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LOL - the Lap of the Lake (Lake Ontario)

Old 07-17-18, 09:56 AM
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LOL - the Lap of the Lake (Lake Ontario)

This forum is supposed to be used to "share ride reports" among other things, so I thought I would do just that.



(Jonathan's photo of the finisher's medal)


LOL (LOL 1000km Brevet Info Page) is a 1000 km brevet that is held every year, alternating between Randonneurs Ontario (https://www.randonneursontario.ca/) and Central-Western NY Randonneurs (Central and Western NY Randonneuring). The 2018 running finished a couple days ago.

The level of support offered by the organizer depends on various factors, such as the number of riders, and whether he can find a volunteer to drive a sag car. In this case there were ten riders, and there was a sag vehicle, driven by the one and only volunteer (Marcia), who also served to troubleshoot detours on the fly, transmit messages among the riders, and provide other support where needed.

The US Start is right on the shore of the lake a little east of Rochester. We started at 7:30 PM, riding east on a fairly quiet rural road. Sunset was at 8:48, so we had about two hours of riding before it was really dark. I am rarely at the front of any group of randonneurs, but as it happened, another rider (Jonathan) and I found ourselves ahead of everyone else by dark. We passed through picturesque towns and villages with occasional views of the lake, harbors, etc. A controle at Oswego was the last opportunity to buy refreshments before businesses opened again in the morning. After Oswego things got really quiet. If I had counted all the cars that passed us during the night, it might only be a few dozen.

About halfway between Oswego and the next controle, we found Marcia waiting at the side of the road with all kinds of snack foods. I accepted strawberries, blueberries, water, and a soda. By this time the sky was clear, and there was no moon, so the sky was absolutely brilliant. I haven't seen so many stars in many years. Hundreds of fireflies flying overhead and all around us gave the impression of a meteor shower. We really couldn't see much of the countryside, but what we saw was quite lovely. And flat.

It was just about dawn when we passed through the town of Cape Vincent, at the western end of the St Lawrence river (the Thousand Islands), where we met Marcia again. The first opportunity for breakfast was in Clayton, NY. Jonathan's photo:


Before Jonathan and I left there, several other riders (Bill, Tom, Dawn, and Pete) had caught up with us, along with Marcia.

Crossing the St Lawrence River involves two long and narrow old suspension bridges, both with spectacular views:




The border is between the two bridges. Both have a very narrow pedestrian path on the left (west) side. The path is so narrow that it is difficult to walk next to your bike. I believe it would have been easier to ride in this narrow space than to walk the bike, but riding is not permitted. Here's me, proudly wearing my new "Pennsylvania Randonneurs" jersey. See how narrow the path is? Jonathan's photo of course:


Jonathan and I stopped for water at the Duty Free Shop immediately before the border; then, getting in line to go through customs, we saw two of the other riders (Bob and Jean) going through ahead of us.

I really enjoyed walking over the bridges, despite the narrowness of the path, but I must emphasize that they really slow you down. Each bridge is a long and slow walk. The northernmost edge of the river is a precipitous cliff, and when you look down on it you can see the cliff both above and below the waterline. It is a very deep channel.

In Canada, now, we turned west into a pretty stiff wind. The first section of this ride was a multi-use path with a few pedestrians and other cyclists, but it was still pretty early and empty. There were still occasional views of the river, full of tiny rocky islands, all of them covered with vacation homes and tall pine trees. At the western end of the river are larger islands, with a long string of windmills. I couldn't have counted them; there must be hundreds of them. By the time we reached Kingston, a large city at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, we were on busy roads. And we stayed on busy roads for most of the rest of the day. Somewhere along the way we found Marcia again, accepted more refreshments, and lay down in the grass to close my eyes for a while. Both Jonathan and I were pretty wiped out, due to the heat and the fact that we hadn't slept in some 30 hours. But knowing that we might have to wait as much as a half hour for the ferry to Glenora, I suggested to Jonathan we slog on and nap later.



