Most of the riding around Ottawa is rather flat, with the odd big hill to be encountered. For solid hill training, all the local cyclists hit "The Gats" for that. Sitting on the edge of the Precambrian Shield, hills are plentiful in this beautiful park, which hosts literally hundreds of kilometers of trails and paths for cycling, MTB riding, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing. It's a real gem.
And Scott found out that much of the elevation profile on today's route is quite similar to what we'll hit in Mont Tremblant for next year's Ironman. I was excited to finally try this out, and secretly wondered if I'd survive the ride...especially with Ben. Ben is our version of a "baller" and has an annoying trait of out powering us. I decided to "ride my own ride" and do what I could.
I was picked up at 5.30am and we headed to the south parking lot in Gatineau, Quebec on rue Gamelin, with the ride starting at about 6.15. The morning was exquisite but a bit cool and humid - I actually started the ride with arm warmers on. I probably didn't need them, though, as the uphill started right from the parking lot. We climbed a steep hill to the Pink Lake Lookout - the lake is super cool, with layers of water that do not mix - that made me realize that I will be getting to know the small ring very very well. Lots of rollers up and down, and some bigger hills along the way. The halfway point was familiar to me - the road to Camp Fortune. It's big, and it's steep. And if you go right instead of left, you climb past Camp Fortune and head towards the highpoint at Champlain Lookout. That was one long climb, but I ground it out the whole time and, to be completely honest, I felt surprisingly good. From that point, there were just a few more rollers, then a pile of high-speed decents. My Ridley 'cross bike handled very well, and it was a blast. But I did miss my Felt...badly.
The whole ride was awesome, and I can't wait to do it again.
But after that I had to get to work. I didn't realize just how close I was to work - only about 10min through Gatineau on boulevard Tache and crossed the Ottawa River on Booth, right to the War Museum, the Supreme Court, and Parliament. I locked up, drank my Recoverite, and savored the 1h40min of riding.
Other key points of the ride? Yeah, we had a few.
- Warren thought he was going down after running over a squirrel...at about 65kph.
- Scott rode about 50% of the loop with one leg after losing about 50% of the screws from his cleats.