Ride for Heart

Ride for Heart, 2008

After years of stubbornly refusing to wake up at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning, I finally made it out to the Ride for Heart today. I thought it went fairly smoothly. I got to Exhibition Place just before 6:30 a.m. and settled into the starting chute for the 75 km ride at 6:32, about 15 minutes before the scheduled start. Quite a number of late arrivals rode along the adjacent sidewalk or lawn to get to the front instead of taking up their spots at the end of the line. Nice.

Although well within my range once I’m in cycling shape for the year, today’s total ride length of 98 km (including 23 km round-trip from home to the starting/finish line) over four and a half hours was two hours and 40 km longer than I’d gone since October. You betcha I’m sore. But it’s a good sore. And next weekend, I’ll ride farther.

Right at the front of the starting chute was a large group of riders who raced the entire 75 km. I don’t know who won, but I do know that the peloton (and its police escort) lapped me around the 40 km mark.

I was surprised by the number of people who got flat tires or were injured along the ride. I stopped to ask at least a dozen people with flats if they needed assistance (one of the moral duties of those who carry tool kits), but they all waved me on. Injuries along the route included a guy who was screaming in pain as he was hoisted onto an ambulance stretcher, a woman with a nasty gash on her head, several other people receiving roadside attention from paramedics, and at least two other ambulance sightings. All but one of the injuries I saw were on straight sections of the track, and the course wasn’t really that crowded after the start. Another guy was walking with his bike tilted up on the rear wheel, the badly twisted front wheel hanging uselessly in the air.

While I was pondering the causes of all the accidents, a woman passed me on the right, looked back at me as her rear wheel slowly drew even with my front, said, “Passing on the left,” and then cut right into my wheel. I would almost certainly have joined the injured if I hadn’t braked in time or if someone had been behind me. Just goes to show you that idiots drive all kinds of vehicles.

It was good to finally get out to this event, although it felt a bit like Friday’s Big Critical Mass Adventure took the wind out of some of the novelty.

5 thoughts on “Ride for Heart

  1. Hey first blog I’ve found re todays ride…….was great fun wasn’t it!…. but…… this crazy “passing on the right now I’m passing on the left ” woman …………ermmmmmmm what was she wearing?? Can you remember ???

    B

  2. She was wearing a well-aged yellow cycling jacket and a matching helmet cover.

    It was definitely a fun time. I’d order up some sunnier weather for next time, though. At least it didn’t rain.

  3. Ha! thank goodness I thought for a minute you were talking about me!! I did do the pass on the right to a guy after being pushed off course by some one else then someone else in front put the brakes on so i yelled I was going for the gap on my left and I thought he shouted OK………..so I sprinted and went and and ………… I’ve worried about this all day :- !!

    It was a great day though…..I was just seeing what time I could do it in and a few guys drafted me then returned the favour and two just offered a pull later in the ride…. must have seen me flagging near the end 🙂 it was a great day and I felt that cyclists camaraderie big time…….wasn’t impressed with the lack of helmets though it should be mandatory in an event like that ……….

  4. In the five years that I’ve done the Ride, I’ve had a dozen close calls related to irresponsible passers, especially those pelotons – they often surprise the hell out of me by pulling by within an inch of me at a fantastic speed. This wouldn’t be as much of a surprise if I were hugging the left divider, but it most frequently happens when I’m by myself in the center lane with loads of space on either side. I have to admit, it often fills me with glee when I see one of them being bandaged up a few kilometers later. I was shocked to see the fallen rider in the center of the road this year, though, with paramedics frantically working around him or her and volunteers directing riders around the scene. I’m still wondering what the hell caused that accident – as you said, on a straight section of road – and if the person is ok.

  5. Casey, I can’t say for certain, but I think that nasty accident is the one described at Fixed Xor Broken.

    I understand the appeal of racing and like watching it, but you can no more race during the Ride for Heart than you can on the Martin Goodman Trail on a summer weekend. They really should be separate events.

    Barb, I was pretty sure that you weren’t responsible. I highly doubt that the culprit even realizes how close she came to an accident. She just seemed oblivious to what she was doing. I’m still quite certain that despite the fact that she turned and spoke to me while looking me in the eye, she had no idea I was there. You know the type: looking, but not seeing. Dangerous on a bike, deadly in a car.

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