The free ferry from Adolphustown to Glenora was almost full, and we rode straight on with no waiting. Glenora is very pretty town in Prince Edward County, which is an island, but not to be confused with the other Prince Edward Island in the St Lawrence. I'm sure Prince Edward is a lovely place, but the road we took across it was straight and boring and busy. By this time I was having bizarre thoughts --fragments of dreams intruding on my consciousness-- and I needed that nap. Scanning both sides of the road for any spot that would serve the purpose, Jonathan noticed two bicycles leaning up against a restaurant with outdoor seating, so we took that as a good omen. Sure enough, there were Bob and Jean, sleeping on picnic tables. I sat down on a plastic Adirondac chair, set a timer for ten minutes, and closed my eyes. The timer went off almost immediately, and as I went to reset it I realized, hey, I feel a lot better. Jonathan was waking up too, so we headed back to our bikes, and found Bob and Jean waking up as well. How long have you guys been here? Bob asked.

Just after that nap, we found Marcia again, and she told us we needed to reroute around a road closure. Jonathan used his etrex GPS to find a route to Brighton, the next town; and we rode to there with Bob and Jean. After Brighton we got on quiet rural roads again, very thankful to be off heavily trafficked two-lane highways.

At 7:30 I noted that my GPS showed 277 miles -- ridden in the last 24 hours basically without stopping.

I had reserved a room in Cobourg, whereas Jonathan had got one in Bowmanville, some miles farther west, so we split up when we passed a Subway shop in Cobourg. Subway, for what it's worth, has really excellent self-serve ice dispensers; very easy to fill a water bottle or hydration pack with ice, for free, while they're preparing your food order. But I digress. Jonathan needed ice, and I was almost done for the day. The sun had just set when I reached my motel; I hadn't had to put on reflective gear yet, and there was Marcia with my drop bag

My motel room was baking hot, and had no openable window, but it had a little air conditioner. I turned on the A/C and got in the shower. Getting out of the shower into a now freezing cold room, I found, much to my dismay, that there were no towels. I later realized I could have called the front desk and asked someone to bring me a towel, but the thought never occurred to me. I dried myself off with a bandana, ate one of the salami-and-cheese-on-whole-wheat-pita sandwiches I always carry, set an alarm to wake me three hours later, and went to bed.

That was day one. 299 miles over 26 1/2 hours.

To Be Continued....

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Old 07-17-18, 10:25 AM
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Thank you for the ride report! I live in Buffalo and did a CNY Randonneurs 200K last fall, and hopefully one day I will work up to the LOL. (Maybe when my kids are older.) It's funny you mentioned the fireflies... I haven't done much distance riding at all this year for various scheduling and equipment reasons, but a few days ago I dreamed I was riding a brevet at night with fireflies on either side, and it has really motivated me to get my bike back into shape so I don't miss the rest of the riding season. (I suffered a nerve injury in my fingers on that 200K and I'm replacing the handlebars and brake levers with something better suited for long distance comfort.)

Looking forward to part 2!
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Old 07-17-18, 03:15 PM
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Awesome report, looking forward to rest of it. I've never done LOL but maybe next year...
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Old 07-18-18, 02:37 AM
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Great report. I am thinking of doing a 1000k in September, so this will be useful information to me.

Speaking of towels, I forgot to bring one during my last 600k. Since I was using a homestay, no towels, no toilet paper, no nothing. Ended up using the jersey I wore the previous day to wipe myself dry, lol.
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Old 07-18-18, 06:32 AM
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LOL Day Two

When I turned off my light and closed my eyes, I was lying on top of the sheets of my hotel bed, and when my alarm went off at 1:30 AM I was still on top of the sheets. It was hard to believe three hours had already gone by. I put on the same clothes as I had worn the day before, filled my hydration pack, repacked my drop bag, and headed out the door. I put the drop bag in the back of Marcia's car, which she had left unlocked for my benefit. Before going to bed I had sent Jonathan a text so he'd know what time I was getting up; and when I got on my bike I sent another so he'd know what time I started. Since we had been riding the same speed, we figured this would give him a pretty precise idea of when I'd be getting to Bowmanville. Riding into Bowmanville Jonathan had scouted out places where we might meet in the morning, and settled on a grocery store that would be open 24 hours.

Cobourg was deserted. I saw no cars moving, and heard nothing but my tires. But going down the first hill I saw a flashing light ahead of me and quickly identified it as a bicycle tail light. Another randonneur! Who had got out ahead of me, I wondered. But as I caught up I realized this rider didn't have the regulation reflective bands on his ankles, nor even the required reflective vest. If this was a randonneur, he was risking getting disqualified. When I passed him I gave a cheerful “good morning!” and the guy gave me a horrified look and didn't reply. Not a randonneur at all, just some guy on his way to work.

