Two Ports Out of Three Ain’t Bad

wheel-yellowThis weekend was the Three Ports Tour. 

And actually you had a choice. One port for 60 km, two ports for 100 km, or three ports for 160 km. We (that’s Kim, Susan, David, and me) opted for the middle path.

I’m glad we did.

On the upside: great company, gorgeous scenery, swooping hills and valleys, funky beach front/port towns, Mennonite farmers with horses and buggies, and all for a good cause (the Forest City Velodrome and a local high school’s environmental leadership program).

On the downside: HILLS, heat, humidity, calf cramps (I’ve never ever had muscle cramps while cycling, ouch!) and a wasp sting while coming down one of those swooping hills mentioned above. Also, my bike is making a weird clicking sound. I know that’s the sort of thing bike mechanics just love to hear. I’ll be taking mine in later today.

Questions, dear readers: Anyone out there get calf cramps while riding? What do you do to prevent them? What do you do when they appear?

Also, what’s your favourite distance? I like 100 km because I can have a normal day after. Ride 100 km in the morning, done and dusted, and get on with the weekend. 160 km requires serious refueling and serious naps. Next thing I know it’s night and my Saturday is shot. How about you?

Post 1

Port 1

post2

Lunch at Port 2

Kim chimes in 

 

I decided to join the 3PT with moments to spare (literally: I signed up minutes before online registration closed); I was dithering because I’m preparing for a 180km challenge ride in three weeks’ time and I need to be doing some big distances at a strong pace. Technically, then, I should have done the full 160km all three ports), but in the end I decided to prioritise riding with friends, and for fun. I realised I’ve not done that enough lately: I’m so focused on speed and distance these days that I exhaust myself too much. The 3PT offered instead a chance to ride for pleasure, and to see two lovely lake communities I’ve never visited before.


We maintained what was for me a very comfortable pace, so I found myself looking around a lot. Sea views! (OK: inland sea. You know what I mean! Lake Erie is damn big.) Adorable port towns! Lush river valleys! I counted rogue corn stalks. (Rogue corn! I found this hilarious.) We met locals from the farm communities we passed: kids cheering us on, parents encouraging them, friendly Mennonites in horse-drawn buggies. (One dude and his horses were cutting the grass!)

 

When I got home and checked Strava I saw that several club friends had done the long tour together and posted some great times; I felt mild regret I’d not been with them to bag a QOM or two. (Yes, group cycling breeds competitiveness and vanity. Guilty.) But had I ridden with them we would have been moving too quickly, and working a bit too hard, for me to enjoy the scenic parts that ended up giving me such joy. Not to say I don’t love riding with my team and going nice and fast, but riding at a more comfortable pace with Sam and David and Susan let me remember what cycling is ultimately about: going out into the countryside with friends and soaking it all in.

 

 


About Sam B

Philosopher, feminist, parent, and cyclist!

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