This past weekend was my annual (13th) adventure on the MS 150 bike tour from Ottawa to Kemptville and back. I had a great time as usual. What follows is a brief summary of the trip.
Day 1 - Start at Carleton University.
The day began at Carleton with my annual cycling buddy Hilliard (Hill) Goldberg. I asked if he was prepared for this year's journey and he showed me the equipment he was bringing (pictured) for the trip.The interesting thing about Hill is that he doesn't even own a bicycle. Every year he scrambles to borrow a bike from someone he knows, usually a fews days prior to the event. This year was no different. His old landlord agreed to lend him a bike. Oh yeah, the radio in the picture is mine.
We met up with the folks we had cycled with in previous MS Tours, Ilan in blue, Julie and her son Nicolas, and set off.
The morning was perfect.This photo was taken just prior to leaving.Obviously the crane was enjoying the weather also. The first leg of the trip was about a 19km stretch and, for the first time since coming with us, Nicolas decided to try it on his own. He managed to go the whole distance on his own, tough kid.
Upon reaching the 1st pit stop (Cedarview) we were greeted by a kid with a sign that read "toilet", which was fitting since Hill never misses an opportunity to use one.
We then travelled on to our next stop in Richmond. Here again Hill made use of the facilities. Notice the "staff only" sign.
Richmond is where we also met some 1st time riders, France and her daughter Caroline. We found out later at dinner that France used to work right next door to Deli Boys restaurant in Montreal where Hill and myself delivered pizzas many years ago. Cool.
Next stop is Malakoff just west of North Gower. There is some nice scenery on the part of the trip.Next stop was a BBQ lunch at Rideau provincial park.The lunch has much improved over the years (IMHO). The 1st year Hill and I did it there was nothing but humus and natural peanut butter (you know the kind with an inch of oil at the top and no added sugar!).
After lunch Hill, Ilan and I set off for the next stop at Oxford Mills. Julie and Nicolas took the a different route to the Kemptville college (the finish line) and promised to get us 1st seating dinner tickets (coveted by the hungry). Below is the bridge that spans the Rideau on county road 44 where we went our separate ways.
The trip to Oxford Mills again provided some nice sights.
Here is Hill at the dam in Oxford Mills.
Notice the belt. In a sea of spandex Hill always stands out as the only guy on the tour with a belt.
With 1 stop to go I felt like the sheep below, just following whoever was in front of me without asking any questions.
Most annual cyclists such as Hill and myself always speak of the "hill" just before the finish at the Kemptville college. It seems like no matter which direction you enter Kemptville you are always faced with that final test of determination (in our case exhaustion).
Here are the H(h)ills in action.
Finally we are home for the night!
If you have gone on the MS tour before you know that once you are at the college you have many options to choose from for entertainment. Our 1st stop is the corn boil and live music.
This little girl was caught dancing to some Stevie Ray Vaughn.
Nicolas enjoying the band too.
My wife and kids came down from Ottawa and after dinner we played a little soccer and some air hockey. Later that evening we went to the dance where Julie let it be known that pulling her son for 70km was just a warm up for her to let loose on the dance floor. Hill was in his glory as they played the standard Village People "YMCA" tune and various other 1970's hits.
As we moved from evening to night it was time to hit the sack for some needed sleep.
Next year I must remember to bring ear plugs!
Day 2 - Start at Kemptville college.
The day begins with a feast of a breakfast. Bacon, eggs, toast, pancakes, coffee, fruit. We got up at 6:00 AM and headed to the caf. The lineup is pretty small at this time. Ilan tells the story of a guy hurling up a biscuit in his dorm around 3:00 AM (earplugs remember). Excessive drinking at the dance the night before is not a good idea when you have to get back on your bike for the 65km ride home.
Going home our group expanded by 2 as France and Caroline found us at the 1st stop. From left to right are Julie, Hill, Nicolas (in front), Ilan, me, France and Caroline. Caroline had a very sore knee but it didn't stop her from returning by bicycle to Carleton.
The return home was almost the reverse of the trip down. The sign indicating Ottawa was actually near the start of the journey home.
This gentleman defines strength.
The beautiful Rideau.
Hill can't stop in Richmond without going to the bakery for a rum ball.
"Why did I eat that rum ball I left in the sun for an hour?"
There was one more quick stop in Barrhaven and then the home stretch to Carleton U.
The wind seemed to pick up during the last segment but we all made it on our own power.
We sat around for a bit then said our goodbye's and headed off in our separate directions. It is funny how a year seems to get shorter the more MS tours I do. Hopefully we can all make it back for another round next year. Maybe Hill will even have his own bike.