When I first took interested in bikepacking, a Google search took me to a review of a bikepacking adventure by a guy named Miles Arbour. In 2016, he rode a system of trails and roads called the Central Ontario Loop Trail, or COLT. His article got me interested, and my brother Greg and I started to gear up in late 2016 in preparation for riding all or portions of the COLT in 2017.
It’s been an odd summer. We haven’t had the normal heat wave, and it seems like we get a good rain storm every few days. I’m not one to complain a lot about the weather, but as a cyclist, I’m always paying attention to it. I’m finally at the point in my concussion recover that I feel like I can ride a little harder and a little further, and now, the limiting factor is my lack of fitness, rather than my concussion symptoms. I’m not entirely symptom free, but I’m feeling better with each ride.
When I started my quest to have 50 memorable bike rides in my 50th year, I purposely avoided any specific goals. I also avoided the use of the word “epic”, since it’s relative. I simply wanted to have 50 rides that were memorable to me. And “memorable” could mean any of the following:
I’m getting closer to completing my “50 memorable rides in my 50th year”. If you’ve been following, you’ll recall that my original goal was to complete all 50 rides in the calendar year when I turned 50. After my crash on Labour Day weekend, however, it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to complete all 50 rides in 2016.
It doesn’t seem like too long ago when I only needed one bike. My rides were to and from school, or friends’ homes. My bike riding season was spring until fall, when I’d put the bike away over the winter. I’d ride only on roads, sidewalks (gasp!) and paved trails. This was on a road bike I bought in Toronto for $300. A stainless steel, charcoal black Bianchi, it was the first bike I bought myself (I was 17), and I still have it in my basement.
One thing I haven’t written about in this blog since I started it a little over a year ago is my “day job”. I may have mentioned that I’m in engineer (so I like numbers), but I apply those engineering skills to water. When I’m not riding my bike, cleaning/tuning my bikes or thinking about cycling, I’m often thinking about water.
My previous blog post was about the 2017 Steaming Nostril/Runny Nose event a few of days ago. I don’t do a lot of racing, so when I do, these events tend to stick in my mind for a few days (maybe because my body is still reminding me of the effort).
I’ve been blogging a lot lately about this Ontario Spring Classic. The 2017 version didn’t disappoint as over 300 riders entered the fifth edition of this event. In past years, there has been a wide variety of challenges in the Steaming Nostril and the shorter Runny Nose: slow, slushy trails, minus 20C wintery conditions, epic mud, strong winds… this race has had it all!
As I write this blog entry, It’s now 7 days, 4 hours and 21 minutes until Steaming Nostril 2017 (you can check the online countdown at cyclewaterloo.com ). If you haven’t heard about Steaming Nostril, it’s an Ontario spring classic gravel cycling race, now in it’s 5th year.