About a month ago, my friend Todd and I were on a long ride from Toronto to Burlington and he mentioned that he had never cycled furthered than 190 KM in a single day and mentioned he had always wanted to do a 200 KM ride.
I immediately insisted we needed to make it happen, despite the fact the 110 KM ride we were currently executing was the longest I had ever been on. It is this obscene approach to life that found me clipping into my bike pedals as the sun was rising this past weekend for an amazing day of adventure and training which we had officially labeled the Dub Cent Coonfondo.
Neither of us consider ourselves cyclists so we made sure the average pace was easy and we talked the entire time. It was a lot of fun to tell the long versions of every story and go down every single rabbit trail because we had the time to do so.
We also made sure we ate a solid breakfast of oatmeal with nuts and almond butter and the ever important cup of black coffee.
We cycled easily for the first 30 KM, getting our legs warmed up and when we reached Oakville, we stopped for our first break which consisted of soy Americano mistos from Starbucks and sharing chocolate banana and cinnamon chip scones from the endurance athlete heaven that is Cobbs Bread. I’m not going to lie, we made this just as much about the food as the workout.
We then hit my favourite stretch of the trip which is a gorgeous, wide paved trail through Hamilton area. It is hard to see where the sky and water meet and it was comfortable for the two of us to ride side by side and chat. We picked up the pace a little and stopped at around 80 KM for the banana that we had stuck in our kit pockets earlier that morning.
We tried very hard to not spend time dawdling at our stops because as we fatigued over the course of the day, we knew it would be tempting to make them longer and longer.
The distance to our lunch stop was 110 KM and we were more than ready for some food. We stayed for about an hour, refilled our water bottles and turned back towards Toronto.
We were both shocked at how great we felt considering the distance we had already gone. We held a steady pace and were doing very well. We stopped for peaches in Grimsby.
About 30 KM later, we stopped for espresso at a great café in Burlington and shared a protein bar and sampled the new Clif sweet potato gel which neither of us really loved that much.
We continued on strong until about the 200 KM mark when we both hit a wall hard. We were so happy when our friend Michelle had joined us around 190 KM but it meant we were both losing focus because with three riders, it often means one rider is alone and has time to assess their fatigue. Needless to say, we found a Tim Hortons and both dove face first into their chocolate peanut butter donut.
After a recharge, we finished the ride and celebrated with friends that evening with pizza and craft beer from Ottawa.
I consider myself a lucky girl to have friends who are willing to push limits and go on adventures with me. The biggest things I learned from my ride?
– Hydrate! Between Todd and I, we went through an entire tube of Nuun Hydration. I began drinking it the night before so I had balanced electrolyte levels and kept on until the ride was complete.
When you are demanding your body to go all day, it is important to stay on top of nutrition. Although we had a few treats along the way, most of our food was nutritionally dense and easily digestible like bananas, Larabars and salty soup.
– Get your bike properly fitted. My coach spend some time with me at the beginning of the summer making sure my bike fit me perfectly and I was able to ride for over 9 hours without a single pain.
– Invest in a quality kit. You will be grateful for the quality protection the longer you are riding. No one likes chafing…
UPDATE: I had a reader request for the overview of our ride which can be seen below.
Best thing you have ever eaten after exercise?
If you could do any cycling trip, what would it be?