C’est fini!

September 28—Ride 20: La Ville de Québec

Distance of final ride:             37.89 kms

Total to date:                         1061.1 kms (30.1 kms beyond the goal)

Average per ride:                   53.06 kms

Average Speed:                      18.3 kms/h

Destination Equivalent:         Oops! Overshot the Chateau Frontenac a bit…

Peloton:                                  Ken Edwards—old biking buddy from Elora

Route for entire journey:

Route Map for Ride 20:              Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail return

Weather:                               

Yesterday was crystal clear and sunny, with a brisk SW wind.

Observations:

It was a perfect way to end the odyssey and arrive virtually in Quebec City.

Ken and I met at the trailhead of the Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail, along the Grand River south of Cambridge. It is a beautiful, winding, sun-dappled trail that hugs the river on its way south, all the way to Port Maitland on Lake Erie.

Ken and his wife Susan are long-standing friends from our time in Elora. It was Ken that nurtured my interest in cycling, more than 30 years ago, on the backroads and trails around Wellington County. Very pretty country.

Ken and I have one of those friendships that slips comfortably into old conversations as if we’ve never been apart. The time went quickly, chatting the whole way.

We stopped briefly at 7.79 kilometres to take a selfie. That was he moment we virtually rode under the portico of the Chateau Frontenac. Very satisfying.

When I got home to Niagara, Terry-she and Kathy (and Terry-he with the camera) welcomed me with an actual Finish Line to mark the 20 days of riding. The crowd was modest, but the bubbly was perfect!

So, it’s over. 1,061 kms. $6,325 raised for palliative care. It feels good.

REMINDER: It’s just a few short weeks until I don my other red suit, once again raising support for NOTLCPCS and the great work it does. I suspect this year, like last, will be largely by Zoom, but I’m hoping I can sneak a few live visits into December’s schedule.

If you are having an in-person or virtual gathering and there are Santa-believers, young or old, in the crowd, I would be pleased to arrange a visit. You can reach me at: santaforpalliativecare@gmail.com.

Here’s a link to a brief video to remind you how the Santa-thing works: www.vimeo.com/488140798.

Thank you for all your support. And thanks for caring.

Santa for Palliative Care

For more information on NOTL Community Palliative Care Service, find: www.notlpc.com.

On the Healing Cycle: www.healingcycle.ca

On donating: https://my.crowdchange.ca/i0kprj.

I can see the Plains of Abraham…

September 25—A two ride day…

Distance of Ride One:             23.25 kms

Distance of Ride Two:            47.21 kms

Total of Day’s rides:               70.46 kms

Total to date:                         1023.21 kms

Average per ride:                   53.85 kms

Remaining Distance:              7.79 kms

Destination Equivalent:         West end of Quebec City, nearing Plains of Abraham

Route Maps:                           Ride One

                                                Ride Two

Weather:                               

The day dawned bright, sunny and windy—from the southwest. Perfect for Ride One. On the second ride, from the Welland Flatwater Course, I put up a sail! Felt great, until the downpour…

Observations:

The Pedal Pushers gang–this year we’ve raised almost $20,000 for local palliative care services

Ride One–The Pedal Pushers event was fun. A dozen or so dignitaries on the multi-bicycle and a few of us stragglers on bikes. Just a few kilometres, basically around the commons, with a final stop at Upper Canada Lodge, where the Ukesters entertained the residents and us with lots of toe-tapping songs.

Rob Jessup-Ramsey, a Healing Cycle rider and Foundation board member from Toronto, joined me after the group ride, on an extended cycling-saunter through the vineyards around town.

Even though they weren’t riding, Adrian Goldberg and Syme Jago are part of the Pedal Pushers effort. There sponsorship and their fan support at the Pedal Pushers ride event is appreciated by the entire team.

Ride Two—Isabel Chant (my great grand niece, daughter of Jennifer and Colin Chant) was rowing in her first regatta in Welland—the Five Bridges Head Race. It’s a grueling five kilometres with an equally grueling head wind, particularly in a double scull (two rowers, four oars). They looked like veterans out there. Way to go Izzy!

