June 08: 174.2 kms; 5 hrs 40 minutes saddle time; 658 Metres; 6210 calories; June 09: 173.7 kms; 5 hrs 47 minutes saddle time; 600 metres; 595 calories.  jeff, mark, perry, peter, raymond, keith, rob, derek, kevin, brian, tim, eric, terry, (marcel, chris). Total 347.9 kms!

Okay. Wow. We made it. Fourteen riders. One puncture. Great ride! Great riders! Great time! Great memories! A whole lot of fun. Priceless. The chinese writer is right: First you taste the bitterness; then the sweetness. Grim and inauspicious at the start but all smiles and high-fives in Kingston. Yes, if the early morning rain and the prospect of a cold and wet ride was not off-putting enough, then, the rule-bound registration marshal was just another ominous sign that this was going to be a tough ride–even before we clipped feet into pedals.

Six forty-five became 7 am became 7.15–wet, cool, and waiting for Peter, who was caught-up in the slow-moving back-water administration of RCLT sign-in desk. With no sign of Peter, we saddled-up and left in the hope that things would improve. And, they did, albeit slowly. I suppose Ashton was the turning point. And while Perth still found us bedraggled, the road was now dry; and, miraculously, Peter arrived. Now reunited, all was sweetness and light; or, so it became the closer we got to Kingston.

The first break-away took place on the long hill just past the T-Junction at Althrope and Bollingbroke/Mountain Rd. Here, Keith, Raymond, and Perry and some others made the jump, leaving the rest of us to scramble as best we could to meet them at the Christie Lake Rest Stop. No harm done. We regrouped, ate, and moved on, with Kevin and Tim leading the way with no shortage of energy. And this is how it remained until, Keith, Perry and Raymond hit the accelerator on the hills to Perth Road Village. It was here that Jeff and Rob took up the chase pulling the rest of us up and down several bumps to close the gap. We didn’t catch them but it was a ride!

From PRV, all was sweetness and light again until Mark decided that he would go for the moon on the long climb into Inverary, saying as he passed everyone ”I don’t know why I’m doing this” but smiling all the while. And, so the big engine was away with several others in pursuit. Thankfully, Rob didn’t take the bait, waiting instead to pull the rest of us across the gap, which was now some 250 metres. This took some effort and was only realized in part because one of the front-runners had the wit to distract Mark into talking about his favourite movie. It worked. We were back and so we remained (more or less) the rest of the way into Kingston.

All that was left now was a beer, some chips/pretzels, a photo, a shower, bike wash, and dinner. Not the kind of food that Gregg would have approved of but welcome just the same. And then, rest — ”our little (ride) rounded with a sleep.”

Sunday began early, with the prospect of fair weather just out-of-town—and there it was in perfect cue with the rise in the road as we crested one of the many rollers on Battersea Road. The sun broke through a black curtain of cloud to shine on our efforts. It was a dramatic scene, framed as it was on either side by pastoral green. By California Road, with Perry out of sight and Mark (smiling) on the hunt, we were in full throttle with nothing to stay the forward rush but Sand Lake Road, some five kilometres ahead. The rundown was on to catch Perry, with Brian leading the charge followed quickly by Keith and Raymond and Rob. Next stop was Elgin for a brief respite and then the long ride to Merrickville for a tasty sandwich and a bit of a rest. And, the rest–well it is a blur but a few sights stick out, such as the two large snappers on the side of the road, the large nest- building Osprey on the lamppost, the home stretch sprint thwarted along Woodroffe by traffic lights and a level crossing, with Perry, Keith and Brian alternating positions; the whirr of tyres in perfect pitch to the sweetness of the road; and, the WAHOO moment turning onto college Drive, Algonquin College. Made it! You just should have been there!

Lessons Learned: — hold your line; signal changes in speed; ride with predictability; restart to allow for a full regroup

Kudos: Congrats to Tim and Brian on their first RLCT; Terrific ride Kevin!; Welcome back to Jeff and Derek. Glad to have you back on the RLCT. Congrats, also, to Keith–reigning Ontario and Canadian 55+ age category Champ (again).

Awards:

Peter: Best disposition (positive attitude)

Brian: Best Dressed/Best Hair (most professional)

Perry: Best Form (riding position)

Thank-you: to Eric for very long, smooth pulls at the front; to Rob for bridging the gap and for making sure no one was left behind; to Brian, Raymond, Keith, and Perry for spirited attacks and head-wind buffering, especially on the last twenty-five kilometres into Ottawa. Welcome to Terry and Chris. Nice to ride with you. And, thank you to Chris for his help with Terry’s puncture. Marcel, thank you for your pulls to Perth.

Down memory Lane: meeting up with Leslie, Larry and David from our 2012 Canbicuba Tour. Nice to see you guys.

Okay, that’s it. Stay tuned for info on this weekend. ciao for now. hc

At the Start---Why?

At the Start—Why?

Finish Line--no question!

Finish Line–no question!