On June 22, Liz Overduin, John Maccio and Kathy Brouse rode the Creemore Classic 400 as a Permanent. They had a lot of fun. This is their ride report.
I have always wanted to do this brevet and was not able to do it with the Huron Chapter this year as an official scheduled ride. So, this weekend, Liz Overduin, John Maccio and I rode this brevet as a Permanent and it was an incredible ride. We decided on an 8:00pm start on the Friday night and planned to finish around 6:00pm on the Sat. Both Liz and John are familiar with this route but they have never experienced a night start.
For me, the ride began in panic mode. As I started assembling my bike in Port Elgin I discovered that I had forgotten my bike rack so it was not possible to take my bike bag. Fortunately Liz had a small backpack in her car and I stuffed what I could into that pack. I knew the night would be cold. John warned that the first 100km would be flat, the last 50km flat and everything in the middle was a climb. He was correct.
Memorable moments on the ride include steep climbs at Eugenia, Creemore and Scenic Caves, bright orange crescent/banana shaped moon in the night, napping in the shade during the bowling event, the Blue Mountains, the Beaver Valley, porcupines, snapping turtles and getting dive bombed by a red winged blackbird. No kidding, I was pedaling along minding my own business when I heard this chukka, chukka, chukka (repeat it over and over with speed and aggression) and looked over my right shoulder to discover I was being chased by an angry blackbird. I saw his beady eyes, bright red wings and he was bearing down on me, chukka, chukka, so I pedaled faster. Very weird.
I just Googled to see if Redwing Blackbirds do attack humans and discovered that in late spring to early summer male blackbirds are guarding multiple nests on the ground, low in trees and in marsh areas. They are ferociously territorial and they do attack human. “How to Stop a Redwing Blackbird Attack” suggests avoiding areas with high populations of redwing blackbirds, ducking as low as possible right before the attack, running as fast as possible for cover, and not to hit or harm a redwing blackbird because they are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and you could end up with a $250,000 fine.
Here’s a funny video of a cyclist being attacked by a redwing blackbird:
So, one more thing to worry about when we’re out there on those long stretches of country road!
I regress, back to the ride report. After a full day of hill climbing in the hot sun we were quiet and weary along Grey Rd 40 to the control in Chatsworth. Having consumed coffee, carbs and sugar at the Coffee Time we were perked and pumped as we headed back to the finish in Port Elgin, telling stories and enjoying the perfectly peaceful quintessential summer evening. After a beer with Carey, Donna and Laurie we headed back to our respective homes and hotels. What an adventure. I highly recommend this brevet but watch out for those angry birds while in Grey County!
Hi everyone. What is it with Kathy Brouse and the Birds & the Bees (remember the bee sting story on the Granite Anvil)? Thanks again to Kathy who so kindly offered to watch our bikes while John Maccio and I went into the Bowling Alley to determine which one of us would be the 2014 Creemore Classic Bowling Champion. John proudly wearing his Italian cycling jersey and shorts, Liz in her Netherlands jersey. John and I enjoyed a friendly beer together as the fierce competition to be the Champion was carried out. Be sure to come to the Awards Dinner in February 2015 to hear the details and find out who will get the trophy from Larry Sowerby. Or….come and do the Creemore Classic yourself as a permanent and try to beat the winning score of 125!
I am not a wordsmith as the both of you but here is what I want to convey. It was my pleasure to do this ride with two enthusiastic women Kathy Brouse and Liz Overduin. The night looked good but there was some fear of rain, which really did not appear. The ride to Owen Sound was so peaceful and as we approached the midnight hour all I could hear was the scurrying of creatures in the woods beside us and the occasional raccoon or porcupine running across the road. The best wildlife we did see was at Pizza Pizza in Owen Sound where we met a group of 420 friendly party animals. They were friendly enough and wanted to know all about our trip and were impressed. It was enjoyable but I needed a quick nap and they wanted to talk. By the time we got to Collingwood, at around 8am, I was famished and enjoy the hungry man breakfast at the Red Hen. We met numerous cyclist in the Collingwood area as there was a charity ride happening at the same time. No matter how hard I train or prepare myself Scenic Caves hill is still intimidating to me but the view during the day made the climb even more enjoyable. I really thought that night start on the 400 was a great idea. I would highly recommend that we purpose one for the PBP year next year so that others can get a taste of a night start which most of the Canadian riders will be doing in Paris.