I can’t believe it! Isabel is taller than I am. And she is already, at 15, a much better rower than I ever was. Her former-rower-parents are tickled pink.
Isabel has a long tradition with Santa…

Anyway, that headwind proved to be my tailwind as I sailed home after the race.

As you can see, I’m almost there. Maybe I should have just kept going and finished the thing. But it was pouring. And somehow, I want to savour those last few kilometres. Tease them out, like the last few pages of a great book.

Thanks for caring.

Santa for Palliative Care

For more information on NOTL Community Palliative Care Service, find: www.notlpc.com.

On the Healing Cycle: www.healingcycle.ca

On donating: https://my.crowdchange.ca/i0kprj.

Blown away!

September 24—Ride 18

Distance:                                 43.8 kms

Total to date:                         952.75 kms

Average per ride:                   52.93 kms

Remaining Distance:              78.25 kms

Destination Equivalent:         Near Plessisville, PQ

Route Map:                           

Weather:                               

Monstrous headwinds on the west and south legs. Raced ahead of a massive dark system that ended up passing us by. Otherwise sunny.

Observations:

At times the relative headwind (wind speed +/- the bike speed) was over 70 km/h. That almost stopped me in my tracks. Of course, the other direction I thought I was God’s gift to cycling!

I had my first flat tire. Thankfully, I was almost home when I figured it out. My Sag Wagon was having lunch at Garrison House, so I limped slowly to Zoom Leisure Bikes for a repair. I long ago realized roadside tire repair was not one of my skills. The team at Zoom leapt into action, like an Indy 500 pit crew, and I was back on the road in no time. Great service.

One thing I’ve learned along the way—solo riding is a great way to solve life’s little challenges, plot future stories for The Lake Report and plan wonderfully long vacations in exotic places…

Just a couple more rides and I should be soaking in a hot tub at the Chateau Frontenac. I’ve even started dreaming in my Grade 13 French!

Thanks for caring.

Santa for Palliative Care

For more information on NOTL Community Palliative Care Service, find: www.notlpc.com.

On the Healing Cycle: www.healingcycle.ca

On donating: https://my.crowdchange.ca/i0kprj.

DON’T FORGET!: Tomorrow, local dignitaries, and Healing Cycle supporters will take a leisurely ride around town to highlight the wonderful work of our own Community Palliative Care Service. One gang will power a Pedal Pub cycle and the rest of us will follow behind on bikes. It’s certainly will be more symbolic than energetic—just six kilometers or so. Come out, make a small contribution, ride along, and help bring attention to the cause. Meet at Pedal Pub, on Mary Street at 8:30am tomorrow morning.

My first heavy rainfall…

September 22—Ride 17

Distance:                                 46.62 kms

Total to date:                         908.95 kms

Average per ride:                   53.47 kms

Destination Equivalent:         Sainte-Clotilde-de-Horton, PQ–just 100+kms to go!

Route Map:                           

Weather:                               

Rainy, cold and windy. Not much more to be said.

Observations:

I took September 21st off. I was just too pooped to pedal.

Turns out it was a smart idea. I felt good yesterday (Ride 17) even though I had to dodge some pretty ominous dark clouds—not very successfully. Shivery and chilled when I got home.

Santa on a sunnier day!

I did a lot of thinking about how and when this odyssey will end. I will likely finish before the end of the month, but how to celebrate?

On Saturday, our grand-niece (the Terrys’ granddaughter), Isobel Chant, will be rowing for the Hanlon Rowing Club at a regatta in Welland. We’ll watch the race and then I’ll ride home. It may be my last official ride.

I’m taking today (the 23rd) off again. Not because I need to, but because I enjoy golf with Cal’s Crew every Thursday. Wish me luck. I’ll be back on the bike tomorrow.

Thanks for caring.

Santa for Palliative Care

For more information on NOTL Community Palliative Care Service, find: www.notlpc.com.

On the Healing Cycle: www.healingcycle.ca

On donating: https://my.crowdchange.ca/i0kprj.

Important Notice: On Saturday, September 25, local dignitaries, and Healing Cycle supporters will take a leisurely ride around town to highlight the wonderful work of our own Community Palliative Care Service. One gang will power a Pedal Pub cycle and the rest of us will follow behind on bikes. It’s certainly will be more symbolic than energetic—just six kilometers or so. Come out, make a small contribution, ride along, and help bring attention to the cause. Meet at Pedal Pub, on Mary Street at 8:30am on the 25th.

