weBLOG

This weBLOG contains writings and comments about all aspects of this adventure. Starting from early on in the application stages I'll keep comments here regarding fundraising, training, and ultimately the bike ride itself. It won't all be pretty: $10 000 is an enormous fundraising goal, 9 weeks on a bike is not a walk in the park, and living with a bunch of other crazy cyclists for 2 months is likely to generate some stories.

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Wrapping up the penultimate week

I departed Redeemer with Josh Nyenhuis and Bob Terpstra this morning around 8 am. There were more church stops planned this day than any before and there were only 75 kms to cover before arriving at camp. I brought zero food along and left with not even a drop of water in my bottle. I just had a wallet with my ID (which would prove useful later on) a bit of cash (which would prove useful later on) and some vitamin I* (vitamin I is what we're calling Ibuprofen around here as so many people are taking it. I would also prove useful later on).

We began with a ride along the top of the escarptment for about 30 kms. We were rolling along nicely enjoying the fact that we had less than 3 hours of cycling time to cover. George Vanderkuur caught our group and then started to push the pace just as we turned a bit and had a tailwind. Well that rolling along turned into a blazing pace as we were soon nudging the 60 kph mark on both the uphills and downhills. Tailwinds never last forever and we soon turned again and stopped for a freezie overlooking Hamilton and stopped for some cookies and water only 3 kms down the road at another farm.

I caught my best draft yet this summer behind an 18 foot high combine driving down the road at about 35 kph. It was moving at a nice cycling speed so it didn't require any effort to latch on and it was so bit I could stay more than 20 feet back and still get sucked along. Unfortunately that only lasted for about 1.5 miles.

At this point we turned left and plummeted down over the edge of the mountain towards the lake. The sign told us we had a 12% grade ahead and with a little of Jon's electrical tape, a leatherman and a little of my creativity we modified the sign to read 112% grade which seemed more appropriate. The first time down the hill was fun and I hit 79 kph sitting bolt upright and riding my brakes knowing that there was a stopsign at the bottom. After giving the hill a trial run Jon Vanderveen, David Teitsma and myself climbed back up (3 minutes 45 seconds compared to Bob's "you can't climb that hill in less than 10 minutes" estimate) and gave it a second run for the money. Without much effort at all and a lousy tuck that's manageable with a separated shoulder I still handily blasted my record out of the water for fastest speed ever. 86.8 kilometers per hour! John hit 90.2 kph!

So the next bit of the schedule I might get a tad consfused so if the order of stops doesn't match what you understand the geography of this bit of Ontario to be I apologize and you're probably right. Eritia Smit is a professional pastry chef and works at a bakery that's attached to a Dutch import store in Grimsby, both parts were worth a visit. They were serving free coffee and cake to cyclists and more than recouped their generosity by everyone stocking up on Dutch treats. It seemed as though everywhere we stopped later in the day people had a stroopwaffle in their hand from that shop or a poontsac filled with dubbelzout. Within 3 kms of that stop we rolled in to Shalom Evergreen home which is where many seniors with Dutch Herritage live from the southern bits of Ontario, they had coffee and more baking of course. Some wanted me to speak Dutch with them but I don't have the skills so I had to pass that task off to Alex VanGeest. From there to our next stop at the Grimsby CRC was one of the most entertaining sections of the day, I laughed the whole way there, all 300 meters of it. Fresh peaches and ice cream awaited us and my little group of cyclists merged with about 4 others making a pack of about 18 riders who wanted to pay a visit to one of the wineries along the road. We set out from the church and were not more than a mile down the road when Julie Zwart called out "turn right" and we pulled up to the Peninsula Ridge winery. Tastings were $0.50 each and they even let us pay with our stacks of American cash. Jonathan Stoner, Julie and myself did a tour of the red wine list and tried to name the tastes, then read the description and each then finished our glasses seeing again if we could actually taste what the sommelier described. The answer however, was not really. Over the course of the whole tasting I only successfully managed to say "cherry coke" and "A535" and "vanilla" which did match up with blackcherry, eukalyptus and vanilla. I'm 33% qualified I suppose in that sense but they get a whole heck of a lot more flavours than we could. The most interesting was green pepper which was completely correct but good luck getting any of us to identify it as such without being told. There's alot of money to be spent on this little game if you're interested in playing it. Still having an hour of riding (plus stops) ahead of us the wine tasting ended there and we were off.

About 5 miles down the road we had another stop serving actual lunch. A furthur 8 miles and we had more freezies at Pieter Pereboom's parents' house and maybe 2 miles after that had a blueberry stop at a CRC church in St Catherines. Now if you could imagine that we potentially didn't have enough stops Hans Doef and I managed to take on another and I finally got around to replacing my helmet after the crash. You won't spot me in photographs quite the same for the last week of the summer, I look a bit different and am hopefully alot safer.

So that crack on the helmet isn't supposed to be there just in case you weren't sure about that photo.

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