More little towns with little Victorian houses and well maintained business districts. More quiet rural roads. And the occasional train passing through in the near distance, never seen but always heard. They make an ungodly racket that starts in the distance and gets louder and louder until it seems unbearably close, and then it goes on for a long time before fading into the distance again. I was lucky that I didn't have to stop for any of them at the many level crossings.

Coming into Bowmanville I found the grocery store no problem. I texted Jonathan my location (according to my phone, that text was sent at 4:16 AM) and went ahead and got myself some coffee, blueberries, and stroopwaffeln. I'm familiar with stroopwaffelen from having visited the Netherlands in the past, but I've never seen them in the US (Trader Joes has tiny little ones, not quite the same). When I came out of the store, Jonathan was arriving; we sat on a bench and ate our breakfast. I got another cup of coffee, and we started riding. And climbing. To get around Toronto, we would have to get up to higher elevation, an area of rolling hills. From the tops of the hills you could see the road stretch ahead and behind, disappearing over a hilltop and reappearing on the next, all the way to the horizon. Here's Jonathan:



Okay, this was four days ago and I'm already having a little trouble remembering anything. I may have to edit some detail into this account at a later date....

The next controle was Stouffville. Realizing that Jonathan and I were ahead of the other riders, possibly pretty far ahead of them, I sent Marcia a text telling her where we were and that we did not require any assistance or support at that time. No need for her to check up on us.

By this time we were riding through new subdivisions on the outskirts of the Toronto suburbs. They are building an unbelievable number of houses and apartment buildings, densely packed, though they look to me like nice houses. Some are freestanding, others are townhouses. In style they seem to resemble the turn of the last century townhouses I'm familiar with from cities like Philadelphia and DC, but these all have a garage next to the front door. And there are thousands of them. There is construction everywhere, sometimes involving road closures and detours. The RBA had been adjusting the route to avoid road closures, the last updates coming only a few days before the ride.

If you're patient, check out this photo. I know, it's a terrible photo, but there's a lot of detail there:


Note: the four lane road. Just about all the roads are like that.
Note: on the horizon at the right are finished houses. I caught only the western end of that row; it went on much farther than you see. Between them and the camera is an open field.
Note: on the horizon at the center, some woods and an older house. Will these still be there next year?
Note: near the left edge, earth moving equipment, with a few new houses immediately behind them. They are ready to turn the open field into houses.

Leaving Stouffville Jonathan and I realized that our respective GPS units had different routes programmed into them, and we weren't sure which to trust. We followed Jonathan's until at some point we found conclusive evidence that mine was the correct route, and after that we followed mine.

There was rain on the horizon, rain in the weather forecast, and occasionally the roads were wet from a recent shower; but we did not encounter any rain for many hours. When we did finally catch a little rain, it was a very gentle drizzle, not enough to make you more wet than you get from riding on a hot day.

Toronto and its suburbs are laid out on a grid pattern that isn’t exactly oriented to the cardinal points, but I won’t digress. Heading west on a four lane road, we spotted a bike path on the other side of the road and decided to try that for a while; traffic was too heavy, and passing us too close and too fast. But riding on the bike path proved to be just as stressful, with pedestrians walking dogs, other cyclists, and poorly designed road crossings. But gradually the foot traffic on the path disappeared, and we found ourselves riding alongside houses so new that they weren't even occupied yet. The sidewalk ended abruptly near a major cross street, so we got on the road again. Jonathan's photo:

The cyclist in the upper right corner of the photo, that's me.

At the cross street, the development ended; the four lane road we had been avoiding suddenly became a quiet two-lane rural road with corn fields on both sides. All these corn fields will be full of houses the next time they run LOL. I don't want to go on about this: suffice it to say Greater Toronto is huge, and it is growing unbelievably fast. As soon as we passed out of it to the west, we turned south and came into Mississaugua, which is growing just as fast. We eventually turned west again into Erin Mills, another rapidly growing suburb, where we had a Tim Horton's controle; I texted Marcia again to update her on our progress. Leaving Erin Mills we crossed another border and were in the countryside again, quaint old farmhouses in fields with cattle and crops, high cliffs visible to the west. I think this is the Niagara Escarpment or something; basically, somewhere between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario there is a major elevation change, hence Niagara Falls.




