Monday, 12 May 2008

Another Long Ride in Ottawa

The weather was terrific again in Ottawa and at 8:25 am I left home on the fabulous Tarmac for the Billings Bridge Plaza to meet up with the group rides of the Ottawa Bicycle Club. The sun was shining, although it was a bit on the cool side, but I looked forward to getting in another long ride.

There was a big crowd at the McDonald's and we soon sorted ourselves into groups. Touring 2, which I find to be a good speed, was once again the most popular and we were then divided into more groups. I ended up on the extended ride to Navan (100 km), riding at the "Touring 2.5" pace. Simon volunteered to be the group leader and he did a good job, particularly considering it was his first time doing this.

We crossed the Alexandra Bridge into Quebec. I ride this all the time on the bike path, which is wooden slats, but as a big group we went over the main roadway, which is metal grating. I have a feeling that should you have to brake on this surface nothing much is going to happen so we all zipped over it pretty quickly.

Once in Quebec we headed eastwards along the Ottawa River, passing through a number of small towns. Although I have lived on and off in Ottawa for about eleven years I have never been on these roads and I can honestly say that they are quite miserable. The roads have horrific potholes everywhere and very heavy traffic. I almost came to grief at a railway crossing as I was not quite able to cross the tracks at a right angle and could feel the wheel slip. I corrected the movement but almost crashed into a huge pothole directly behind the crossing. My chain slipped but popped back on. Of course, I was being passed by impatient drivers while all this was going on.

If the roads elsewhere in Quebec are this lousy, my interest in riding the new Route Verte, the most extensive bicycle route network in North America, may be diminished. I was hoping to do some touring on my Marinoni Ciclo in the province of its birth but I will have to do some more research.

We continued on and eventually the potholed shoulder improved and we reached the ferry at Masson. Our timing was impeccable and we rolled right on; $2 took each of us across the river to Cumberland.

Leaving Cumberland we soon ran into a very nasty headwind that battered us most of the way to Navan. We then had to double back a bit and then it was back into the headwind again, or, more accurately, a vicious crosswind. We rode very close together to try and get an echelon effect and it helped, although I found it hard to control the bike at times. But soon we were rewarded with a turn and a tailwind, pushing our pace up to nearly 50 km/h.

We did endure a few wrong turns and poor Mike had three flat tires but it was a sunny day, so no matter. We rolled back into Billings Bridge Plaza and discussed finding a more attractive place to meet, like Carleton University, before I headed off on the bike path for home. By the time I rolled in I had ridden 126 kms, at an average speed of 27.1 km/h. I was supposed to do some hill sprints today but between yesterday and today I am pretty beat.

Adding my rides onto my journal at www.bikejournal.com, I find that I have moved from 3150th position to 2650th! Whee!

3 comments:

Will said...

Big ride!

Too bad about the Quebec road surfaces.

My only idea, if the routes are nice is to perhaps occasionally use a touring bike.

Here the difference between OK French roads and immaculate Swiss roads is striking.

Donald said...

Nice ride... glad you avoided the spill on the RR tracks. Unfortunately, the tracks got the best of Dave Z in the Giro this weekend.
Thought about you this weekend on my mountian ride... I think you would enjoy it(really cold Pale Ale at the end).
Pics are on my latest post. I hit some of the roads that will be on my first century in June. I also had a climbing first.
Oh, congrats on moving up on bike journal.

Andrew said...

I was searching for some new routes, and stumbled on this post. I was with you in that group - I'm Andrew (with the older Bianchi) - Hi!