Ride Report from Stephen Jones:
Jerzy Dziadon, Stephen Jones(me) and Liz Overduin showed up to try the reworked Haliburton Highlands ride this year.
The forecast was for rain showers and a chance of thunderstorms, with cooling and clearing overnight. The riders quickly separated near the start, with Liz and Jerzy sticking together, and me heading off on my own.
I find it difficult to write a ride report when I do one of these on my own. I get the satisfaction of pushing my limits on the ride, but miss all the social interaction going on in the group. So, I sent out a few questions to the other riders and have compiled the responses below
Q. What did you think of the HH 600 route?
LO. Kathy Brouse recommended the Haliburton Highlands route for years and I now totally understand why – it is a spectacular brevet. The scenery is breath-taking and the hills are exhilarating. Once again this sport of randonneuring takes you to the out-of-the-way places like the amazing bakery in Orono and the “beary best” burger place in Gooderham, meeting friendly people along the way.
SJ. This is my third HH 600, and each time the route has been a bit different. Personally, I think a lot of the issues with road conditions and traffic have been addressed with this iteration.
Q. What was your favourite part of the ride?
LO. It would be hard to pick a favourite part of this ride but I did think to myself, “if this is a taste of the Granite Anvil, I can hardly wait!” (One thing that would be nice is if they re-paved the Ashburn road before August).
SJ. My favourite was big surprise to me in that it was the part I had initially not been looking forward to. Bobcaygeon Road north of Minden can be very dark at night, with no road paint or driveways or buildings for a good stretch. We do this road twice, and l managed to get to it the second time right around sunset, so I still had a fair amount of light. Combined with a full moon, and swarms of fireflies, what I thought would be a tense trip through a black hole turned into a lovely ride in the twilight.
Q. Did you have a plan for how to do this ride, and what was it?
A. Liz’s plan was ride to Haliburton and check into a hotel there. Mine was to minimize time off the bike and ride through the night. So, we had examples of two very different styles.
Q. Did you stop anywhere, like a store or restaurant, that you would recommend to other riders?
SJ. The Village Bakery and Café in Orono was introduced this year as a control, and turned out to be a lovely place to stop. I also stopped in Peterborough at Marty Moo’s restaurant and had a terrific steak burrito. It was easily the best food I had during the ride. Friendly too. I asked the waitress to sign my card, and my neighbours at the next table asked me to explain what I was doing. By the time I finished, the entire restaurant was listening and wishing me good luck on the ride.
Q. Would you do the ride again?
LO. Like Kathy, I have to recommend this ride to everyone, even if you don’t do it as a brevet, you should do this ride – take a week if you want. You will love it!
I(Liz) had expected that I would be on my own for this ride, (knowing that Stephen Jones is….well….he does rides a little faster than me is all I have to say) but Jerzy Dziadon had also signed up for this ride and we were able to ride together for the most part. We did not see any bears or moose, but in addition to rabbits and chipmunks we saw a skunk, coyote and a fox.
The second day, after a good rest in Haliburton, was a little tougher thanks to Heat and Headwinds. Jerzy also suffered with his saddle, describing that it was like sitting on a Hedgehog – ouch! We both struggled in the afternoon sun with Jerzy deciding to stop and rest in the shade, while I continued on very slowly. We met up again and finished the last 20 k together.