The Final Countdown!
Emily Provincial Park to Toronto – 145km
(8:20am, Sept 27)
We’re done! Yesterday we headed back out to Emily Provincial Park and completed the tour. What a great feeling.
We started the day early. I was up at 5am preparing for the day, and we were on our way with the bikes on the back of the car at 6:30am.
The trip up to Emily was uneventful and quick. We arrived and were ready to leave by about 8:25; we waved goodbye to Frank and headed out.
The first part of the day repeated what we’d done previously as we headed down the road and along the bike trail to Omemee. From there we did a staggered east/south route as we cut across to the lake shore (Lake Ontario).
The ride started hillier than expected. We saw a road on the map called Ski Hill Road when we were planning our route so, thinking it would be steep, we avoided it and took the next road south. It turned out that when we rode past Ski Hill Road it looked fairly flat, whereas our chosen road immediately hit a 10% grade hill and included a few more besides.
Soon enough we hit the Victoria Road Trail, which we thought would be a nice respite from the hills. We were wrong. The next 10km was flat, but alternated between slippery sand and very bumpy stones. It took about 45 mins of both tiring and bone-jarring terrain, although very picturesque. For some reason the path was smooth when it went through patches of trees, and much worse in the open. Go figure.
Once we were back on the road (sweet, sweet relief – especially that my wheels held up!) the ride was lovely and straight-forward. We continued to head southeast through a number of small towns, including the outskirts of Oshawa and Whitby. Eventually we hit Ajax where we joined the route of a ride we’d done to test-drive our last day’s ride. We grabbed lunch shortly thereafter at around the 95km mark, at the intersection of Westney Road and Bayly Street.
It’s amaing what a day of rest will do for your legs. Just a couple of days ago we’d both been tired and slowing down, but yesterday I felt great. We did 95km pre-lunch and I could have easily kept going were we not so hungry. Our average pace jumped by 5km/hr yesterday too, to 22km/hr – despite the busy, winding paths and frequent stops near the end of the route. The lack of weight on the back of the bike likely helped too – we didn’t have to carry our gear yesterday.
Once we were back on the road we joined the Waterfront Trail in Pickering and headed westwards from there. As expected the ride was flat and very scenic; the last time we rode it the weather was miserable – rain and wind – but yesterday it was glorious.
Before it seemed we could blink we were home. One last climb up the Moore Park Ravine, and we were there.
This was an incredible trip. It was testing, both physically and mentally, and our equipment nearly got the best of us but we stuck with it. It feels like a real accomplishment – we did 875km in seven days of cycling, and almost 9,000m of climbing.
Strangely enough, getting home felt like an anti-climax. I have nothing to focus on today, althrough I’ve been thinking that I may start a new blog and post these rides. I’m also thinking of what my next ride may be. More to come on that front, no doubt.
What a crazy, crazy week. Unbelievable. I’m so glad to have been able to do it – and complete it – and even more glad that my dad could join me. Not bad for a guy in his mid-60s! Having him there made it all the more special as we were able to connect in a way we don’t often get to. A blessing on many fronts.
More of these to come, I think.