Monday, July 5, 2010

When good enough isn't...

We knew the weather was going to get really hot, humid and oppressive. After all, it *is* July and, unlike the last two years, we haven't spent a whole bunch of time dealing with yet another rain soaked day.

So, here we were, fresh from our 10 kilometre walk we do on almost every Canada Day and talking about where to trike next. Actually, it wasn't so much where to trike next but when to trike next. With the typical stifling heat and humidity forecast to envelope us here in the nation's capital, we thought it best to do a really good trike trip soon - really soon, as in *tomorrow* soon...before the heat wave.

It was at that point where I indicated my triking goal of 80 kilometres to Adam. I had had such a great time doing 66 kilometres going to and from the Aylmer yacht club that I didn't think another 20 would be a problem. So, we decided to try heading out to Kanata, just west of the green belt that encircles Ottawa. With most people deciding to take an extended Canada Day weekend, we figured the roads and bike trails would be fairly open. The trail network to Kanata from here is about 40 kilometres so an 80 kilometre round trip was certainly within reason if not reach. The weather was forecast to be sunny, a little breezy and not that stinking hot that would infiltrate this part of the province only a day or two later.

The next day, armed with a really good lunch and well fed from a hearty breakfast of pancakes (yum!) we set out towards Kanata.

We could have driven along the roads but that would have been a fairly noisy and, to be honest, uninspiring venture. Besides, when Adam took his trike wayyyyy out to Carp airport last September he had ridden along some very lovely bike paths which he had wanted to show to me. This day, Friday, July 2nd, would be that day.

We took our usual route to Mooney's Bay to intercept the bike path. It follows a predominantly northerly direction and, in short order, we found ourselves at the ByTown museum right where the Rideau Canal meets up with the Ottawa river. We turned west and continued along the bike path passing through what I call 'Gooseville' just a little to the west of where the war museum is. I named that section of the bike path that follows the shore of the Ottawa river after the rather large clusters of geese that seem to hang around squawking and crapping everywhere. Good thing the catrike can easily maneuver around some of the larger - uh - clumps.

About 90 minutes after we left our house, we took a break at Britannia Park. There were kids playing, families barbecuing hamburgers; it was all right out of that song by Chicago (though it was only the 2nd of July and no one was playing any guitar). At any rate, we lingered for about twenty minutes before heading out once more.

Eventually, we found ourselves in a more rural part of the bike trail system - the greenbelt area. Once we could make it through all that, we would be touching the western suburb of Kanata. We reviewed the map once more (never go on any kind of triking venture without a map - seriously!) and decided to have a picnic lunch at one of the parks on the route. We were both getting pretty hungry and so wanted to find a good place pretty quickly.

We came to a stop in a small area across from the Beaverbrook branch of the Ottawa Public Library. Parking our trikes against a parking spot curb, we got our lunch out and sat down under a shady tree to enjoy both the glorious day and each other's company over a good lunch. We talked, we laughed and when I went to check my trip odometer noticed that it read 38.7 kilometres. Not quite the 40 I was looking for but I didn't think it would be a serious problem. I figured I could make up the tiny distance I would need to reach my goal of doing 80 kilometers perhaps by doing a few detours. Besides, I had a real hankering for some baked potato chips and so figured I would have to travel a bit to find a shop that sold them. I didn't have to go far as the library we had parked ourselves next to had not only a serviceable washroom but a couple of vending machines - one of which sold baked chips. Problem solved.

Lunch done and digested, we got back on our trikes and headed back towards the city and, eventually, home. We encountered a small group of trikers who were unfamiliar with the way to get into the city. So, using my best French, I described the way into town and suggested they "suivez moi" (follow me). So, now there was a bit of a convoy of four trikes and one bicycle travelling at a pretty good speed and heading into town. We said our "goodbye"s to these trikers and continued along the pathway not assuming we would encounter them again.

By this time, it was getting close to 3:00 and I wanted to get home. I was tired and really looking forward to sitting down in my comfy chair at home. Just at the Bytown Museum, we encountered our friends once more. They wanted to drive their trikes/bicycle along the Rideau canal but the pathway wasn't that clear (it isn't) and could we help them? Once again, I said "suivez moi" and, together, we made it to the Corktown foot bridge. From there, they found their way and thanked us both for our help. And, so we parted ways with this group of three (I never learned where they were from) travelling one way and me and Adam heading south along the bike path and towards Mooney's Bay. We have done that route so many times that we could probably do it with our eyes closed (don't try it, though - I'm just saying).

Off the bike path, we snaked our way through Mooney's Bay and back onto good old suburban streets. As with that morning, the roads were very lightly travelled and it was only a quick trip back to the house...but with one small change on my part.

A quick calculation showed that I would be 1.3 kilometres short of my stated goal of doing 80 kilometres. So, I decided to add a quick run down Bridlepath Drive and around a few streets there to make up the deficit while Adam would just head home and wait for my triumphant return. I was most of the way along Bridlepath coming back when my trip odometer read "80". I had done it! Woo Hoo! Anything else beyond that would be gravy and so by the time I pulled into the driveway where Adam was patiently waiting for me, my trip odometer read 80.546 kilometers.

Normally, I don't worry too much if I don't achieve a set time or distance goal. If I can be outside and enjoy the day for the gift it is, that's good enough. With MS, I'm just grateful to be able to move on my own (for the most part). However, on this day, 'good enough' wasn't.

1 comment:

  1. It was a good trip! The other trikers were both riding Catrike 700s, the top-of-the-line Catrike model built for speed. They were all decked out for touring, too, with fenders and saddlebags.

    I had an odd even, just a couple of blocks from home when my Catrike Speed's mirror departed the trike. I retrieved it from Hunt Club Road and it had snapped right off half way up the mirror mount. A quick trip to MEC turned up a brand new one, so My Speed is now serviceable once again.