Coming into our last controle of the day, Jonathan and I split up. I was inadvertently pushing him to go faster, and he was slowing me down, and this wasn't making either of us happy. We were almost done for the day anyway. I had a few hours of riding ahead of me and just wanted to get it over with. Following the western edge of the lake, the route took me on the access road of a superhighway, with a headwind and hot sun. The road was well paved except for deep contraction cracks at regular intervals. We had been on roads like this all day, and much of the day before: perfectly smooth but for a regular BUMPBUMP, BUMPBUMP, BUMPBUMP, and so on. It is quite literally a pain in the ass. The access road was cracked up in this way, with a highway on the west side and a dense wall of vacation homes on the east. The lake was under a hundred yards away, and I rarely caught a glimpse of it. Not that I was looking; avoiding each BUMPBUMP was top priority, though sadly impossible. The access road had a bike lane on the right, which had more debris, but was less cracked up. Debris means a risk of flat tires; I didn't care, as long as I could avoid those bumps.





The access road connected beautiful little beach communities with brightly painted cottages


surrounded by suburban sprawl houses, and rarely a bit of agriculture (apple orchards and other crops). After Port Dalhousie, which is very pretty, I crossed the Welland Canal, where a large ocean going ship had just passed through the lock.


Then Niagara-on-the-Lake, a pretty residential community with a lot of nightlife.

I don’t know how much randonneurs look at maps these days. I used to look at maps all the time, but when relying on cue sheet and GPS I never look at a map at all. So, thinking schematically, I know the Niagara River flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario and Lake Ontario is to the east of Lake Erie. So as I rode along the Niagara River, I had a general sense that I must be heading west. So it was a little alarming to see the sun setting behind me (I was actually heading SE). I stopped to put on my reflective gear.

Before I could get to my motel, I had to climb a height equivalent to that of Niagara Falls, and at this point in the ride the climb was unwelcome, though not surprising. I was rewarded with a spectacular view of the river. This photo --taken by a passerby whose name I didn't get-- faces a little east of due north.



Note to the photo, since I think that's the only photo I'll be sharing of my loaded bike. The bag suspended from the top tube contains a two liter hydration pack reservoir; you can see the drinking hose sticking up at an oblique angle from between the brake cables. It's held to the brake cables with a velcro strap. To drink, I had to put my hands down in the drops, which turned out to be a good thing, since it forced a frequent change of position for both my hands and my butt. It was pretty easy to take the hydration pack out and fill it with ice (especially at Subway).

On arriving at my motel, a little after 9 PM, I checked my phone and found a text from Marcia; they had gone out to get dinner a few minutes earlier, and I couldn’t get my drop bag until they got back; but they could bring me something to eat. The motel had no outdoor seating, so I pulled a chair up to the door of my room and looked out over the parking lot for a while. It was not exactly picturesque, but I had been up for almost 20 hours and had just ridden 213 miles. Sitting down and doing nothing at all seemed like an excellent use of my time. Some time later my dinner appeared, delivered by none other than @antimonysarah, who was kind enough to hang out with me while I ate. Sarah had been forced to quit the ride the day before –but I will let her tell her own story if she wishes.

I gave Marcia the key to my room, so when I left in the morning I could just leave my drop bag on the floor and go. This being a busy area, she preferred not to leave her car unlocked.

Before turning my lights out I texted Jonathan to see if he would want to ride together the next day; but no, I would be leaving too early for his taste. Lights out at 11:15, my timer set for three hours.

To be continued...

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Old 07-18-18, 08:45 AM
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Enjoying this report of a ride from my general area! Apparently the cliffs you saw south of Toronto are indeed part of the Niagara Escarpment (see map below), but I have always known it as the steep ridge north of Niagara Falls, on both sides of the river. This is what you climbed on the way to your motel. A couple of years ago I rode the "CanAm Century" which does a loop from Buffalo to Niagara-on-the-Lake, across to the US side again and back to Buffalo, and that takes you down and back up the Escarpment once on each side.

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Old 07-18-18, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Leaving Erin Mills we crossed another border and were in the countryside again, quaint old farmhouses in fields with cattle and crops, high cliffs visible to the west. I think this is the Niagara Escarpment or something; basically, somewhere between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario there is a major elevation change, hence Niagara Falls.
Indeed -- riding in the sag wagon with Pete (the RBA/organizer), he talked about the route. The Randonneurs Ontario version of LOL adds seven miles and goes up the escarpment somewhere around there, back down before the Welland canal, and then back up again in the same spot you climbed it. Evidently you can see both Lake Ontario and Lake Erie at the same time, and it's quite pretty up there, but Pete didn't want to add the extra miles and climbing. (It doesn't spare you the Toronto sprawl before it, alas, since the Erin Mills control is the Toronto version start/finish.)