Drafting Dave Antaya…

September 20—Ride 16

Distance:                                 40.88 kms

Total to date:                         862.33 kms

Average per ride:                   53.90 kms

Destination Equivalent:         Near Drummondville, PQ

Peloton:                                  Dave and Antaya

Dave Antaya and Santa taking a break (and a prayer) at the tiny roadside chapel on the Parkway.

Route Map:                            Ride 16

Weather:                               

It was actually a perfect day to ride, if we didn’t have the easterly wind in our faces for long stretches. Cool and mostly cloudy.

Observations:

It was great to have Dave with me today. We’ve ridden Healing Cycle rides together when they were a single-day event—lots of people riding various long distances. Doing it together was so much easier. Dave’s wife, Erna, is a long-standing palliative care volunteer in town. So, it felt like an old-home ride.

Dave is a senior retail consultant at Stratus Winery. There is little about wine that he can’t easily relate in both English and French. I think he would have been happier if we were actually going to Quebec City. We talked a lot about industry goings-on in the region.

As for the ride itself, I think my two long rides this weekend pooped me out. Dave is a strong rider anyway and he was kind enough slow down to my plodding pace. As I keep telling myself, I’m not trying to be God’s gift to cycling, only to accumulate kilometres—and dollars.

Speaking of dollars, another heartfelt thank you. We are now 20% above our original goal. It is a testament to how important palliative care services are becoming in our world–and your generosity.

Thanks for caring.

Santa for Palliative Care

For more information on NOTL Community Palliative Care Service, find: www.notlpc.com.

On the Healing Cycle: www.healingcycle.ca

On donating: https://my.crowdchange.ca/i0kprj.

Important Notice: On Saturday, September 25, local dignitaries, and Healing Cycle supporters will take a leisurely ride around town to highlight the wonderful work of our own Community Palliative Care Service. One gang will power a Pedal Pub cycle and the rest of us will follow behind on bikes. It’s certainly will be more symbolic than energetic—just six kilometers or so. Come out, make a small contribution, ride along, and help bring attention to the cause. Meet at Pedal Pub, on Mary Street at 8:30am on the 25th.

Two strong days–we’re closing in…

September 19—Days 14 and 15

Distance on Day 14:               44.1 kms

Distance on Day 15:               71.51 kms

Total to date:                         821.45 kms

Average per ride:                   54.76 kms

Destination Equivalent:         Granby, PQ

Tech Support for Day 15:       Ginny and Paul Green

Ginny and Paul–great supporters

Route Maps:                           Day 14

                                                Day 15

Weather:                               

On Saturday (Day 14), there was a funny NW wind; 20+ km/h; partly cloudy; a few rain drops.

Sunday (Day 15) was a bear, sunny but constant east wind directly in my face the entire ride.

Observations:

Saturday

Just a routine journeyman ride, between two very long days. Nothing spectacular.

Sunday

Once again, the Greens stepped up as the technical team, ensuring I got to Port Maitland on time and to the best spot to start the ride. Ginny was very thoughtful: “Are you sure you want to start here—it’s in the middle of nowhere.” And she made sure I had my mask in case I needed a Tim Horton’s break (actually it really was the middle of nowhere, there were no TH’s).

For the first time I started on gravel; not my favorite pastime. The first 30 kms followed an original Welland Canal feeder waterway, now stagnant and weed strewn. But the road was quiet, straight, and flat…

Also, for the first time, I experienced a brisk headwind, in my face for the entire 70+ kms. And I got lost on the trail through and around Welland. In fact, Google Maps took me on roads that didn’t exist!

It feels good that Quebec City gets closer every day. I’m now wandering through the Eastern Townships. Ginny asked me to remind everyone that the distances I am calculating are based on using as many bicycle trails as the system can find. The trip would be almost 100 kms shorter by car!

Thanks for caring.

Santa for Palliative Care

For more information on NOTL Community Palliative Care Service, find: www.notlpc.com.

