Sunday Sept 19, 2010 – 7:30AM
Denise, Drew and Mike decided to participate in the 3rd annual Tour de Mississauga in Streetsville. The weather was nice, 12 C and partly cloudy. We headed up Glen Erin, down Erin Center Boulevard, to Mississauga Road then on to Streetsville Memorial Park.
Denise led the way and we were there in no time. We had arrived early. The organizers had just started getting the registration tables set up. It was a bit disorganized but we were patient. We signed our waivers, filled out a raffle ticket and received our bike numbers. Drew – 803, Denise = 804, Mike = 805. It was possible to pre-register online but we had not. The 1st 100 to register received a Tour de Mississauga T-Shirt.
We had about an hour to kill before the start of the race. Denise and Mike were having way too much fun.
Since we had about an hour to kill we decided to go to the Starbucks on Main Street. I’m always OK going to the Starbucks.
On the way Denise had a little mishap. As she approached an intersection on Main Street she had a bit of trouble unclipping from her pedals. It’s very hard to stay upright while stopped and still clipped in.
Sure enough … she tipped over and ended up in a pink pile in the middle of the street, tangled up with her bike. As hard as I tried I could not get my camera out in time. I would have loved to had a picture of that. I asked her if she was hurt. She said “no”. I asked her if she was embarresed. She said “no”. In Mike’s usual quick wit he added “Well you should be”. It’s always nice riding with friends.
Denise wasn’t hurt and she got up quickly and was back on the bike. We crossed the Street and went to the Starbucks.
After Mike and Denise enjoyed a coffee we all headed back the the park to get ready for the start of the Tour.
It was started to get busy as bikers continued to arrive.
The rumor was that there were about 1,000 riders. This was a much better attendance than the 400 that participated last year. We hung out and did some people watching. Before long the announcer started. We had to wait for Mayor Hazel to say a few words.
The bikers were released to the course in stages, 100k riders first, 60k riders next and 25k riders last. We had decided on the 25k. We started out near the head of the 25k group.
We were off.
I was surprised, and disappointed, that the organizers had not arranged to close the intersections. There were volunteers helping with directions and ensuring safety but we had to wait at the traffic signals.
With a large group of people there is always something interesting to look at. Take a closer look at the girl in the grey sweatshirt. I think she was absent the day the class went over helmet fitting.
After a few intersections the ride opened up and we enjoyed the course. It was well marked with a lot of volunteers, good signage and green arrows painted on the road to guide us along. It wasn’t too crowded but we were among people the entire ride. The route was a combination of roads and trails.
It was not a race but the time went by quickly.
As we turned off of Greensboro Drive onto Thomas Street Denise decided that she was going to break off and head home to mind the kids. Mike and I continued on toward the finish.
We arrived back where we had started 1 hour and 18 minutes later.
At the finish there was a free BBQ. We were nearly the first ones back. The grills were going so we decided to stick around and have a burger.
After enjoying the food Mike and I decided we would head home down along the Credit River.
We took a brief stop at the Challenge Park for a moment of silence where Mike had his accident a week earlier. We thought about doing some more of the ramps and jumps – NOT.
As we headed towards Erindale Park we saw a fisherman with a Salmon on the line. We stopped and watched him bring the fish in.
We continued on to Erindale Park then we headed back to Rainbow Crescent.
We had a great morning and a great ride. I thoroughly enjoyed the morning and will be putting the 4th annual Tour de Mississauga on the calender for next year.
Total distance – 43km
When: Monday Sept 6 @ 9:30AM
Where: Bronte Park trails and bike paths in Oakville
Terrain: Dirt Paths, Road, Paved Paths
Duration: 1 1/2 hrs
Meet: Meeting at Mike Walker’s home – 2097 Arbourview drive, 3rd line and upper middle
Who: Drew, Denise, Scott, Elaine, Mike W, Cathy
This was the first ride for Elaine Bowers and Cathy Walker.
The weather was a bit unpredictable. It was 16 C, overcast with drizzle and light rain. Everybody seemed prepared wearing light rain jackets so we decided to take our chances with the weather. Since this was Mike W’s turf he led the way.
We followed paths that had been well traveled. They were mostly cinder and hard packed trails through park areas sneaking through neighborhoods. The trails were in good shape except for the “curb hopping” required at each street crossing.
About 4km into the ride everybody was warmed up and the group stopped briefly to remove layers. The rain was holding off. We continued following the trails on our way to Bronte Park.
When we arrived at Bronte Park we went in the main entrance. Bikers and walkers can enter the park at no charge. A short while after entering the park we turned onto a trail that was surfaced with stone and small rock. The terrain was all right for the mountain bike tires but unsuitable for road bike tires. Everybody in the group was using wide tires.
We stopped for a few minutes while mechanic Scott did a little on-the-trail tuning of Elaine’s front derailleur. That little probem was fixed in no time.
We proceeded along the trail under a canopy of trees then entered an open field. I took the opportunity for a few pictures.
We were about an hour into the ride at this point when the reality of time set in and we needed to start heading back. Mike led the group back through one of the camping areas in the park.
Note to self: Bronte Park is very convenient and would make an excellent overnight destination to take the kids camping.
Near the exit of the park we stopped for a moment to check out an old abandoned home. It must have been magnificent in it’s day. Mike W began leading us back along more trails and paths. Mike “The Tour Guide” paused the group near the end of the ride for an interesting explanation of the local politics regarding the relocation of a skateboard park.
We arrived back at our starting point about 1 1/2 after leaving. It was a very scenic and enjoyable ride. Thank you to Mike Walker for leading the RRS riders through the area and providing a meeting place.
The two first-timers did great. They did do a little “short cut” at the end of the ride but Cathy new the way and we all ended up together. Elaine and Cathy have secured an invitation for another ride with the RRS masters.
There was some deliberation about a “suits optional” hot tub invite but unfortunately we were on a tight schedule and needed to get back to the kids. There is always next time.
If you asked me to name a celebrity bike enthusiast he would have been the last guy on my guess list. Who knew?
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