Originally Posted by rhm View Post
On arriving at my motel, a little after 9 PM, I checked my phone and found a text from Marcia; they had gone out to get dinner a few minutes earlier, and I couldn’t get my drop bag until they got back; but they could bring me something to eat. The motel had no outdoor seating, so I pulled a chair up to the door of my room and looked out over the parking lot for a while. It was not exactly picturesque, but I had been up for almost 20 hours and had just ridden 213 miles. Sitting down and doing nothing at all seemed like an excellent use of my time. Some time later my dinner appeared, delivered by none other than @antimonysarah, who was kind enough to hang out with me while I ate. Sarah had been forced to quit the ride the day before –but I will let her tell her own story if she wishes.
We were at the World's Slowest Denny's; we'd intended to be back before you arrived. You were remarkably coherent and cheerful (I've supported a bunch of 600ks, I know what tired randos look like) when we got back; it was nice to chat with you. (And I'll tell my tale once you've finished yours (and once I've extracted the few photos I took from my phone.))
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Old 07-18-18, 03:28 PM
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The Toronto Sprawl is insane... I've worked in Bowmanville quite a bit and stay at a best western near the 401 and shop at the 24 hour Metro just up the road from there... dunno if that was the 24h store you ended up in Bowmanville or not. There is some really nice riding just north of the city and new toll highway (407) being built there... and part of the area northwest of there is called the Oak Ridges Morraine and it's famous for its ups and downs, quite a few of the Toronto routes go through it. A lot of the Toronto routes go up and down the escarpment to escape the busier traffic found everywhere around the lake. It's a shame so much of the city was built up before there was any thought given to bicycles and bike lanes... a lot of the bike lanes in my city are pathetic and it seems Ontario traffic engineers have a lot of work to do, much better infra is found in Ottawa and Montreal. Some of our rides cross the Welland canal and waiting for a ship can add a half hour or more to a ride... neat to see them up close though! That climb up along the Niagara river is really scenic too! Did you see the whirpool from either side? I've never ridden on the American side.

Here's the Randonneur's Ontario version for comparison... climbing up the escarpment in Hamilton is a bit of a slog but easier in the early morning when we'd be leaving Erin Mills. I will have to try and fit this one in before PBP next year!
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Old 07-19-18, 06:13 AM
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LOL Day Three

I didn't sleep quite so soundly this time. I woke up at least once before my alarm woke me at 2:15. But it didn't matter. Once I figured out how to turn off the alarm (and figured out who I was and where I was and why I was there, and all that stuff, which I must admit took me a little longer than usual this morning), I got dressed and repacked my stuff. Clean clothes this time, and I even remembered to fill my hydration pack with ice from the motel ice maker. It was about 3 AM when I passed Niagara Falls. A skunk crossed the road in front of me, and I steered wide. Is there a specific verb for the way a skunk runs? It's sure distinctive enough, a comical sort of undulation, I recognized it immediately and kept my distance. Soon enough I was at the scenic overlook by the falls, but it was too crowded for my taste. The balustrade was lined, at discrete intervals, by young couples sharing intimate moments –seriously, it reminded me of Rome. There was a fountain there, with drunk teenagers splashing in it, laughing and yelling, daring each other to take off their clothes. It looked like a lot of fun for them, but I was not interested. I would have liked to stand and stare at the falls, but it didn't seem to be the time for that. I rode across the Rainbow Bridge and got in line behind two cars going through customs. The customs officer signed my brevet card. I asked him if any other cyclists had come through; and he said no, none that he'd seen, but he'd only been on duty for a little while and couldn't say what happened before he got there.

I immediately got lost in Niagara Falls NY, backtracked a bit, and had to find one of those big maps with the mark saying “you are here” before I found my way out of town. The town was quiet, and though there certainly was great scenery somewhere nearby, I didn't see any. The road out of town turned into a highway before I exited into the suburb of Lewiston, still too early for anything to be open; then south along the top of the escarpment, turning east as I reached the lake. The air was still, the night was quiet, and I saw hardly any cars. A couple times a shadowy form ran across the road, raccoons, I think.

