It was the mass start (35 tandems down from 50 last year) from the Holiday Inn in Kanata at 9:00 am in the morning; and a beautiful day it turned out to be despite the dark threatening clouds ready to rain. I packed a jacket as it was cool to begin with but as the day wore on, I regretted the long sleeve shirt.
Despite our research to verify the routes on Google Maps and our GPS, much to our dismay, the routes were not well defined (again) and many of us got lost somewhere along the course laid out by the organizers. In the morning due to an incorrect labeling of a street as Coleman instead of Cavanaugh, we did an extra 5 kms, which was a much more scenic route so we did not mind. It was early, we were not the last to arrive at the stop for lunch, the food is never ready before noon, so we embraced the detour.
On the way back we again missed a turn (along with a lot of other people) and did an extra 4 km out an back but the weather was nice so we did not mind too much. We let them know about the lousy directions when we finally got back.
We were supposed to be riding one of the routes in the Tandem Rally but it was raining and quite a bit colder than yesterday so we opted for waiting until the rain subsided. Alas, it did not sound like it would abate so we dressed warmly for the rain and headed out to Bate Island where lunch for the riders would be served. Although we were told that the food would be ready for 11:30, Emily really was not prepared until noon to serve and they were disorganized at that. While waiting, I stood talking to the mother of the family group from London, Ontario who had left at the mass start time and was one of the first to arrive here for lunch. They wanted to finish early for the long drive home 7-8 hours so they tried to get their food and get back on the road, which I think was back to the Holiday Inn to shower and go home.
They preserved in the first half of the route but I think the young girls were too cold and wet, shivering in their bike shorts to continue. We offered to drive one of them back but the girl said her dad would not be happy about that. I asked the mom why she was not having a sandwich and she said that she had had a large breakfast so she was not hungry at the moment. I suggested that she grab a sandwich to go for later, when her blood sugar level starts to drop and she said it was a good idea and asked for the sandwich to go.
Other people, like us opted out of the second day itinerary, like Mike and Pam Chellew who were our campsite mates, the physiotherapist (who was bragging about her son skiing in 3 different countries in one season) and her spouse (both of them were shopping at Bushtukah like us), or the younger white guy (who has the wiry curly hair) with the older looking blonde who spent their time shopping at MEC while their friends the tall couple cycled.
We had a slow relaxing day, as we were not going to join the 3 day of the ride. I was surprised by the number of people who were staying for the 3 day ride. We took the route slated for yesterday in the rain which was the most scenic and most did not see the landscape due to the rain.
We started out at 10:30 and arrived downtown in sight of the Parliament Buildings to sit on a bench for lunch. What impressed us was that so many people were out walking along the numerous pathways in the downtown core. They were not just out strolling for lunch but they had on their walking shoes, some athletic gear with the intentional purpose of getting exercise; not just a social walk.
On our ride down, we crossed paths with the tall couple (Rick & Marilyn). While sitting on the bench eating our lunch another tandem couple approached us. They were sightseeing and had ridden this path in the rain, yesterday. We also saw the two local couples who went to church and came for lunch yesterday, the McMasters and friends. They did not see us but we saw them from afar, riding down the path where we got ice creams the other day.
Lastly, as we were heading back to the campsite, another tandem couple stopped us to talk. They were from upstate New York and had decided to stay an extra day to see the capital which they missed yesterday due to the rain. Frank Oakley and his wife, Carol(?) chatted with us for quite some time.
They had just bought their tandem in September, at the urging of their peers who thought it would be fun and then they were coaxed into doing this rally. One of their friends who had signed up for the event had just broken her foot a month ago and her daughter took her spot. She came for the group activities and was in a wheelchair for dinner.
By the time we arrived home, we had put another 46 kms on the bike. It was an odd ride. First of all, I had bought new handle bar grips for the ends. I wanted to try only one side first, without losing the mirror. It did seem to ease the pressure on the palms, as it offered me an alternative place to hold onto the handlebars. After the second fall when he broke my mirror, by default, I was going to keep the grips on both sides.
Twice Stuart tried to turn around with me on board and ended up tipping over the bike instead. I was not able to get my feet out of the clips, as it requires rotating the pedals on either side to twist out of the clips and since I hurt my ankle 2 weeks ago, I have limited motion so I can only twist in towards the frame where there is room to do so.
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