Monday, July 13, 2009

Tour de Gatineau Park

This was my last l-o-n-g training ride to prepare me for the Wilderness 101 race at the end of the month. The goal was to get in aprox. 140 kms - it was as much of a mental hurdle as it was a physical one to get through. I'm confident that I can ride 100 miles (160 km), as I've done it before . . . . but if you're a regular reader of my blog you probably know it's been playing with my head lately. So yesterday's ride was meant to be a mental confidence builder.

clicky clicky the map to make big

The route:
home - Gameline - #15 - Kingsmere - Ridge (#1) - #4 - Fortune - O'Brien (#36) - #50 - #52 - #53 - Lac Phillippe - #55 - Lac Taylor - Lac Phillippe - #50 - #36 - O'Brien - Meech Lake Rd. - #40 - Ridge (#1) - Fire Tower - #1 - #3 (ssssssshhhhh - don't tell!) - Fortune Parkway - #1 - Kingsmere - #15 - Gameline - home.

I left the house at 8:30 am to meet up with Disco Stu at the gate. Things did not start out well with me - my stomach was a mess (didn't give myself enough time to eat before I left) and after a long week of some decent mileage (aprox. 430 kms this past week), I was pretty tuckered out and lacking power to turn the cranks over. Stu, a laid back kind of guy, had to reach deep into his patience suitcase while he waited for me at the top of climbs, on the flats, going downhill . . . you get the picture. It gave new meaning to S.S.'ing - Super Slow, Stupid Slow, Sucky Slow, Snail-like-Slow . . . . fill in whatever "S" adjective you like to describe 'slow' and it would describe how I was riding.

34 x 19 - which is equivalent to running a 32 x 18 (which I normally run), which is in turn equivalent to 32 x 16 on 26" wheels (for all you still on training wheels), which is equal to 2:1 ratio, but gear ratios are so five years ago, so it's equal to 52.o gear inches. Got it? If you don't understand gear inches - click here.

Meech Lake

Disco Stu riding through a pasture near Brown's Cabin. Stu stayed with me until the return trip to O'Brien and made his way home through Fortune - clicky clicky on his name, he might have a ride report up soon on his brand new blog.

#1 on the way up to Wolf
Lots of trail erosion due to all the rain we've had lately. Loose, gravelly uphill climbs - a single speeders best friend.

I had ample opportunity yesterday to test out walking in my new dawgs.

climbing the 3km (I didn't realize it was that far from Meech to #1) of the 40 - painful

Funny how hikers and dog walkers quickly point out the obvious. I was so pooped on one sections of the 40 that I got off to walk for about 15 - 20 meters. I just so happen to have a few hikers come around a bend and in a sarcastic, 'look down my nose at you' tone say, "Oh, you're not on your bike!" I wasn't in the most pleasantness of mental states at this point in my ride and I had to hold back my first knee-jerk response . . . quickly I had to dismiss the images of me trying to shove a 29" single speed bike up some strangers arse in the middle of the woods . . . . I had to dig deep to find something appropriate to say . . . .

"You are a very keen observer noticing that I am not on my bike. Good for you! I'll give you the benefit of the doubt since I don't know you and because I'm a very positive and optimistic kind of guy, and take your comment as your way of moral support and encouraging me to jump right back on my bike and spin away to the top of the climb. Thanks very much again for pointing out that I am in fact pushing, and not riding, my bike up this brutal climb."

I never said it, I didn't have the energy to speak at that point in time. I think I mumbled something like, "Tell me something I don't know. Fugg you!" under my breath as I tried to smile at them. Have a nice day! Mentally I can go to some dark shadows in my mind when I feel like crap-ola.

I contemplated surrendering to the ride and making the McKinstry Cabin my new home.

Fire Tower

On the way back down from the Fire Tower I came across this beautiful doe and her tiny, little fawn (who scampered off before I could get the shot) in the middle of the trail. In the winter their coats are much darker, this time of year they are a lovely tan shade.


The eventual and total destruction of trails in Gatineau Park continues. The NCC will not be happy until all trails in the park are wide, smooth, and manicured enough that you could drive a car on them. Brutal.

A couple kilometers or so from home. In the end I had just under 150 kms for the day.

By the end of the ride I was feeling my more confident in my ability to complete a 100 mile race. Finishing just shy of the distance by aprox. 11 km (6.8 miles), and still having some steam in the engine, made me feel good.
Total ride time was under 8 hours and I had zero cramping - yay!
Rest and recovery week with some shorter, harder efforts towards week's end.


Anonymous said...

Lots of people can do 100miles. Its wether yah can really bust your balls doing it.
The W101 contains fireroad up the hills then wicked wild single track down the hills (somewhat like the 8, 17, etc.. for a long time though till you can't feel your hands anymore).
The roads up are a contious climb at a reasonable grade.
There is some hike a bike.

Consider the heat as well.
They are not stuck under the damn jet stream (hence the damn cold weather up north).

make use of the aid stations.

There is one down hill that many people get flats. I typically use stans with a tube (the tube has stans). Only one year I had a problem...

bring shit house wipe.

Anonymous said...

the problem with the ncc - is that not many of us voice our opinions to the upper crust (not them, higher up).
So, the oldies get nice flat walking trails (the common person who goes up there once a year and they don't get out of the house much... so, its all a disney land to them of amazement).
Contractors make their dough.
The empire keeps on growing.

Result: our taxes go up. trees are left with less real soil as they cut into the roots and such...

I don't mind them doing the trails every so often, but every damn year is a bit much.

Perhaps some money can be spent on feeding some hungry bellies out there or the like

(same goes for all those patrol officers - conservation - I call them constipation officers... from the stories I hear. Bunch of goons)

shockstar said...

congrats on the confidence builder ride...this thing is coming up FAST.

the original big ring said...

Jeff - you do the 101 before?

Ben - way too fast!

Gentlemanfred of Toronto said...

I'm an "oldie" who visits the Gatineau area once a year or so and am appalled at the way the NCC treats the so-called hiking trails. I remember talking to a sheepish crew working on a trail about 3-4 years ago and telling them they were destroying it as a walking/biking trail. They told me to contact NCC. I did, and they said that that particular trail (#52, I think), which runs from Brown to Herridge and WAS one of the loveliest hiking/biking trails anywhere is part of a cross-country network that needed to be upgraded. "Don't worry," they said, "we're planting grass all along it and you won't notice the difference in a few years." Well, I was there this year and it is horrible -- very little grass, lots of gravel, and virtually all the natural interest and flora gone. They also told me they need to look after the skiers. I can only guess that there are lots of skiers at NCC and they're looking after themselves. Their treatment of the trails is based on ignorance and is as close to official vandalism as you can get -- bunch of morons. And please don't get me going on what they have done to the inukshuks around Wakefield.