Right from the get go, I was surprised at how strong my legs felt. I expected more of a hangover from Saturday – I’d been stiff since that ride, and was expecting that feeling to carry over to the ride. On the contrary, from the moment I started I felt fresh and strong.
After a fast (30-35km/hr) 5km into Wiarton, the first major climb was on the other side, heading north up the Bruce Penninsula. To my surprise, I handled it fairly easily, averaging over 17km/hr on a hill that I’d only previously descended and had generally dreaded climbing.
Once at the top of the hill, the next 10km was flat and easy – amidst lovely Fall colours and nice scenery, I was able to get well into the 40km/hr range for a good chunk of it without too much effort.
Before too long it was time to turn off the highway and onto a side road that wound its way over to near Lake Huron and Sauble Beach. It was nice being on a quieter road, and the scenery just kept getting better – quiet lakes and rivers, and trees of all sorts of colours.
About that headwind…
Before I knew it, I turned onto Huron Road and started to head south towards Sauble Beach. At that point, the wind that had been nice and refreshing for the 25km or so up to that point became an ugly headwind that didn’t subside until I turned off the road 12km later. It was strong enough that it slowed me down from an average of 30km/hr over the first hour to around 23/24km/hr for that full stretch.
Happily enough, after 30 mins or so I was able to turn off the busy main road onto Rankin Bridge Road – one of my favourite roads in the area thanks to the lovely scenery around Sauble Beach Provincial Park. Despite it being a dirt road, I was able to speed up immediately as the headwind faded completely thanks to the shelter of the trees. I stopped a couple of times to snap quick pictures of the lovely surroundings before pushing on and heading for home.
The duration of the ride was pretty similar to the first half – fast, scenic and flat. My legs continued to feel strong – I don’t know if I’m already seeing the benefit from the long ride this weekend, or if it was just a function of the route being flatter than I’ve been used to recently. Either way, it felt great to be able to cruise along at 35-40km/hr without having to really push too hard.
Before too long I arrived back at my base for the day, having averaged 29km/hr for the full ride – far faster than I usually manage. I pushed to try to crack 30km/hr, but the headwind put a bit too much of a dent in my time to recover fully. Not that it even remotely matters – I had a blast, the scenery reminded me of why I love Fall in Canada and my legs felt great just two days after the longest ride I’ve ever done.
Another spoke bites the dust
The only real downside to the ride was that I arrived home to find that yet another spoke on my back wheel had broken. That makes four spokes since we left for the Ontario Parks tour a few weeks ago. Happily it didn’t affect the ride – in fact, it either happened right at the end of the ride or just had little impact on the bike when it happened, as I didn’t notice until I stopped and noticed that unmistakable rattle of the head of the spoke rattling around inside the wheel rim.
To say I’m unimpressed with the stock spokes on the CAADX is a real understatement. I’m leaning towards getting the full wheel re-spoked at this point.
My local bike store showed a real disinterest in handling that work when I asked after the previous three broke, so this week I’ll be on the lookout for a place in Toronto that is more willing to take my money (suggestions welcome!).
I was about to write that the good news is that I’ll be indoors on the trainer and not worrying about spokes soon anyway thanks to the changing seasons, but there’s clearly nothing good about that either. Blech.
Technical annoyance aside, this was a lovely ride and a nice way to round off the weekend up north.