For those of you not from Ottawa, there really aren’t many places where one can find decent hills to train on. The Ontario side of the border is a valley – plain and simple. And one can only climb (the punny) Corkstown Road so many times. Enter Gatineau Park. It is on the Quebec side of the border and in the Gatineau “Mountains” – foothills to the Laurentians. The Park is a veritable playground for cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts. Maintained by the Federal Government, the road surfaces are amongst the best in the area.
In preparation for this weekend’s Rideau Lakes Tour (360 kilometers over 2 days), Barry & I felt we needed to do some serious climbing – despite the fact that we would not be seeing hills of this type on the weekend. Now that’s preparation!
Our starting point was the parking lot on the Ottawa side of the Island Park Bridge. A chilly evening. But the sun was out for once. There were dozens of other cyclists there for the same purpose.
And then we were off! 18 kilometers to the top.
The ride started out quite easily. Some up, some down. And the the real work began. Our first stop would be at Pink Lake. It was under 5 kilometers from the parking lot at the bottom to Pink Lake. How hard could that be? Hmmmmmm – HARD! But we both made it unscathed. Test number 1 complete.
Through a series of miracles I was able to get ahead of Barry in order to snap the following photo.
From here we had another 13 kms. or so to go. Barry informed me that “this was just the beginning” – between gasps for oxygen – LOL.
The ride continued with the same up & down conditions (much more up then down). My odometer said that we were nearing the summit. Left turn. Holly crap! Now that is a hill!
The last few kilometers were straight up – with no opportunity to stop for a break. Doing so would be wimpy. Plus your carcass would be carried off by the plethora of black flies that frequent Canada’s wooded areas at this time of year (9 bites while snapping my photos). The hardest part for me was not knowing how much I had left to go. The only sign of “hope” was the sun peaking through the tree branches.
We made it. Why else would I be writing this Blog post?
The reward. A most awesome view of the setting sun and West Quebec. This picture does not do the view justice. You have to be there in person.
Some parting shots
Speaking of setting suns…. We had to get back before it did indeed set! The ride back was quicker (LOL).
Barry clocked us at somewhere around 64 kmph. Yikes!
All in all an awesome and challenging ride. I feel myself getting stronger everyday. You gotta go and try it – if you haven’t already.
I had nowhere to put this pic. But I think it’s pretty cool…..