Tour de Norfolk (Delhi, ON – July 21, 2012) this year was perfection – best weather & new routes with some exciting rest stops!! Arriving a tad late (long 2 hr drive!), I started the 100km ride at least 15min past the 8:30am start. My friends ditched me for a shorter distance. No worries – just give me a bike & no one gets hurt. 😛
0-10km. I decided to ride with a friendly couple I met at registration. We hit 2 relatively steep hills at the get-go. I thought this route was flat? Being a “free woman” today, I set my own pace. How hard can I push myself?? I ended up losing the couple at an intersection. I carried on feeling a bit devious, but I was keen on setting a Personal Best.
The rest of the route was in fact mostly flat.
11km-18km. Another couple (couple#2) passed me. I tried to keep up. They really helped push my pace, traveling between 28-30km/hr on flats. I eventually lost the battle as the gap between us got wider.
18km. There were 2 riders in front of me whom I realized were on hybrids. No way are they kicking my behind! I pushed hard & eventually passed them. I was back to chasing couple#2 from afar until I reached the 1st rest stop.
26km. 1st rest stop at Wind-Del Park. Nothing special about the location but it was much needed. I was starving! My 5:30AM breakfast had long been digested.
58km. Lunch stop at Long Point Eco Adventures. We were served a 6″ Subway sandwich.
The food wasn’t the star, but WOW was the scenery just breathtaking. We were sitting up on the rocks ….
Overlooking people on zip lines:
All fueled up & energized, I pushed hard again thinking about the last rest stop – the one I had been highly anticipating since the start (for a good reason!). I wanted to get there QUICK!
83km. Last rest stop at Golden Leaf Estate Winery. This new winery was only opened in October 2011, serving mostly 2011 wine. I was hoping for some complementary samplings. Some riders said samples weren’t offered. Refusing to believe this, I got a banana & headed inside to investigate. It wasn’t looking good, no staff was around. As I checked out their products, I finally saw a staff at the counter. Phew, samples WERE complementary!!! 🙂 I tried a Red (Baco Noir) & a White (Vidal/Riesling). Both were dry & fruity, just the way I like my wine!
83km-104km. Feeling only slightly buzzed, I set off again. Ouch, my legs felt like bricks. I didn’t want the last 20km to destroy my earlier efforts. So I pushed on maintaining above 25km/hr at all times. At 100km, I kept wondering how long this route was over-measured. Glad to finally see the finish line!
A well organized ride – The signage was clearly spray-painted on the road. And I absolutely enjoyed the new rest stops. Much better than last year!!
Lesson learned: “You can’t count on coasting on flat routes!!” I pretty much pedaled at high gears throughout the entire ride. Without benefits of downhills to gain speed, constant work was necessary to maintain pace. I always found myself at too high a cadence & had to remind myself to crank up the gears to avoid wasted efforts.