charity · cycling · fitness

It’s three weeks until departure day. Yikes!!!

I promise I’ll write about something else when the bike rally is over. I will. I really will. But for right now it’s on my mind a lot.

I haven’t done it since becoming dean and it’s very clear to me now why. It’s a HUGE commitment. Yes, the ride. Yes, the fundraising. But more than anything, the training.

This weekend is the deadline to ride two long days back to back. And friends, depending on just how you read those training rules, I think we met it.


On Saturday we set out with our friend and sometime blogger Kim Solga and her friend Natalie, who is back on the bike after a few years off, and is training for a 100 km ride.

After teaching Natalie to clip and unclip and shift on the bike she was borrowing–please note Sarah is an excellent teacher and Natalie is a quick learner–we set off on our ride to Campbellville and then Carlisle and then back to Guelph.

I loved the route and I really enjoyed the company but It was hot, stinking hot and I might have learned a lesson about electrolytes, cramping, and barfing.

Total distance: 85.5 km

Stopping at the Flying Monkey bike and coffee shop


Day two of our big bike rides was the Tour de Norfolk–a community sponsored ride through beautiful countryside–very flat and shady–and for the last two years it’s been cancelled due to covid. I wasn’t sure I’d make it given how awful I felt after Saturday’s ride but I seemed fine in the morning and so off we drove to the start, giving ourselves permission to bail if 10 km in it I started to feel rotten.

Driving to Delhi we were listening to CBC and there was a discussion of avoiding the ill effects of very hot weather. One of the first pieces of advice for days like today, avoid strenuous exercise. Yeah, no.

About 10 km in we didn’t decide to quit but we did decide to scale back and opt for the 75 km instead of the 100 km. A wise choice I think given the temperatures,

Tour de Norfolk

We made it. But for now Strava thinks I need to take a break. I’m declaring Monday a rest day. It won’t be a complete rest day. I’ll bike to work and to knee physio but no big distances Monday after the big weekend of riding.

Well above weekly range, says Strava. Be cautious of over training and give yourself ample recovery time.

So we’ve been doing big rides in preparation for the rally. We did a 97 km training ride. I rode 80 km on gravel with a group of Guelph cyclists but I am still fretting a bit about the rally and its demands. Why am I worried? Why I am anxious about being behind with training (and fundraising)? A few years ago I wrote about doing the bike rally without sufficient training and there I said, I guess this is a thing my body can do. But now I am no longer so sure.

Part of it’s aging, part of it’s my unreliable knees, and I’m sure part of it is pandemic anxiety. I wasn’t even sure the rally was going to happen. It hasn’t for the last two years–the usual 6 day version anyway. I really appreciated reading fellow rally participant Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s blog post about uncertainty. It’s hard to do all the work when you’re not sure a thing is going to happen.

She writes, “As I packed, I thought about the Bike Rally. The first year of the pandemic the whole rally was virtual but we had a little family socially distanced really anxious rally, then last year I thought there would be a rally and there was the abbreviated little version instead, and this year – well this year there’s a full rally. Six days of cycling- more than 600km (about 375miles, for my American friends) from Toronto to Montreal in support of PWA (People with Aids Foundation) and two other ASOs. (An ASO is an Aids Service Organization) and I am signed up and so are Cam and Ken and Pato and together we’re this year’s Team Knit. By now we should be doing a lot of two things. Riding, and fundraising.

I’ve neglected both. I’ve been riding my bike a few times each week – between 40 and 60 kilometres each time, but truthfully there’s been more 40s than 60s and I really, really should be heading out to the formal organized rides – but they are hard to get to without the subway and I’ve been trying not to get Covid so I can do this retreat and not give it to Meg and <insert excuse here>. I finally got out for an official training ride the other day and to be completely honest I rode the whole 80km and then cried the last five home because I had my arse so completely handed to me. Even if the Rally is a “maybe” somewhere in my mind it needs to become a “definitely” in terms of training or things are going to be seriously, desperately ugly out there, but at least if I screw up training that only hurts me – the fundraising needs to be where this team gets it together, and soon.

Usually by now Team knit has things well underway, with every member headed for meeting their goals and we’re nowhere near that now and it’s because all of us are a little leery, holding back a little bit, trying to get our heads back in the game, and that’s a jerk move because here we all moving slowly towards getting our scenes together while time is short and the need is great.”

Please help us with fundraising. We’ve all got three weeks to go. It’s a great cause. Click here and help out, small amounts make a difference. Thanks blog friends!

One thought on “It’s three weeks until departure day. Yikes!!!

  1. Man oh man– riding in such hot temps is brutal! Congrats on doing both of them. You have a ton of miles/km in the tank, and experience of riding through good and bad, as it were, to draw on when you do the bike rally. I will be cheering all of you on as you make your way to Montreal. We all will.

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