The next controle was at the village of Olcott, and I somehow managed to miss it. I found one called Olcott Beach, which I assumed to be a kind of suburb of Olcott itself, but there didn't seem to be any businesses open there, so I kept going. Soon I was out in a truly rural area, and I realized I had ridden right through Olcott entirely. My cue sheet said no services for the next 90 km. Oy! I don't think that was exactly true; I passed a little general store and deli at 6:45, and saw that it would open at 7; around 7:45 I passed one that would open at 8.

By this time my sleep deprivation had caught up with me and I needed a nap, but I didn't see any suitable place. Finally I got on the Lake Ontario Parkway, an old (pre-interstate) highway with a few bridges and a lot of level crossings. It had never been finished. I found a disused part of the road and lay down on my back, my head on my helmet, my bike at my side. I set my timer for ten minutes, at the end of which I set it again. With the exception of two cars that came up the entrance ramp and got on the parkway while I lay there, and an occasional car passing on the road I'd just got off, the only sounds were birds and insects. I finally got on my bike and headed east on the parkway. The parkway surface is concrete, badly cracked at the seams. Some of the cracks had been repaired in the past, but not for some time, while others had not been repaired at all, so riding this road was more of the same BUMPBUMP, BUMPBUMP, BUMPBUMP that I had had the day before. I found the surface at the far left edge to be in the best condition, and I rode right along the edge for several miles. No cars passed. A glance at the map will show that this parkway runs right along the shore of the lake, but I did not see the lake until much later, but somewhere along there I got a view of the lake for several miles, nothing to see out there but blue sky and blue water.


To the south of the parkway was farmland, as flat as anything in the midwest:


Farther east, the condition of the parkway improved, and then suddenly I came onto a section that was newly paved with black asphalt, asphalt so new it hadn't been painted with lines yet.

There was a detour-- a turn to the south, then east again, and then turning north to get back to the parkway-- all to avoid a particularly bad section of the parkway, and several miles later I was back on the parkway. The section that I'd avoided appears to have been repaired now, but I didn't check it out. When I turned north, I realized I had been enjoying a tailwind and not even realizing it. Some miles later I got off the parkway and onto a rural road along the shore, passing through beach communities on the outskirts of Rochester, with large ponds south of the road.


The next controle was in Charlotte, a Rochester suburb and its port, where there's a frozen custard stand that people rave about; but it was closed. There was a busy diner open, though, and I went in there. I suppose there was something about my cyclist appearance, not having shaved in a few days and my hair showing the impression of a helmet, but the waitress did not want to give me much attention. My coffee was slow to be refilled, etc. I was about done eating when Bob and Jean came in. I learned that they had crossed the border ahead of me, and had been sleeping in Olcott when I passed there. I had Bob sign my brevet card –much easier than trying to get my waitress to do it-- and rode on. This was the last stretch and I didn't see any point in dragging it out.

I passed right through the northern edge of Rochester, but I didn't see anything of the city. At this point the topography changed; west of Rochester had been flat, but now there were rolling hills as the road dipped down into creek valleys and back up onto the plateau. The lake was not far away, but I didn't see it. The day had become hot and dry, but I had plenty of water. In the last five miles I picked up my pace as much as I could, figuring I might as well use up the last of my energy and water before I finished. That wasn't hard to do! When I rolled into the final controle, at 12:42 PM, I was exhausted.

The start / finish is actually the RBA's home, and he has a time stamp clock in his garage, so even though I didn't see anyone at the controle, I knew what to do; I stuck my brevet card into the time clock until it went KERCHUNG, and I was done. First finisher! I had ridden the last day's 202 km in just under ten hours, good time for me. This is the first time I've ever been first finisher on any randonnee, and I won't be holding my breath for the next time. But it felt good.

I had thought I could go for a swim in the lake, but it turns out there was no way to get down to the water, an abrupt clay cliff with a drop of fifteen feet or so. I hosed myself off and sat in the shade. Pete's wife offered the use of the shower, but I declined; after using the garden hose and changing my shirt I felt clean enough. I drank a beer and sat in a lawn chair and dozed. Bob and Jean arrived an hour later, hung out for a bit, and left. Then Marcia's sag wagon with Pete and Sarah, just a few minutes ahead of Jonathan.

We hung out on the lawn exchanging stories for some hours. I needed to get in the car and begin my drive home, but I didn't want to move. I had eventually made up my mind to get underway when the remaining riders rolled in, so I stayed.

