Three and a half hours after setting out from home on Sunday, I was rolling up to Willow Beach on Lake Simcoe. It’s pretty underwhelming as beaches go, but that didn’t stop me from celebrating by taking my shoes off and wading around in the cool water while I ate my lunch. The ride back home was into a full-on headwind, destroying the usual downhill advantage of the ride back to Toronto. This was the third time I’ve tried this trip this summer. The first time I turned around after an exhausting traversal of a muddy, overgrown trail, but I wasn’t really expecting to make it all the way up that day anyway. My second attempt was cut short by time constraints just 20 km from Lake Simcoe.
It wasn’t the first time I’ve ridden up to Lake Simcoe, but it was the first time that I’ve gone all the way up and back in a single day. The other times I’ve made the trip, I either stayed overnight at Sibbald Point or cheated by driving over the Oak Ridges Moraine to start and finish my ride near Newmarket. The round trip was 154 km, with seven hours in the saddle and about an hour of breaks. I just didn’t have it in me to ride around Toronto for another twenty minutes to make it a full century. Still, it was my longest ride of the year by about 35 km and my longest overall since riding to Toronto from Niagara Falls a couple of years ago.
I really like the challenge of pushing myself on a long bike ride, but I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for a Hairshirt. Still, I feel that a 200 km ride is within reach. Probably not this year, but maybe next.
Two important lessons from this ride:
- The next time I ride anywhere near this far, it’s going to be a bit cooler than Sunday’s humidex of two and a half jillion degrees.
- My current carrying capacity of four and a half litres of water and Gatorade isn’t enough to last 150 km on a hot day. Are there any good bike-mounted hydration options that hold more than a couple of water bottles? I’d love some kind of frame-mounted system that would add another 2-3 litres to what I currently have. I suppose I could mount another couple of bottles under my seat or on the handlebars. Until then, I’ll just keep stopping at variety stores or farmhouses for refills when my water gets low.