theengineer

The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons


Previous Entry Share Next Entry
theengineer

Ride for Heart

Sunday I took part in the Ride for Heart, which I've never done before. My friend Leila from MDA asked me to join her and some friends in it, and I'm very glad she did because I never would have gotten around to it otherwise, and I had a great time.

They close off the Gardiner and the Don Valley Parkway for the race starting in the early AM to about 12:30 PM. This year they said they were expecting about 12,000 participants, and it looked like they got them all. You can do 25 km (along the Gardiner to the DVP, turn back at Bloor St.), 50 km (turn back at York Mills), or 75 km (double back once over the DVP). I had initially figured I'd do the 25 km segment, based on the fact I haven't managed to exercise in a while (thanks to Anime North) and the 5 day forecast kept threatening rain, and I hate biking in the rain. I went down to Mountain Equipment Co-op the day before to get a poncho, just in case, but they were sold out! (Leila and her husband, says that MEC has been slipping the past several months, more and more stuff when they shop there is out of stock).

Anyway, I managed somehow to get out of bed Sunday at about 6:30AM (even earlier than I had to do for the anime con), had a big breakfast, and got down to the Prince's Gate to meet the others. Turned out I made it a good 20 minutes early, time I could have spent sleeping. However I linked up with Leila and her husband Peter, who very kindly checked my tire pressure and pumped up my rear tire some more before we started, along with someone else who stopped and asked if he could do the same for her, he should have started charging people. Then it was about a half-hour of slowly inching forward to the starting line, finally hitting the road proper at 8:47 AM.

Leila and Peterare much stronger cyclists than I am, so we made no plans to try and keep together during the ride. But it was really great, getting to speed down the Gardiner and not worrying about traffic at all. Once I turned onto the DVP and approached the 25 km turn-around I was still going strong and the weather looked like it was going to hold off, plus it had only taken me a half-hour to reach this point. If I turned around here I would have ended up waiting to start longer than I had spent on the ride, so I decided to press onwards.

The DVP is a lot hillier than the Gardiner, I could never have done this ride on my old one-speed, but lower gears on my new one handled it just fine. They had regular rest stops along the way, with water, first aid, and even mechanical stations to fix your bike. I kept in the saddle until I reached the York Mills turn-around, for a time heading up of 1 hour 8 minutes, and then took a 10 minutes rest with some water and orange slices they were offering.

I thought that I was going to be in big trouble coming back along the DVP, as some of the hills I went down while going north looked like they'd be killers coming back up, but heading south turned out to be easier than going north, there was more downhill overall. It only took me 1 hour 5 minutes to get back, even though it was actually longer on the way back, there was a detour at Bayview, a big loop off the DVP and then back on, to bring up the total distance to the proper amount. Some people were skipping this part, but no one could accuse me of taking a short-cut! And the rain held off the whole morning as well, I got a few drops but no more.

I heard my cell phone go off in my backpack when I turned back onto the Gardiner, which I figured was Leila and Peter finishing up about 25 minutes ahead of me. I pushed on, but the one unfortunate thing about the ride is that you don't get to race triumphantly across a finish line at the end, turning back onto the CNE grounds the road gets narrow and crowded enough that there was no room to ride, you had to end up walking your bike across.

Still, it was a huge amount of fun and I'm certainly going to try it again next year.

Oh, and a few days before they were talking about the race on CBC Radio, mostly people complaining about the roads being closed, how much it was going to inconvenience drivers, and why can't they do this on the back streets. Bunch of whiner I say, in only the way that a guy who doesn't own a car can.

  • 1
Sounds like an awesome ride. As long as I know in advance, I don't mind them closing the expressways so much. We wound up spending most of the day battlin' Shain's computer anyway. If I ever get a bike I'd love the experience of riding on the Gardiner...

My dad did the ride, as part of team Toronto Hydro. He tried to convince me to join the team, but getting up early to bike at least 25 km on my half-rusted bike just didn't sound worth it.

Supposedly, there were a bunch of guys from Shimano there to get marginal bikes in working order for the ride, but they refused to help people with problems that arose from actually completing the ride, saying that wasn't what they were there to do.

And according to South Park, hybrid owners would be even more condescending. :)

My dad did the ride, as part of team Toronto Hydro. He tried to convince me to join the team, but getting up early to bike at least 25 km on my half-rusted bike just didn't sound worth it.

You could have managed the Gardiner portion, but the DVP wouldhave been really difficult without good gears.

Supposedly, there were a bunch of guys from Shimano there to get marginal bikes in working order for the ride, but they refused to help people with problems that arose from actually completing the ride, saying that wasn't what they were there to do.

Really? That would kind of defeat the point of having mechanical stations at the rest breaks. I'm glad then that my bike had no problems.

  • 1
?

Log in

No account? Create an account