From London…

The ride out of London began with a rather painful crawl out of my tent. A little slip on the grass with my good hand and I jarred the bad shoulder before I had put the brace on the day… not all things go exactly according to plan. I had arranged to depart camp with Andrew Aukema of Chatham for the day and we set out together anticipating that we might latch on to another group at some point. It turned out that it was Nathan Beach and Hans Doef who we caught within an hour of camp. Andrew competed in Ironman Louisville last summer about this time and has really backed off training to recover for a few months and then just to take a break from competition. It’s obvious though that he’s got experience on the bike, he’s road smart just like George Vanderkurr and can climb rollers better than most others. While his muscles began to argue with him later in the day he’s tough as nails and when he suggested “hey guys I’m hurting” and we didn’t slow down for him he just bit the bullet and kept flying along. What a guy. Anyhow, we got along great and I’ll have to say our group of 4 was one of the best riding crews of the summer. Andrew was out of practise, Nathan was hurting from pushing really hard in the TT the day before and I was the cripple with a shoulder brace… and then Hans Doef, well he was just Hans Doef and fit right in.

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The story of the day for the ride though was people people people. I counted 22 groups of people alongside the road waving and clapping from their lawn chairs as we went by in addition to the 4 “official” stops along the way. Churches from Ingersol, Woodstock, Brantford, and Brantford #2 all had baked goods and coffee and snacks and watermelon and gatorade and water and loads of other food. I never packed a lunch but brought along some leftover granola bars in my bike bag and never ate a single one.

The arrival at Redeemer was great. More food. They also gave us towels to shower with from their gym, what a luxury after using a travel towel for 8 weeks! after cleaning off I called up my cousin Carolyn who drove me out to Brampton where we visited my Pake at Holland Homes and met my Aunt Linda from Toronto. We then stopped by the cemetary where my Grandma had been buried 3 weeks prior. Of course it wasn’t so easy to find the place exactly on the first try but I suppose that’s appropriate. Grandma wouldn’t have done it on the first try either. It was quite settling for me to stand there and turn around and survey the surroundings. I’ve got a good mental image of the spot which seems to bring a bit of peace. The three of us then drove back to Hamilton and saw Carolyn’s house and then went with Brad for Indian for dinner. My request was “Indian or Asian, we don’t get that at camp” and the choice was fantastic. I was the only non-veggie so chowed through the butter chicken alone but the rest was a few bites of one and a few bites of another from the vegetarian options, each of which was nicer than the chicken. Good thing I did them in that order.

For the night I did get another bed to sleep in as I stayed with my Grandmothers friends from Caledonia, Mike and Anne. We watched a bit of the news at 11 together to hear about the Olympics and just as I was getting up to go to bed there was a snippet saying “stay tuned for news about some cyclists riding through Hamilton” so of course we stayed tuned and it was a good thing. I was on the TV for about 1.5 seconds blasting past the camera with Hans Doef as we rode into Redeemer.

I did get a load of photos online from the velodrome and then a couple shots of the TT from Stephanie Webb’s camera. I also mooched a photo of my road-rash from Eritia’s blog which is also in the gallery.

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