Grand River 200 Brevet

A note from Kathy Brouse:

On Sunday morning it was cold and pouring rain. Four brave souls set off from the Timmy’s In Erin Mills for the Grand River 200. I asked Guy Pearce to send me a description of the ride because I was not able to participate. Congratulations to Brian Neary for completing his first ever Randonneur brevet and to Michael B for getting all the way to the last control on his first RO ride. In true Rando and Father’s day spirit, Guy and Paul S assisted Brian and Michael along the way. Guy said I could share his write-up with you.

Ride Report from Guy Pearce:

A quick write-up of yesterday’s proceedings!

The day started off very wet, with only four silly souls choosing to ignore the weather to go out for a ride; Paul and I, and two newbies, Michael and Brian. It’s always a challenge dressing for rain – deciding between rain pants and no pants, booties or no booties, and rain coat or shower jacket – as whatever you end up choosing, it somehow always seems to be the wrong choice. Whichever way, it was certainly more inviting inside Timmies, but such is the randonneur’s life, and we ventured forth, leaving Kathy, Vaune and William behind in the comfort of Canada’s favourite coffee shop.

By the time we had reached the rollers of 1 Side Road, it became clear that the pace had to be dropped a little if we were to stick together, especially in the rain. So we regrouped at the intersection with Guelph road, and thereafter continued together without incident, at least for a while.

The downhills of Mineral Springs road are awfully good fun. In the dry. On this particular ride though, Brian understandably found sub-zero delight in inspecting the rain-drenched pavement, close up, at speed. It’s not the greatest sound hearing what you know to be one of your mates going tire-side up behind you, incidentally on the steepest part of the downhill, but amazingly the damage was minimal; Freshly character-scarred handlebar tape (a bit more than that actually), a dislocated brake lever – which Paul strongly encouraged back into proper service – and no doubt a sore hip on the part of Brian. After some fettling, making sure all was in order with man and machine, we continued, somewhat more gingerly to the first control, having become increasingly aware of how slippery the surface actually was.

Given all the rain, I had ample opportunity to reflect on the English audax tradition of mudguards with long mudflaps, purposefully fitted to keep the mud and other gunk out of the eyes and off the face of the person behind you. It’s a good practice, and I hope the sentiment lasts long enough for me to modify my rear mudguard in the interests of the person behind me…

The scoot down to Cayuga is probably one of the nicest parts of the ride, which was made even better when we decided to stop at a diner for lunch, in order to help replenish our spirits after mostly rain and wet roads to this point. Interestingly, although it is well known that beer makes you faster, neither Michael nor Brian had a glass, which probably explains their subsequent pace :). Once we finished, we stepped out of the restaurant into some glorious warm sunshine, which was oh so welcome!

It didn’t take us long to realise that the route back to Ancaster would involve some wind. Michael battled bravely with an old injury, finally deciding to take a shortcut home about halfway to the control in Dundas. We then continued, eventually reaching the downhill into Dundas, which is always welcome, more so that it was dry now. At this point though, you try not to think too hard about the little climb out of Dundas… An almost mandatory chocolate milk and a snack later, we were on our way again.

It was great finally getting on to Britannia, with a tail wind to boot! With its assistance, we soon made it back to Erin Mills, with Brian having successfully completed his first brevet! In the meantime, Michael had made it to Oakville before calling his wife to fetch him, and was on his way to meet Brian (they had driven in together). I then left Brian to start the ride home, looking forward to a hot shower and a hot dinner!

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