On the Healing Cycle: www.healingcycle.ca

On donating: https://my.crowdchange.ca/i0kprj.

Important Notice: On Saturday, September 25, local dignitaries, and Healing Cycle supporters will take a leisurely ride around town to highlight the wonderful work of our own Community Palliative Care Service. One gang will power a Pedal Pub cycle and the rest of us will follow behind on bikes. It’s certainly will be more symbolic than energetic—just six kilometers or so. Come out, make a small contribution, ride along, and help bring attention to the cause. Meet at Pedal Pub, on Mary Street at 8:30am on the 25th.

I can almost see Montreal!

September 17—Day 13

Distance:                                 85.28 kms

Total to date:                         705.82 kms

Average per ride:                   54.29 kms

Destination Equivalent:         L’Ile Perrot, Perrot Island, PQ

Tech Support                         Terry-she Mactaggart (my sister).

Packed up and ready to drive to Port Colborne

Route Map:                           

Weather:                               

Variable wind, lighter than the last ride on this trail; partly cloudy.

Observations:

Terry was good enough to take me down to Port Colborne for my second visit to the Friendship and Niagara Parkway Trails. We talked about what else?–the election and the pandemic.

Got underway a little late, but in the end, it made no difference. I still made it home for a gin and tonic before dinner.

I found myself taking water/refreshment breaks more often, but that seemed to speed up my actual riding. Even stopped at Tim Horton’s, in Chippewa, for an Iced Capp!

Shorter day planned today. On Sunday, the Greens are dropping me off in Port Maitland. I’ll ride home along the old Feeder Canal (for the Welland Canal system). Good long ride but its flat. Pray for favourable winds.

Thanks for caring.

Santa for Palliative Care

For more information on NOTL Community Palliative Care Service, find: www.notlpc.com.

On the Healing Cycle: www.healingcycle.ca

On donating: https://my.crowdchange.ca/i0kprj.

Important Notice: On Saturday, September 25, local dignitaries, and Healing Cycle supporters will take a leisurely ride around town to highlight the wonderful work of our own Community Palliative Care Service. One gang will power a Pedal Pub cycle and the rest of us will follow behind on bikes. It’s certainly will be more symbolic than energetic—just six kilometers or so. Come out, make a small contribution, ride along, and help bring attention to the cause. Meet at Pedal Pub, on Mary Street at 8:30am on the 25th.

A day of good and bad…

September 15—Day 12

Distance:                                 48.59 kms

Total to date:                         620.54 kms

Average per ride:                   51.71 kms

Destination Equivalent:         Just east of Cornwall, ON. Less than a day’s ride to La Belle Province!

Peloton:                                  William Roberts, rector St. Mark’s, Port Hope and former rector of St. Mark’s, Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Santa and riding-mate, William Roberts

Route Maps:                           Messed up the computer again! Only captured the 41.64 kms from my riding-mate’s (William Roberts’) house in Virgil. 6.85 kms added to get to the total.

Weather:                               

Clear and very windy from the southwest; gusting to 50 km/h!

Observations:

This post might be a tad confusing. The ride details are from yesterday (the 14th). I’ve decided to take both today and tomorrow off the trek, returning to longer rides on the weekend.

Yesterday’s ride was both good and bad.

The good was having William along with me for an hour. He’s only in town early each week, returning to Port Hope each Wednesday, so it was great to find a day/time when we could ride together, even if only for an hour.

The bad was that I had my first fall. It certainly wasn’t catastrophic—I fell over when the front tire caught in a rut as I was starting out, after a brief water break. Only my pride and my composure were damaged. But it certainly didn’t help my already jaded feeling on the day. Kind of shaken up. For some reason, I just didn’t have the energy yesterday. So I slowed down and just made sure I finished.

At this point, I have logged the most distance of any of the Healing Cycle participants in the province. And the NOTL crew–Pedal Pushers–is once again leading the fundraising challenge. Sure feels good.

Don’t forget, I love having company, even for short distances. Just let me know if you can join me.

Thanks for caring.

Santa for Palliative Care

For more information on NOTL Community Palliative Care Service, find: www.notlpc.com.

On the Healing Cycle: www.healingcycle.ca

On donating: https://my.crowdchange.ca/i0kprj.