I drove halfway home that night, stopping once or twice to take short naps; and still needing short naps when I finished the drive on Monday.


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Old 07-19-18, 08:11 AM
  #10  
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Great write up Rudi!

What a difference a few hours make: it was dark as I hit Niagara-on-the-Lake, so no fantastic views, though it was neat to see the lights on the US side across the river.

As Marcia may attest, I was barely (arguably not) coherent as I rolled into the Super 8 Saturday evening. Marcia again played the savior role and was patient with my addled brain as we sorted out logistics.

@clasher - yes, I stayed at the Best Western in Bowmanville and it was the Metro with life-saving coffee at 4:15am or so. Rumor has it that there are a couple of 24-hour Tim Horton's around there, but we didn't see them. The Best Western was slightly confused when a strange, likely smelly, person in cycling gear shows up with pizza box (and fried pickles) and says they have a reservation! It was quickly sorted and I got up to the room and fell asleep in short order.

My highlights for that stretch between Niagara Falls and Ontario, NY:
  • 5am breakfast sandwich at Frankie's Donuts and Pizza in Niagara Falls, NY: "Open 25 hours, 8 days a week!"
  • General store in Olcott where the woman who served me breakfast sandwich #2 recalled groups of riders coming through in years past
  • Decent nap outside another store around Yates where ice and ice cream were procured
  • Getting surprised by Marcia, Pete, and Sarah who had set up an impromptu water stop along that detour off of Lake Ontario State Parkway, just as I was thinking about where to find more ice water. In my brain: "That's interesting, someone is setting up a picnic along the side of the road.... wait, I know those people!"
  • The chocolate shake at ****tt's Frozen Custard in Charlotte, NY was indeed delicious
-jonathan

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Old 07-19-18, 10:33 AM
  #11  
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Congratulations! I can't imagine having to drive a long way home right after a ride like that. After my 200K I basically just passed out in the car while my riding buddy drove us back home.

Olcott is that little village that contains Olcott Beach. They have this really charming little kiddie amusement park in the summer, with an old fairground organ, a carousel, and about a dozen restored kiddie rides from the 1940s, all in sight of the lake. Other than that, there's not much to the town!

Was it a problem to miss the control in terms of certifying the brevet card? I can only imagine it can be difficult to navigate in the middle of the night on the third day of riding!
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Old 07-19-18, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Chesterton View Post
Congratulations! I can't imagine having to drive a long way home right after a ride like that. After my 200K I basically just passed out in the car while my riding buddy drove us back home.

Olcott is that little village that contains Olcott Beach. They have this really charming little kiddie amusement park in the summer, with an old fairground organ, a carousel, and about a dozen restored kiddie rides from the 1940s, all in sight of the lake. Other than that, there's not much to the town!

Was it a problem to miss the control in terms of certifying the brevet card? I can only imagine it can be difficult to navigate in the middle of the night on the third day of riding!
The drive was rough. I aspire to be a non-driver, but it hasn't worked out realistically. I don't have a car -- borrowed my wife's for this ride. I normally try to mooch a ride from someone (and this, too, can be scary!).

As for missing the controle, I entered the time I passed through the town, and my own initials. There really can't be any doubt I was there-- I rode around the whole lake, after all, and have the photos to prove it. I don't need this ride to qualify for anything other than the RUSA cup, so if someone decides I haven't fulfilled the requirements, well, then I guess I won't get my cup and I'll have to figure out some other way to in my and frankly, being DQ'd might make for the better story anyway.

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Old 07-19-18, 11:28 AM
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Driving home from a 1200 or 1000 is definitely not the fun part. I usually don't sleep too well afterwards either, so it often requires many naps.

Thanks for the ride report. This is the first report of LOL that made me want to ride it.
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Old 07-23-18, 11:48 AM
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Thank you for posting this.
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Old 07-23-18, 03:06 PM
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Thanks for the report. I really enjoyed it, felt like I was riding it again.

I also rode the LOL two times, back in 2010 and in 2014. Nothing changed much since then, Toronto traffic is still terrible and the highway before Rochester still has those horrible joints. Wish the route around Toronto would be better
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Old 08-12-18, 05:25 PM
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For any of us who have never done an actual rando, this certainly lets us see what it is all about. I really want to try this aspect of cycling one day!
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Old 06-19-19, 03:02 PM
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Northern Virginia Randonneurs have a their new Shenandoah 1000k ride starting tomorrow. I'm not riding it. I registered, paid, prepped my bike (new tires, thoroughly cleaned, cables adjusted &c) and eventually realized I just don't have time for a long ride right now. My wife and I are moving next week, and I'm not done packing.

