I have put much thought into The Ride to Conquer Cancer next June and training routes. The RTCC route from Vancouver to Seattle is about 120km each way, which I’m estimating will take me about 6 hours. The last time I did a ride of this length was the Kettle Valley Railway in 2010 and 2009. I did minimal training for the KVR ride, and definitely felt pretty achy during and after. This time around, I plan to work on a slow build of distance rides. If I can set a long ride once a month, with shorter rides in between, I think I’ll be in better condition come June. I have 8 months to prepare, and have already done a couple 20km rides, so the next step will be a 30 – 40km route. I’m thinking of joining the celebration ride on October 26th as a way to get accustomed to riding along-side do many other cyclists. I then may need to take it indoors for winter, and step into some spinning classes if the roads get too slippery.
Although most of my training will take place at home, I’ve made a list of my favourite routes in five of the cities I’ve cycled in or around for inspiration. I am planning to revisit all but one of these cities before next June – so I am now making a pact with myself to make these routes a priority as a way to motivate myself as the big ride approaches.
1. McCulloch Road/Spears Road Route: Kelowna, BC
The fall is probably the best time to explore this route as you can see and smell the apples during harvesting season. Not to mention the colours of fall are beautiful in the valley at this time of year. This can be a long or medium ride depending on where you begin and end. For me I’ll start near downtown, make my way to K.L.O road for a nice long warm up on the flat valley bottom, then make the climb up to the top of McCulloch road, where I get a spectacular view of the Harvest Golf Course and the valley before making my descent.
2. Don Valley/ Lakeshore Route: Toronto, ON
When I lived in Toronto, this was my favourite option for a long ride. This route is great because the only stops are when the Don Valley pathway intersects the Lakeshore bike path. I tend to favour the east route, as it takes you to The Beaches, which has a long history of recreation that seems to hang in the air as you cycle through. It’s also a route you can manage without too much meandering or tourist-in-your-own-town-ing which tends to happen to me on other bike routes in the city.
- 3. Seawall/ Stanley Park: Vancouver, BC
This is a route that requires either a hybrid or mountain bike. Best to try this route during the week, as it’s also a top meandering destination for tourists and locals. Be sure to start out on the Coal Harbour side, or you’ll be going against traffic – it’s a one-way route! The ride around Stanley Park is one of a kind, and you can then make your way along English Bay and around False Creek. Spectacular.
4. Point Pleasant Park: Halifax
This is the one route I will not get a chance to visit this year, but I thought I’d mention it as it had an impact. Also a great route to visit in autumn, although you’ll have to dodge all the leaf-watchers. The park has all sorts of paths throughout and is hilly, so good for pushing those leg muscles. If you’re lucky, you might even see or hear a whale on its way to or from the Bedford Basin.
5. Parque Aztlan eco-reserve / Playa Linda: Ixtapa Mexico
This is route takes you through a little bit of jungle and ends with spectacular pay-off of a gorgeous palm-tree lined beach. I have made the mistake in the past of starting out to late in the day, and end up speed cycling back at dusk as large unidentified insects smash into my face and my imagination runs wild with crocodile attacks. It’s best to hit this fantastic route up first thing in the morning, which means limiting your tequila intake the night before.
If I’ve sparked your interest in cycling, why not check out the Ride to Conquer Cancer. It’s always great to have a goal to motivate yourself to get out and be active.
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