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LOL - the Lap of the Lake (Lake Ontario)

Old 07-16-19, 06:43 PM
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Okay, so I did LOL again as planned. Another rider offered me a ride, which was just what I wanted. Alas it turned out I had to go to Ithaca for work anyway, so I rented a beast of a car (Ford flex) and drove myself.

One of my randonneuring friends, De'Anna, was also doing LOL this year and it was my plan to stick to her if I could. We rode much of BRB together last year and I enjoyed that.

Like last year we started at 7:30 PM. There were thunderstorms in the area, and they missed us, but we had a lot of wet roads and high humidity. One rider crashed on the slick asphalt and injured his shoulder, but kept riding. The temperature dropped with darkness but the humidity did not. There was a sudden squall, huge raindrops looked like jewels falling through our headlight beams. It felt really good, cooled me off finally, but washed a lot of sweat into my eyes. The rain didn't last long.

Approaching the first controle at the 100 km point I got a rear flat. I stopped and pumped twice to get to the controle just behind a group of maybe a half dozen riders,a replaced my tube while everyone else got refreshments. I found a tiny bit of wire the tire tread, got my card signed, and was ready to go. But I had somehow run out of energy. I need to eat but didn't want to eat. Eating didn't feel good. De'Anna disappeared over a hill while I sat and spun, taking tiny bites of my sandwich and washing them down with water. Riders passed me one after another. I rode by myself after that, all the while trying to force a little food down with a lot of water. It gradually turned into a nice night. I saw a fox run across the road. .

Brian, driving the sag and support car, came up behind and asked if I needed anything. I took a couple bananas.

Crossing a little estuary I looked back and saw the moon just about to set over the lake. That was at 2 AM. Another fox ran across the road, and something else I barely saw, maybe a porcupine.

At about mile 105 I found Brian parked on a dark road with Tom, another rider, having a snack. By now I felt better. I drank a soda and ate something. After that I rode with Tom for a couple hours.

My derailleur started misbehaving so I stopped. Tom provided light but I couldn't see anything wrong. Something was really wrong, but I couldn't see it. Moving the pulley cage I got a sharp jolt of pain and realized I'd been stabbed by a bit of wire. Turned out a long piece of thin wire was twisted all through the jockey wheel! Getting it out was not easy. We rode on, meeting Brian again at Cape Vincent a little after dawn, along with more riders: Scott, Nick and Robert. I rode with them to the next town. Brian indicated the leaders were Kevin and De'Anna, about an hour ahead of us.

I was now feeling much better, but still couldn't enjoy eating. I elected to keep riding, nibbling on sandwiches and bananas. Just as I was about to cross the border, Tom caught me again.

Last year the narrow bridges frustrated me, so this year I was prepared. I had a long strap that I attached to the handlebar so I could walk behind my bike and steer from there. This got me over the two bridges pretty quickly. Tom was not so fast, but rather than wait I kept riding at an easy pace, eating as fast as I could (very slowly).

After Tom caught up we picked up the pace but now there was a nasty headwind that just got nastier.

To be continued!
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Old 07-17-19, 03:02 PM
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The funny thing about that headwind, though, was that it felt good. On nice roads, and there were a lot of nice roads, the wind kept me cool, though it was hard work, and slowed me down.

Around 6 PM Tom stopped for a rest and I kept going. At 7:30, 24 hours into the ride, I had gone 273 miles. After that a beautiful sunset, and I reached my motel --same one as last year-- a little after ten. I was beat, really hurting all over, nowhere in particular.

I found De'Anna there. She'd been there two hours already. Her plan was to roll out at 2 AM and though I liked that idea I needed more rest than that. I got her a cup of McDonald's coffee for the morning and wished her well. In the meantime Tom arrived and we agreed to start out at 4:00. I eventually set my alarm for 3:30 and crashed.

But when I got up in the morning De'Anna was still there. She'd overslept. The three of us headed out together. I now felt much better. When daylight came we amused ourselves identifying as many wildflowers as we knew. The wildflowers were pretty great. A lot of a bright yellow vetch (birdsfoot?), buttercups, and something similar to a dandilion. A lot of white flowers I couldn't identify as well as morning glory, clover, thistles. At least two kinds of cattails, and several blue or purple things. Lilies, which I thought we tiger lilies but Tom corrected me, these were day lilies.

No longer riding by myself, the ride went by faster and I have less to say about it. Tom disappeared at some point. We missed a huge thunderstorm that we saw in the distance, first to the north, then east. We were in a controle when it finally hit.

On the last leg of the ride, along the shore of the lake, I was thinking about dinner and hoping we could get Brian to get it for us, but it became evident that he had other priorities. We were at the head of a very widely spaced cohort. He had already dropped our drop bags at Niagara Falls, was now trying to find all the riders behind and her then their drop bags as necessary. Busy guy.

Approaching the Niagara River I felt a twinge in my leg muscles now and then suggesting I was about to suffer an onset of cramps. I don't have much experience with leg cramps, so I kept saying to myself "but what do I know" but even so, I became very cautious about forcing anything. Rooting around in my handlebar bag I found a little can of V8 juice, which I drank immediately (rather pleased that I could open it and drain it with one hand). Whether this helped, or not, I cannot say. But the cramps never came.