But Pete is running LOL again this year, so I thought why not do it again? Sounds like the route will be the same as last year. So that's my current plan. Anyone want to join me?
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Old 06-19-19, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Northern Virginia Randonneurs have a their new Shenandoah 1000k ride starting tomorrow. I'm not riding it. I registered, paid, prepped my bike (new tires, thoroughly cleaned, cables adjusted &c) and eventually realized I just don't have time for a long ride right now. My wife and I are moving next week, and I'm not done packing.

But Pete is running LOL again this year, so I thought why not do it again? Sounds like the route will be the same as last year. So that's my current plan. Anyone want to join me?
I've always wanted to do it even though it doesn't start in Toronto anymore I'd like to do it... but I am planning to do one at the start of August, even though it's almost as far of a drive for me to the start as it is to drive to Rochester. I hadn't noticed LOL on the rusa schedule until after I decided to do the Ontario 1000k and LOL would give me more rest before PBP but I'm hoping 3 weeks is enough to recover

If you're up for something different and haven't made firm plans yet the 1000k I'm doing is called the Manitoulin 1000. There will be drop bags and hotels for the night stops... costs are just shared so it kind of depends on how many people come out, last time they had 6 or 7 riders so it wasn't terribly expensive.
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Old 06-20-19, 09:07 AM
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Yeah, @clasher, you mentioned the Manitoulin 1000 last year, and it looks great. I'd rather be doing that, than the LOL again! But that much driving, before and after a ride, intimidates me.
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Old 06-20-19, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Yeah, @clasher, you mentioned the Manitoulin 1000 last year, and it looks great. I'd rather be doing that, than the LOL again! But that much driving, before and after a ride, intimidates me.
After I finished the granite anvil in 2017 I couldn't even handle driving an hour back home so I got a hotel room... even the 5 block drive to the hotel was questionable, looking back. If the train from NYC to Toronto worked for you I'd pick you up, you could ride with me to the start... I'm only 45 minutes away from the Aldershot station. That train is super-slow though, I took it years ago and it was probably around 13 hours!
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Old 06-20-19, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by clasher View Post
After I finished the granite anvil in 2017 I couldn't even handle driving an hour back home so I got a hotel room... even the 5 block drive to the hotel was questionable, looking back. If the train from NYC to Toronto worked for you I'd pick you up, you could ride with me to the start... I'm only 45 minutes away from the Aldershot station. That train is super-slow though, I took it years ago and it was probably around 13 hours!
Thanks very much for that kind offer!

I must do some more research into public transportation! I suspect getting to Toronto would be a very long bus ride. I can't imagine I'd mind sitting on a bus for 12 hours after three days on the bike, but before the ride I'd hate it.

This probably won't be happening this year... too complicated.
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Old 06-20-19, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Thanks very much for that kind offer!

I must do some more research into public transportation! I suspect getting to Toronto would be a very long bus ride. I can't imagine I'd mind sitting on a bus for 12 hours after three days on the bike, but before the ride I'd hate it.

This probably won't be happening this year... too complicated.
I know I couldn't hack that long on the bus, I did 8 hour trips up to northern Ontario before I had a car and it was brutal. Maybe next time we run the Manitoulin, or even think about doing the Granite Anvil in 2021 when it's on again, we had a few riders from the PA randonneurs do it; I remember their jerseys.
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Old 06-20-19, 05:49 PM
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Wow. What a great report. Thanks for taking the time to write it up and post the pictures. Well done!
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Old 06-24-19, 08:17 PM
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Now I want to go ride in Canada. The Manitoulin 1000 looks really nice, too bad it's so close to when I'm leaving for PBP
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Old 06-25-19, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Now I want to go ride in Canada. The Manitoulin 1000 looks really nice, too bad it's so close to when I'm leaving for PBP
If nothing else, plan for the Granite Anvil in 2021! Ottawa has a lot of scenic rides but I've really enjoyed riding all over Ontario, there's a wide range of terrain that our club rides through, both flat and hilly parts of the province. We also do devil weeks every year and they move around the province every year so they and they are a good deal.
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