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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Windsor to Grand Bend - 250 km Made Easy!!!

I started riding with East Side Riders Cycling Club (ESRCC) about 3 weeks ago.  I have always done my riding alone or with my key training partner Les.  Wanting to add a bit of structure, volume and to truly challenge myself, ESRCC seemed to be a perfect fit.  Cynthia, a dear friend has been riding with them for a couple of years, and leaving out of Lasalle was perfect.

I have met a great group of riders and feel accountable to them, if I were not to show up for one of the scheduled rides Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday, I would feel like I am letting them down.  This has been perfect and has already met all my expectations.  Two Saturday's ago, Ali a regular rider, said they were heading to Grand Bend next week (a 250 km ride); you should come he says.  Ali, "I don't know, my longer rides are currently at only 110 km, that's a big jump!".  He reassured me, good group, moderate pace with a few stops that allow for us to recharge.  "Ok - I am in!"

Riding my old S-Works is my only option; how am I going to carry tubes, levers, air, a jacket and all my Custom Infinit to get me through 9 plus hours of riding? After a little research and a quick trip to America, I found this - oh those Germans - what an amazing pack. It allowed me to carry all of the above with ease and a total of 8 servings of my Custom blend, along with two servings of Cold Brew.

Pack set,  I am good to ride.  I'm off to bed Friday night at 10:30 pm, up at 4 am Saturday. On my way to Ali's I'm sipping on Cold Brew to get some nutrition in me.  We start riding at 5 am, Ali and I ride to meet the rest of the group: Karen, Bob, Ben, Tom, Brian and Ron.  After quick intros we are on our way.  My longest ride prior to this was a trip to London, 212 km, but that was a long time ago. Needless to say I was a bit worried about jumping to 250 km, so I was counting on the moderate pace a few breaks to allow me to achieve this new milestone.

After 90 minutes the sun starts to emerge and we are just 60 min away from a quick stop at the Tilbury Tim Horton's.  After a bagel, peanut butter and a small coffee we are ready to go again; after of course I mix up another 2 servings of Infinit.  One of the best things about the ride is getting a chance to talk and get to know each of the riders.  Talked in depth to Bob and Ben about their trip across Canada a few years back, a definite bucket list item for me, so enlightening and inspiring.  Another couple hours and we are already in Wallaceburg, we stop at McDonalds - cool thing when you are riding 250 km, there is no guilt about what you are eating.  Mix up another couple of bottles and we are set.

The route we are taking to the Bend is not the most direct, but man the roads and the scenery are spectacular.  Shortly after leaving Wallaceburg we are traveling along the St. Clair Parkway - never been here before, basically we travel along the St. Clair River all the way to Sarnia.  The beautiful landscape and the continued dialogue makes the time fly by - next thing you know we are at another McDonald's, this time in Sarnia - we are 175 km in and I am still feeling great.  This time I have a Filet-O-Fish, fill my Infinit bottles again and we are off.  We cut through Mike Weir Park, another gem and now we are travelling along the clear, blue waters of Lake Huron; I had no idea that you can cycle right along the coast.  Now we have only 65 km to go and I am already thinking, I don't want this to end yet - one of the most enjoyable rides I have ever been on.  I guess it is all about pace, Ben did a great job of keeping us in check, he has so much experience with endurance cycling - one year covering over 59,000 km; mind boggling, so of course we listen.  We travelled in a single line, each taking our turn, holding 31 or so km down Hwy 7 through to Kettle Point.  Quick stop to refuel, mix another couple of bottles of Infinit and we are ready to go.  Not before the group acknowledges that I have surpassed my longest ride ever, so cool!

All that is left now is the 30 km stretch to Grand Bend, along Hwy 21 - which was an easy stretch.  Love that the group allows me to lead for the home stretch.

Quick picture at the Grand Bend sign.
To finish this out we take a trip down main street and head down to the beach - Elated to finish and I feel so good!  We were 12 hrs total time and moving time was 9 hr 12 min. We finished it off with beer and pizza at John's cottage; a day I won't soon forget.  I am so grateful that I listened to the encouragement of Ali - "you can do this" he insisted.  What a day!


Darcy Haggish, CEO Infinit Nutrition Canada

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