Monday, June 02, 2008

Ride for Heart 2008

Yesterday was Toronto’s Ride for Heart, which Monado has already written up for us. There are three distance options for cyclists: 25, 50, and 75 km, and I (of course) had chosen the last. At the end of an easy week, Coach Steve had set me to ride three hours at base pace, so it worked out nicely.

The Ride for Heart is famous for closing two of Toronto’s three metropolitan expressways to motor vehicles. Because these are 90-km/h (55-mph) roads, the surface is kept in excellent condition, much better than our potholed streets. And the 75-km riders get to start very early (6:45 a.m., compared to 8:15 for the masses), so for the first hour or two, you can ride quickly and smoothly, very much like you’re in a long-distance triathlon’s bike leg.

Unfortunately, an unscheduled half-hour pit stop meant I wasn’t going to make the 6:45 start, so I rode to the nearest on-ramp to the expressway, about 1½ miles from our house, and waited. I needn’t’ve, but in due course a Traffic Services car lead the 40-km/h-plus peleton of aggressive riders. My friend John waved at me from the mass. I did not tuck in behind(!), but I took that as my signal to follow, and I was alone for at least 15 minutes before the next riders came along (and, of course, passed me).

After my turnaround, near Don Mills Road, I passed a group of riders down on the curb, being attended by a pair of bike-borne paramedics. John popped out and waved me down. He’d been in the crash, been bruised and scraped and had his aluminium bike frame damaged beyond rideability and (he thought) repair. He decline my offer to call Monado to have him picked up, and walked toward Don Mills Road to hail a cab. (I called him later and he’d made it home without incident.)

After 30 miles of the Don Valley Parkway, I waited at the 25-km turnaround to pick up Monado and Andie. (Side note: the turnaround is at the so-called Bloor-Bayview Ramp, an elaborate structure that connects the D.V.P. with Bloor Street and the Bayview Avenue extension—but which is, in reality, the only section of the Crosstown Expressway ever built, during Toronto’s orgy of expressway-building fifty years ago.)

I kibitzed with a few of the hundreds of riders stopping at the rest station there. It’s funny how people’s fitness levels can vary; many of the 25-km riders professed themselves exhausted at the halfway point!

Eventually Monado and Andie showed up. Monado stopped for a drink, but Andie skittered along, so I had to take off after her. She was very fast, but I was able to find her because of her distinctive Tough Girls jersey and bright yellow Aquila Tri Kids bike, but it still took a couple of minutes fast cycling to get to her.

We finished the ride at Exhibition Park, and waited just west of the Dominion Gates for Monado, who showed up with her tale of mobile-phone woe. We rode back to the van, which Monado had parked in Riverdale. Andie is a very competent street cyclist—and clearly like me telling her so.

For a total 47 mi of riding, most of it pretty easy, I was very tired and quite beat-up feeling.


Blogger ali said...

That's so cool that you ride with Andie. Sorry to hear about your friend John's misadventure on the road that morning. Guess that sort of thing happens from time to time, eh?

10:14 a.m.  
Blogger Mona Albano said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:51 p.m.  
Blogger Mona Albano said...

There are a few "ride for heart" pictures here in my description of our ride. The actual ride pics are from last year, since I lost my phone!

12:53 p.m.  

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