Ride Report by Kathy Brouse:
An epic ride, 4632 metres of climbing. Twelve riders started the ride and 8 riders finished.
Congratulations to Bob Macleod, Tim Ormond and Randy Akins who have now completed their first series with Randonneurs Ontario!
It was a weekend of hill climbing in the scorching heat which took it’s toll on three riders who could not complete the ride. Luc from Ottawa experienced repeated mechanical problems in his batmobile (sorry Luc I don’t remember the name of your extraordinary rocket bike) and had to abandon the ride in Port Elgin. Stan, Arthur, Bob and I arrived at 1:00am to discover Luc’s rocket being positioned on the back of the CAA flatbed for the journey back to Vaughan. Henk was also abandoning the ride due to some problems with cramping in the leg and hitching a ride back with Luc in the truck. So sorry Luc that your Huron Shores 600 ended on the back of a CAA truck, but hey, that’s an amazing service to have your vehicle transported in the middle of the night some 300+km back to TO!
People are clearly surprised and confused when they see Luc and his human powered bullet. When I was in the Tim’s in Owen Sound and Luc pulled in (this was after his first mechanical problems on Grey Rd 19 when the tire blew up) I overheard a man asking another, “What the f### is it?” and the other replied, “It’s some sort of bike, I saw him park it”. Then, when I was sat on a bench in Big Bay waiting for my comrades and enjoying an ice cream, a man who had watched Luc go by in his rocket approached and asked, “Is that human powered?” When I said yes he replied, “That makes sense, he slowed down a little on the hill”.
Due to the scorching heat, steep climbs and descents, some sunstroke, dehydration and an aching torn tendon in my right foot, this was definitely the hardest 600 brevet I have completed. Turned out there was no services between Markdale and Alliston, 140 km, no water, no food, no washrooms. Perhaps because it was Sunday and we were cycling through the beating heart of rural Ontario there was no tourism, no Sunday drivers, no shops. I kept asking myself when we cycled through small places, where do these people shop? We were forced to beg water from garden hoses to fill the water bottles. The four of us, Arthur, Bob and myself were completely bagged by the time we arrived in Alliston, second to last control.
Thanks to Martin and Guy, who came from Ottawa to do this Toronto 600 because, I quote, “the Devil Week 600 was too challenging”. Wow, that Ottawa ride must have been a super randonnee! Congrats to Stephen, Randy and Martin who finished this brevet in a stunning 28:03, how on earth do you do that?? Do you eat, drink, pee, you certainly don’t sleep or stop to rest.
Must finish with my bear story. As I was headed south on Sauble Parkway it was getting darkish, probably 9:00pm, I looked up to see a bear, perhaps 10 metres in front of me, jump out from the ditch and gallop across the road. No kidding, so close (and for a second or two I thought he was running towards me). Turns out there was a campground further down the road so he must have been hurrying for a late night snack! Seeing the bear shook me up and I stopped in Sauble and waited for the guys so I wouldn’t have to ride alone to Port Elgin in the dark thereby proving that I am not cut from the same cloth as Janet Vogt who recently rode a 400 alone throughout the night in the Blue Mountains, bear country.
PS. On a positive note, the scenery was stunning in the Beaver Valley, Blue Mountains, Bruce Peninsula, Grey County, Mulmur Hills, picturesque postcard perfect.