Markham - Woodville 200k (April 22, 2007)

Sunday April 22, 2007.

Perhaps it was a bit early in the season for me attempt a 200km brevet. With only 400kms this season on my legs, and that being spread out sparsely over 6 weeks I knew my form was lacking. Just a week earlier I finished my second 100k of the year, and really didn't finish it strongly. But sometimes, yes sometimes you just want to push yourself, to test what you got. I knew going into the ride that finishing would be the only goal.

It was quite surprising to see a large crowd turn out for the first brevet of the year. It was probably the great weather that finally showed up after a late winter. Sunny, high of 22 was on the books, and it was warm at 8am, not one of those chilly mornings that make the start of the ride a bit nipplely. I saw some familiar faces in the crowd of the 27+ eager randonneurs that showed up, surprisingly some of them even remembered me. I'm not that social before rides, normally a bit nervous, and busy getting gear and clothing just right (only to change it during the ride).


Getting off at 8am sharp, the group rode out onto Highway 7. I managed to pull off near the front of the group, as the real speedsters pulled away. Mingling and introductions happened as we leaped back and forth in small groups. It wasn't long before I was in between groups riding alone into the first check point already in need for a power-up.

I took some time at the control snacking, and made sure no one waited for me. I didn't want to slow anyone down. Shortly after getting back on the road I came upon Paul, Louis and Terra fixing a flat off to the side of the road. I nearly missed them altogether. In the grand tradition of cycling, everyone got a hand in on the fix and we were back on the road as a small group of 4. By the time we reached the midway control 30kms later I knew I was losing gas again, a sit down lunch was needed and thankfully the group agreed. Getting into town at 4hr and 20 minutes, was a faster pace than I am used too, even with the wind at our backs I was pushing what I should be. I knew the wind would make the ride back tough for me, the others were not as concerned.


Around 1, after a nice lunch we headed out, the first stretch was the final bit with the wind at our backs. Once we turned south towards Little Britain the full effect of the wind became apparent. I knew that I would not be able to keep up with the group, took a final (only?) turn at the front and fell off the back to chug against the wind alone. In Little Britain we regrouped for a snack at the bakery. I wasn't hungry, but who can turn down fresh cookies?

Again after the break I watch the others pull away slowly, every hill the gap got bigger. The 'Road Closed' sign brought us together again for a few seconds, being efficient (lazy) I cowardly watched as the 3 of them rode down into the valley to check out if the road was passable. Sure enough it was, and down the valley I went. In my worn down state I didnít even attempt the hill out of the valley, and for the first time in over a decade I walked up a hill. I liked it, so much in fact that I did it again next to CBM's Saunderland Pit just a bit further down the road.


Once again I caught up to the group in busy town of Leaskdale, and took my time as they headed out, no need to watch them pull away again I thought. Plus Ken had caught up, and we talked for a bit. I headed out before Ken, knowing he'd probably catch up. The 13 kms south on 6th Concession was probably the hardest part of the ride, Right into the wind, and a few steep hills thrown in. I kept looking back to see if Henk was going to lap me. Along this section I caught up to Louis who was resting for a bit, like me he was battling the road. We rode into Uxbridge together, had a sit down Variety store snack and watched Ken ride by and south down Main Street.

It took longer for the chocolate milkshake to kick in this time, and Louis and Ken pulled away from me, but I was able to keep them in my sights and once the chocolate elixir kicked in I was able to keep up. The wind died down and the lack of hills on the last 20kms made the ending of the ride much easier on my poor legs. Louise, Ken and myself all pulled into Timmy's with in 5 minutes of each other.

What did I learn? No training means you'll suffer on the first 200k of the year, suffering isn't all bad however. I think I feel more accomplished this time around than on my other 200k rides. I also learned you can get a pretty bad sunburn in April, something I should have known before.

Adding up the math, first 100km, 4hrs, 22 minutes, last 107kms 6hrs 30 minutes. Total of 207kms in 11hrs 30 minutes, with a good 40 minute lunch.

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