This year’s Ride for Heart (ROUTE MAP) had similar forecast as last year, showers. The difference this year? The rain actually came …. in a downpour. Ride for Heart is an annual charity ride on the DVP and Gardiner Expressway, 2 major highways in Toronto. This was my 3rd time and I still believe it is by far the best organized charity rides out there. Although not a captain this year, I was part of the Corporate Challenge with another team, Team Motorola. I met Hugh, team captain, in a Captain’s workshop back in February. Glad to be part of his team, amazing job!
After the 4:15AM wake up call, I was whisked off for a short 5km warmup ride from Humber Bay Park to the Better Living Center. During this short time, I met Mike who belonged to another Corporate team. I rode with him until his left pedal and crank suddenly departed from his bike. Poor guy!!!
After breakfast with the Team, Hugh and I headed off at 6:30AM for our 75km route which I initially planned on extending to 100km by completing 3 loops (Bayview to York Mills Loop). That was when the torrential downpour happened. We were way too excited to get the ride underway to care. As I ziplocked my phone and Hugh put his Garmin to the test against water, we braved the downpour. Luckily, it was short-lived and stopped after a few minutes.
With the ugly weather, no sunrise was witnessed as I rode up the ramp to the highway towards the East. I rode hard at the get-go, motivated by my pacing buddy. My right hamstring was a bit angry during the incline to York Mills, but I ignored it and continued to pound the pedals, taking advantage of the tailwind. We skipped all the rest stops until the one at York Mills, the turnaround point. We had been riding at a solid pace (28.6kph). I needed a banana.
The return from York Mills to Bayview was all headwind. Hugh bravely sacrificed himself, pulling me the whole way while periodically taking a swig out of his “Popeye Juice” (aka, gels in a squirt bottle) as he trudged on. I was thoroughly enjoying myself, even while squinting through his “Rooster Tail” (aka, water spraying from the back of his wheel). At our 2nd time at the York Mills Turnaround, we were still feeling strong and maintaining our average pace (28.2kph).
Hugh pulled me again against the headwind from York Mills. At the fork between 75km and homestretch, I decided to abort the 3rd loop. 2 times were enough and frankly, the route was getting repetitive and I didn’t want to venture out solo. There was a bit of traffic jam in one section where everyone funneled into one lane, resulting in some walking. Hugh pulled a bit more, and finally, I stepped up and pulled a bit until the final 10km loop to South Kingsway. Final result, average 27.8kph and 76.78km.
Lunch and Group photo time!!
The ride was a blast. Next year, I plan to captain a Team again. Hopefully it’ll work out …
Do you have a favourite charity ride?