This weekend was the Three Ports Tour.
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?
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.