Rain is forecast for the afternoon so, following a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee I hoped on the bike and headed east to do the Canal Lake Loop, 40 km over a few rough roads with scenic views of the lake. There is also a short but steep 1/2 km climb to test my legs.
Again, I bundled up. Arm and leg warmers. Booties. Wool socks. And, and long sleeves. I have not worn this gear since the early spring and am fortunate I brought it along. It’s a reminder to always pack it just incase the weather changes.
I did repeat climbs up the short hill. It is steep enough to get me into my lowest gear. I averaged 12-14 kph during the climb and 45 kph on the descent back to the bottom. A short climb for me in Vancouver is a km so this seemed short and much less an effort.
On the way back I noticed the wind came up. A westerly. I was heading due west back to the cottage. 20 km into a headwind. At times, a very strong, hurting wind. At times, I could not maintain the 12-14 kph pace I did up the repeat climbs. Getting home was much more of an effort that the repeat climbs.
I thought cycling in these parts would be easy compared to my familiar routes in Vancouver. There are no hills really. The terrain is mostly flat with some rolling sections. But wide open in lake country where there always seems to be a wind, particularly at this time of year. Instead of having easy rides, I am working harder than I often do in Vancouver. I didn’t expect this. It is ironic but, at the same time, good for my legs and heart. I feel as if I am climbing long hills most days.
I have gotten very comfortable on the drops. This bike is a not setup as aggressively as the Garneau but, with the saddle set 4” above the bars, I get into a reasonably aerodynamic position. When I am on the drops, I immediately feel a difference. There is less resistance, my speed increases 2-3 kph and my pedalling stroke becomes more efficient, more circular.
Flat terrain is not as it seems. Add a little wind and you have challenging rides. Rides that feel like very long climbs.