We got to our motel at 11:30 and got a Papa John's Pizza delivered. It was delicious. Yes, after 200 miles on the bike, Papa John's turns out to be excellent pizza.

Day three, there was nothing to see of the Falls, dark and quiet... we crossed the border and i found a coffee and donuts place in Niagara Falls NY where we went for breakfast, but the coffee was terrible. We pushed on. We found Tom at the first town; he was ahead of us now. We'd catch him when he stopped, but then he'd start again. And then Scott, too; we saw him at the penultimate controle. He left before we, but fueled by coffee ice cream I thought we should catch him. I told De'Anna she should be first finisher, all we had to do was catch Scott. He was hurting, Tom said. We'll catch him. We had a good tailwind, but so did he. We went as fast as we could, and it felt great.

We did not catch Scott. He was there at the finish, still hurting, but ahead of us.

I did not beat my last year's time, and that was fine. It was a great ride. I'm glad I did it again. As for a third time, well, I don't have to think about that for a while.

I have some photos that I will edit into this next week.

Last edited by rhm; 07-18-19 at 08:13 AM.
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Old 07-25-19, 08:46 AM
  #28  
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News flash!

Pete is considering running a 1200 km version of LOL next year.

Anyone who's interested should contact him. The more interest people show, the greater the likelihood that it actually happens. Pete writes:
"The route would be mostly the same as the 1,000k, with the first border crossing moved about 40 miles up the St Lawrence river, to a much more pleasant bridge in Ogdensburg, and a wider swing around Toronto to create the extra 200k."
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Old 07-26-19, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
News flash!

Pete is considering running a 1200 km version of LOL next year.

Anyone who's interested should contact him. The more interest people show, the greater the likelihood that it actually happens. Pete writes:
"The route would be mostly the same as the 1,000k, with the first border crossing moved about 40 miles up the St Lawrence river, to a much more pleasant bridge in Ogdensburg, and a wider swing around Toronto to create the extra 200k."
Ooh. I remember him talking about not feeling up to doing that last year, but I'm glad to see he's considering it now. That sounds like it could be a lot of fun.

Nicely done on finishing it again.
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Old 07-26-19, 08:05 AM
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A 1200 sounds a lot more interesting than the 1000k. I can ride in bad traffic in any number of places. Near my house on Friday afternoon, for example.
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Old 08-26-19, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
A 1200 sounds a lot more interesting than the 1000k. I can ride in bad traffic in any number of places. Near my house on Friday afternoon, for example.
I don't believe any traffic can be as bad as what is found going out of Toronto on a Friday afternoon. I'm still in disbelief that myself and my wife were not killed in 2014. A man in a car yelled to us "Idiots" as we clogged the roadway. Usually I would have yelled something back but could not. He was making a good point. We shortly there after discovered a bike path on the side of the road.
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Old 08-26-19, 08:04 PM
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Pete joined us at the Ontario rando supper and I forgot to ask him about these plans! I know most of our routes start at the edges of Toronto and go away from it on account of the traffic. I know I'd use the extra 200km to head up to Newmarket and try to completely avoid the greater Toronto area. I'm also pretty sure bikes can't cross in Ogdensburg, at least I don't remember seeing sidewalks when I drove across that bridge last year.
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Old 08-27-19, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by clasher View Post
Pete joined us at the Ontario rando supper and I forgot to ask him about these plans! I know most of our routes start at the edges of Toronto and go away from it on account of the traffic. I know I'd use the extra 200km to head up to Newmarket and try to completely avoid the greater Toronto area. I'm also pretty sure bikes can't cross in Ogdensburg, at least I don't remember seeing sidewalks when I drove across that bridge last year.
That's too bad, an opportunity missed! But as I understand it, the 1200k version of LOL, with a limited field, has been approved for 2020. I don't suppose Pete will be working on the details just yet, but I'm planning to pester him about it now and then just so he knows there's interest.
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Old 08-27-19, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
That's too bad, an opportunity missed! But as I understand it, the 1200k version of LOL, with a limited field, has been approved for 2020. I don't suppose Pete will be working on the details just yet, but I'm planning to pester him about it now and then just so he knows there's interest.
He sent me a draft version, although it wasn’t quite 1200k so it’s clearly not the final one. It heads further east to a smaller border crossing and skips the bridge walks; I didn’t compare the Toronto parts. I am seriously considering it for next year—cross off two pieces of unfinished business at once: LOL and 1200k.

Edit: you already posted about the border crossing, oops. Guess I have no actual new information.
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Old 08-28-19, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by antimonysarah View Post
He sent me a draft version, although it wasn’t quite 1200k so it’s clearly not the final one. It heads further east to a smaller border crossing and skips the bridge walks; I didn’t compare the Toronto parts. I am seriously considering it for next year—cross off two pieces of unfinished business at once: LOL and 1200k.

Edit: you already posted about the border crossing, oops. Guess I have no actual new information.
Pete posts to our email list occasionally and will probably seek some feedback on the route in the future. I might have done this as a 1000K but with the Cascades due to run in 2020 and also the BC rocky mountain 1200, I don't think it'd be my year for a local 1200... the mountains are calling and all that jazz.
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