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Mist & Mud, Rain & Dust in Belfountain

November 9, 2011

Today’s Ride: 52km—Terra Cotta, Cheltenham, Inglewood, The Grange, Belfountain, Forks of the Credit

Weather: Fog, mild, rain

Terrific ride today. I drove out to Terra Cotta to ride out towards the Credit River and the hills in that region. Whereas rides from home involve a big climb early, it’s frequently the lone big climb of the ride. Around Belfountain, the hills are all over the place. Different kind of riding and an absolute blast. Starting a ride in the car was a bit weird—all that time that could have been spent on the bike—but new roads are new roads.

The problem with new roads, though, is that you don’t really know what you have coming. On the other side of Inglewood, I discovered that my path to the Forks of the Credit Rd. was along what looked like a very soft dirt road. So I turned left onto The Grange Road, which led to one of the bigger climbs I’ve seen this year. And, as it turned out, also on a dirt road. Or mud road, after the light rain over the past few days. Hard going. I couldn’t leave the saddle without the rear wheel spinning out and losing traction. Mud spitting all over the bike and my legs. Definitely a ride to be savored. Climbing out of the mist, mud spattered, breathing heavily, riding slowly. Magic!

I turned back onto Mississauga Rd. and headed down into Belfountain. Wet roads cleaned the bike some and I had to work out how to get back onto my planned route (I had effectively just cut out the scenic Forks of the Credit Rd.). As it turned out, I stuck to my original plan and turned uphill past the Caldeon Ski Club before diving down the other side. Into dust. Puzzling. Very dry roads and a few big trucks blowing dry muck into eyes and mouth. Into the wind. Hammering.

I circled around and came back through Belfountain and then rode three or four kilometers along the Forks of the Credit Rd. It runs alongside the river and is one of the smoothest and prettiest roads I’ve seen (I regret having forgotten my camera). I’ll definitely need to head back this way and explore further. I turned around and headed back on-course, coming back up what seemed like a difficult climb with switchbacks on the way down, but turned out to be not that bad in practice. In the rain. And then more dirt roads. Over the year, I’ve become a lot more confident on rougher surfaces—to the point I haven’t really noticed difficult paved sections as much. Dirt is more obvious, but I found a pretty smooth line and admired extra mud tacking onto the bike frame (which needed considerable attention when I got home).

And back. Then driving home. 5000km complete, and I’m sorry I set a milestone like that; it made this ride an important  one—it was a terrific ride—but it meant that I stalled on getting to 5000km, when I could have put a lot more distance in the past week or two. Not that I intend to stop riding before the snow comes, but I also feel as though the pace can ease up a bit. Which it won’t. Must keep riding.

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