You might say I crossed an item off my bucket list this weekend - the odd part is that I forgot that it was on my bucket list (insofar as I have one). You see, when I was little, my father and a friend rode their bicycles around Lake of Bays over the course of a day. He’d repeated the feat with my mother a few years later, though I had forgotten that little factoid. At any rate, he told me that it was a challenge worth taking on, and I always thought I would do it one day “when I was grown up”.
I was trying to come up with a good long, training ride to do at the cottage when I remembered all this, so it fell to me and Sable to get the job done. I called it “Tour De Lake of Bays” #TourDeLakeOfBays.
The first 24-25 km of the route were very familiar to me, as I had rode them last week. It was a lot hotter and sunnier this time, though. There is bridge construction in Dorset, which made for a good time to text a status update and take a CLIF Shot (chocolate flavour) gel.
After Dorset came the Highway 117 leg, which probably caused me more suffering than any other part. It was very long and unfamiliar, and though I hoped that it would be flatter thanks to how it hewed close to the lakeshore, I was confronted with the same kind of hills I’d been climbing the whole time in my own backyard parts of Muskoka. It must have gotten monotonous and seemed worse than it was, because the Garmin analysis shows I kept up a speed average of over 25 km/h for over an hour.
When I rolled into Baysville, I was seeing familiar sites. I’ve heard stories of people on long bike rides stopping for Starbucks, or Tim Horton’s or whatnot, but stopping at a brewery would take the cake. I didn’t though, since I knew I wasn’t going to be keeping to my projected 3 hour schedule, and I didn’t want to shirk child-minding duties entirely. I doubt the alcohol would have done much for my safety or performance, but it would have tasted SOOOO good.
While being familar ground, the final stretch of Brunel Road followed by South Portage were the toughest. For starters, there was construction on Brunel Road for the first 3-4 km. I had been forewarned about it, but I figured it would be a closed lane or some narrowing; the road was as good as gone!
I didn't like taking my brand new bike over that gravelly road, but I didn't have much choice, and taking it easy for safety was a good excuse to take it easy, and give my legs a rest. When I reached the end of the construction zone, I saw a sign that put me a little on the defensive...
The last part of the ride along Brunel takes you by some very pretty lakes; there's Shewfelt - which is nearly a pond, and Axel Lake (!) which isn't too visible from the road. I stopped to take a pic of North Tooke Lake (I think) and it's one of the nicer landscape pictures I've ever taken (at least with the help of an Instagram filter).
I finished the ride back at my starting point with a time of 3:17 and texted for a pick-up. I was pretty spent, and even laid down in the dirt for a bit. Being attacked by bugs made me realize that at least I'm in good enough shape to recovery quickly from when I think I'm all tapped out.
I've still got some time before Barrelman, so I may use this route again (with some add-ons, probably).
It would be great to be able to get it under 3 hours.