Monday, May 9, 2016

Last Ride

It's the third time I have said it: this time, I mean it.

That's the second time that I've said I mean it.

Last year, I completed the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour for the first time. Granted that last year, I didn't attempt the ride all the way from Algonquin College, in Ottawa, to Queen's University, in Kingston, and back. Instead, I started in Perth and cycled only 100 kilometres, to Kingston, and back, which cut about 150 kms from the classic route.

I had signed up  for the full route, and trained hard. I might have even completed that route, except that a few days before the ride, I fell off my bike and fractured my wrist. My right wrist, which is more important than the left: with it, I control more gears and I use to apply the rear brakes. When I fractured my wrist, my doctor told me that I shouldn't ride at all. The vibration over that many kilometres would be hard on the wrist, would cause me a lot of pain.

He was right on that count: I felt every bump and winced over every kilometre, especially over the 3-km stretch of gravel road, where construction was underway.

My doctor was also concerned that if I were to fall again, I would most likely break the wrist.

I decided that even though I had signed up for the Classic route, I would ride the Century route (DW has always signed up for this route), starting in Perth. I bound the wrist and wore a wrist guard that my wife uses when she uses her inline skates. It was hot, uncomfortable, and did nothing to absorb the bumps on the roads. But I finished the ride, and was happy.

As soon as we returned to Perth, I told my wife that I was done with the RLCT. I had completed it, finally. I could strike it from my To Do list.

And this spring, in the week that the 2016 registration opened, we signed up again. This time, I signed up for the Century route. I knew I could finish it. I've proved that I can ride 100K with little difficulty, and then get on my bike the next day and do it all over again.

When I failed to do the return journey from Kingston to Ottawa in my first year, I said I wouldn't do it again.

I registered again.

When I rode from Ottawa to Kingston in the second year but developed a bad knot in a calf and had to stop on the return ride, outside of Westport, I swore that this was my last RLCT.

I registered again.

Last year, I rode the shortened route, with a fractured wrist, and declared, as we pulled into Perth, that it was my last long tour. And this time, I meant it.

I registered again.

Now, with less than five weeks until the next RLCT, I'm saying it in advance: this is my last one.

I mean it.

Care to wager?

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