. So hungry! As a Corporate Team, I have access to hot catered buffet lunch. The line-up was extremely long!! Luckily, I found 2 fellow teammates already close to the buffet. I pretended I was standing with them all along. Wow, best post-ride lunch ever! Salmon, beef, chicken, assorted salad, fruits, cookies, coffee, & even couscous!!
Most of my teammates already left by the time I sat down for lunch. There were only 8 of us left!
With legs all burned out & body ready to slip into a coma from slack of sleep, the original plan to cycle home (another 31km) was scrapped. Train/bus to the rescue – leaving only a 4km ride home from the bus station.
Final Reflection (TOTAL 128km)
I’m thrilled about cycling 128km today. I hope to do a century (160km) ride next year!!
This year’s Ride for Heart has been a 6-month journey without any regrets. A special thanks to all my riders for their participation & all those who generously donated to the Team. Ride for Heart is 1 of my favourite organized cycling event. I wish the highways were closed for cycling every day!!
Will I do this again next year? The ride – YES!! Forming a Team – Haven’t decided. It really depends on whether my coworkers can take another year of my “hassling'”!! They probably need at least a few months to recover from all this cycling business!