My ride is over, but the memories will last forever.

A life long dream fulfilled ... a great cause ... new friends ... amazing support

Thanks to everyone who helped make a difference!

I have maxed out the picture space on this blog. To see my postings for Day 42 (August 1st) onward click the link below:

GOTO Mark's Trek - NEW Daily BLOG (August 1st Onward)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 41 -- July 31st -- London, Ontario to Brantford, Ontario

Miles Ridden: 68.9
Avg Speed: 16.5
Avg Heart Rate: 113 bpm
Climbing: 1,214 ft
Calories Burned: 1,437 (so says my Garmin ... it's higher!)

Shorter and easier day ... flat tobacco farms ... dogs ... a mule ... a fall (not me!) ... Canadian flags and friends

Today' route and map --

A short day and the likelihood of a room delay in Brantford pushed back load until 8:30.  I slept in until 7:15 and had my first breakfast without my cycling clothes on.  It was a little chili and pretty overcast as we headed out.  Several riders picked up Canada jerseys and displayed them for today's ride.  Toronto Mark and Joe were among those donning jerseys.  Joe went on a hunt for Canadian flags during the ride, and was not disappointed, particularly in the town of Otterville.

8:30 Load ... I am In The Middle

Team Canada
The Geldings plus Alex started out together and rode quiet country roads past more farms and small towns.  Jeff and Alex dropped back to ride with Gary and Margot, and we pushed on.  Our pace was good, but not blistering ... just the way I like it.  The weather stayed cool and somewhat dreary, but was almost ideal for cycling.  Our only SAG was in a nice town park in Springford.  Toronto Mark's wife Susan and hist aunt and uncle were at the SAG with more treats.  There was also left overs from Jeff's mom's awesome treats from yesterday.  Mark's dog Millie was also there.  After the SAG we went through Otterville.  They had lots of Canadian pride and displayed lots of Canadian flags.  There was also a neat old flour and grist mill that dated from 1845. The mill was at one time the oldest continuously operated grist mill in Canada, but was finally closed down as an operating mill in 1981. A small dam and waterfall were also in town.

Joe and Mark ... Long Flat Roads

Joe Finds Lots Of Canadian Flags

Otterville Mill ... Circa 1845

Another Angle of the Mill

Small Falls in Otterville
Mike Munk stopped us to provide a heads up on some "aggressive dogs".  They proved to me pretty tame (or just tuckered out).  A little further up the road, we did get chased by a couple fast dogs.  I quickly pulled along side them ready to squirt my water bottle, but I was able to pedal just fast enough to avoid any issues.  We passed lots of tobacco and ginseng farms.  Like the US, some farmers are subsidized to not grow too much tobacco,  Several have moved onto to ginseng as their primary crop.  They grow it under the shade.  The next small town was Mt. Pleasant.  It was home to an interesting cemetery and neat windmill restaurant.

Dave Riding Past Fields of Tobacco

Ginseng Grows Under The Shade

These Were Not The Dogs That Chased Us

Geldings Spread Out ... Nice Shot Of Me In The Back

Now I Am In The Front

Joe Dropping Back After Drafting A Truck That Pulled Out Abruptly In Front Of Us

Not Sure Why I Took This ... Struck Me

Several Folks Stopped Here For Lunch
We made our way to Brantford.  As we exited off a busy road near town and over a bridge, there was some wet wheat or oats on the side of the road.  Joe and I were a little ahead and pointed it out, but Dave went into and and starting slipping.  He tried to keep himself upright, but with the bridge and no traction, he went down.  A little road rash and some smelly debris on his bike (and him) was the result.  Joe and I looped back around the exit ramp to rejoin Dave and Mark and headed into town.  The downtown area is in a major state of transition and rehabilitation.  They were literally tearing down the buildings on one entire street.  Brantford's big claim to fame is that it is the birthplace of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, although I could not find the Gretzky Sports Center (so the infamous sculpture of him from Edmonton will have to do for the blog).

Wayne Gretzky ... The Highlight of Brantford (and the sculpture is in Edmonton)
A few miles later we were at the hotel.  Dave was able to get his luggage from Barb and cleaned up his cuts.  I cleaned his bike ... we had quite the pile of oats in our room.  I was interviewed by the local Ontario newspaper (Brant News) today. I will post the story as soon as it is available (it will be on grabbed lunch at subway, a little R&R, and cleaned our bikes and chains before dinner.  The meal was a buffet, but pretty good at a another hotel restaurant.  Wish I had my camera, as there was a wedding going on.  The ABB riders clinked our glasses and got the bride and groom to kiss ... awe.  I searched for a local postcard, but came up empty.  I bought a note card just in case I can't find another Canada or Ontario one when we hit Niagara Falls tomorrow.

Another 70+ miles tomorrow to the Falls.  We are staying on the American side, but I expect to revisit the Canadian side during the evening and on our last rest day (Monday). Back to the states after that and our last leg into New England.

Good night moon ... good night Canada (and our Canadian friends) ... good night Brant News ... good night Wayne Gretzky ... good night girls (drive safe tomorrow) ... good night Mike (swing by the house and pick up your jury duty info) ... good night Dad (talk with you when I get back to the states)