I am en route to the family cottage in rural Ontario for a month with my bike in tow. I will be alone most of the time completing a few chores, bass fishing, reading and cycling.
The cottage is on the Trent-Severn system, a recreational waterway that joins Lake Ontario (at Trenton) on the east to Georgian Bay on the west. The system traverses cottage country; numerous lakes of all sizes are joined by rivers and canals. The cottage is located on the Talbot River between Canal Lake on the east and Lake Simcoe on the west near Bolsover, a small village with a corner store, a one-room school house (that is now a community centre), a small Presbyterian church with an historic graveyard, a 9-hole golf course and, about 50 full-time residents.
This is farm country. Cottages line the waterfronts but the rest of the surrounding area is farmed. Cattle. Horses. And, corn. Lots of corn. This time of year there will be an abundance of fresh vegetables in the local markets to feast on.
This is also cycling country. There are miles upon miles of quiet, rolling, paved rural roads servicing the area. This is where I took up road cycling 40 years ago. It is hard to believe it has been that long. And, I am returning this time with the bike I started with, a handmade, steel frame touring bike made by Roberts Cycles of England. Those of you that follow this blog know that I rebuilt this bike last winter and equipped it with a Shimano Ultegra Group and wheel set. It rides better than it ever has and, is ideally suited for long rides in the area.
I think of this trip as a training camp, an opportunity to cycle more than usual, lose a few pounds and work on technique and speed. I plan to ride most days. There are several 40-50 km loops that I enjoy just out the back door and, several longer 100 km loops as well. There is no need to travel for a ride. I have been averaging 1,000 km on the bike these past several months. This month I plan to exceed that.
The cycling will be different. A lot less climbing than on the west coast. The roads will be relatively flat. The biggest problem will be the wind. There is little shelter from it and it can be relentless for long periods of time. I plan to train in the mornings before the wind gets up. My usual routine is to rise early, have a coffee, cereal and fruit and then head out on the bike for several hours. There is no TV or internet at the cottage so, when I am alone, I usually nestle down early with a good book and rise with the sun (and birds) – a recipe for extra rest and, spirited rides.
This trip is also a technology adventure. I am a recent Apple convert equipped with an iPhone and a MacBook Pro. This is the first time I have travelled with either of them. I hope to do a little work while at the cottage, test what working remotely is really like. I do not have internet service at the cottage so I am planning to use the tethering feature supported by my cell phone provider that supports internet access via the data plan on my phone. It works at the house but I have no idea what the speed will be like in rural Ontario. If it is fast enough, it will save trips to the wifi equipped cafes in the area (of which there are very few).
So this is a training holiday. I am training for a 200 km ride when I return so need to put some extra mileage on. And, I am also a remote worker in training. Much of the work I do is online and, although I have frequently worked from home, I have not tried working from remote locations. If this works out, I can see delaying full-time retirement, spending extended periods of time at the cottage during the warmer months and, travelling some as well. If I can stay connected, I can work.