Important Notice: On Saturday, September 25, local dignitaries, and Healing Cycle supporters will take a leisurely ride around town to highlight the wonderful work of our own Community Palliative Care Service. One gang will power a Pedal Pub cycle and the rest of us will follow behind on bikes. It’s certainly will be more symbolic than energetic—just six kilometers or so. Come out, make a small contribution, ride along, and help bring attention to the cause. Meet at Pedal Pub, on Mary Street at 8:30am on the 25th.

I can almost see Quebec…

September 13—Days 10 & 11

Distance for both days:         87.15 kms

Total to date:                         571.95 kms

Average per ride:                   52.0 kms

Destination Equivalent:         Morrisburg, ON; within hailing distance of Cornwall.

Route Maps:                           Day 10

                                                DAY 11

Weather:                               

Wet weather Sunday. But very light winds from the North and West, today. Just enough to keep the bugs off. Mostly clear, but a little Nova Scotia Sunshine for a few minutes.

Observations:

It was an odd couple of days, after my long ride Saturday. I was tempted not to ride at all yesterday, but felt guilty. So after celebrating daughter Kate’s 45th birthday, at Revalee in Vineland, I went out on a short ride and got absolutely soaked! Complete downpour. But it didn’t last long. I was almost dry by the time I got home.

This morning, I was determined to keep my average ride over 50 kms a day—it’s now 52. For a weekend biker, I’m pleased that my body hasn’t bailed on me…yet.

I’m starting to get bored with my regular routes. So I’m planning a couple of rides in other parts of Southern Ontario. I’ll ride from Port Maitland to NOTL on the Welland Canals Trail, sometime this weekend. And on the Cambridge to Paris Trail early next week. I’d love to have company and/or suggestions about what would be a good ride.

Kathy and I are even considering driving to Quebec City so my final outing will actually take me to the Plains of Abraham.

Important Notice: On Saturday, September 25, local dignitaries, and Healing Cycle supporters will take a leisurely ride around town to highlight the wonderful work of our own Community Palliative Care Service. One gang will power a Pedal Pub cycle and the rest of us will follow behind. It’s certainly will be more symbolic than energetic—just six kilometers. Come out, make a small contribution, ride along and help bring attention to the cause. Meet at Pedal Pub on Mary Street at 9:00am.

For more information on NOTL Community Palliative Care Service, find: www.notlpc.com.

On the Healing Cycle: www.healingcycle.ca

On donating: https://my.crowdchange.ca/i0kprj.

Thanks for caring.

Santa for Palliative Care

Almost Halfway to Quebec City!

September 11—Day 9

Distance:                                 91.54 kms

Total to date:                         484.8 kms

Average per ride:                   53.86 kms

Destination Equivalent:         Rockport, ON; 20 kms east of Gananoque

Today’s Route:                           

Weather:                               

Winds gusting to 60 km/h from the SW. Ouch… But it was a wonderful day.

Observations:

One half of today’s Technical Team, Ginny Green. Guess who’s taking the picture?

In yesterday’s blog, I mentioned Port Colborne as a great start for today’s ride. Almost immediately, Ginny and Paul Green offered to drive me down to the start of the Friendship Trail in Port Colborne. Paul hales from Port Colborne and part of their Covid-inspired wandering has been returning to town, once in a while, for reminiscing and great perch.

So, bright and early this morning, my Technical Crew (Paul and Ginny) picked me up and we were off to Ontario’s South Coast. They were wonderful–becoming navigator, statistician, trainer, psychologist, photographer, and the sag wagon! About half-way along the route the Greens found me, having one of my nutrition breaks: “Santa! Santa! Are you OK?”

The ride was certainly the longest and the fastest I’ve completed in some years. The wind was certainly challenging on some parts of the route, but mostly it helped.

I think I’ll do that ride again before the end of the month. The old rails-for-trails route along Lake Erie is really very pretty and makes the Niagara Parkway look like the 401. See you tomorrow.

For more information on NOTLCPCS find: www.notlpc.com.

On the Healing Cycle: www.healingcycle.ca

On donating: https://my.crowdchange.ca/i0kprj.

Thanks for caring.

Santa for Palliative Care