Monday, August 26, 2013

Riding around Lake Nipissing

As I understand, this year marked the 5th edition of the Ride around the Lake.
It is a charity event that challenges cyclists to complete a loop of nearly 300km around Lake Nipissing over two days. This year was the first year that I would be able to complete the entire loop as past years have seen me unable to enter or just do the second day. This year's event had thirteen cyclists start out for Sturgeon Falls which was the first "rest stop". We left North Bay at 7:00 am on Saturday (Aug. 24th). This early start ensured the traffic on HWY 17 is relatively low for us to travel safely. When we arrived in Sturgeon we rolled into the Tim Horton's parking lot (the smaller of the two venues and the one on the right side when entering town from North Bay) where we were joined by an additional rider. After some refreshments we left Sturgeon Falls and our peloton of fourteen cyclists maneuvered through town headed towards Noelville where we would have another "rest stop" before continuing onto Alban. We would enjoy a few more "rest stops" along the way before reaching our destination in Alban.
Once in Alban we would spend the night at the Beausejour Inn & Restaurant. The journey up to this point had taken us some 116km part way around Lake Nipissing.
As we arrived at the Beausejour Inn in the early part of the afternoon there was time to enjoy some "liquid libations" before refuelling at dinner for the coming day's ride!
The next day, which was Sunday (Aug. 25th), saw us departing the motel around 8:00am and head towards HWY 69 where we would have breakfast at the the Hungry Bear Restaurant. After breakfast we continued along HWY 69 until we reached HWY 522 where we turned in and began heading towards Port Loring. We had a good tailwind as we rode along on HWY 522 and made good time as my average speed along this section was 27kph. Once we reached Port Loring it wasn't much further to our next rest stop where we had lunch and a surprise visit from Denis' inlaws (Sue and Rob) along with Denis' spouse, Amy who is also a Burnt Helmets team member along with their son, Nolan who is currently the youngest Burnt Helmets member.
As we prepared to depart and tackle the remaining 80km, which takes us thru Golden Valley, Restoule, and Nipissing Village, it began to rain. As we continued along our route the rain steadily increased until it was a downpour. This was somewhat tolerable but does make riding as a group difficult as riding directly behind another cyclist only results in a continuous spray of water in your face along with being rained on. We also began encountering some tough hills that started to break the group up. It was not long before I found myself riding alone thru these hills separated from the others for quite a while. It is times like these that force one to dig deep and not give up as it was sometime before I was able to drag myself onto the back wheel of two other riders. By then we were on HWY 654 and into the final leg of the journey. At the final "rest stop", known as the Wasi Lookout, we took a group photo before continuing thru Callander and onto the Kate Pace Way as we arrived back in North Bay finishing our Ride around the Lake with a total distance of 285km.

As always, thanks for spending your 30 seconds with Scott!