Despite it having been quite cool and damp yesterday, we decided to do the Colonel By Sunday bike day anyway. Actually, yesterday's venture was that much more special because my daughter, Rachael, was with us. Our good friends had a bicycle they loaned to us for the season specifically for her use and as she really wanted to get out before the forecast rainshowers we thought it best to head out early.
So, after a good breakfast we got ourselves ready to take on the much beloved Colonel By bike day. Rachael is familiar with the program but hadn't actually experienced it herself. Her keenness to get going was palpable and so we headed out right at 8:30. The sun was very weak, a sort of yellow-ish grey-brown ball peering through thickening clouds and the day wasn't all that warm. But, it wasn't miserable either so happily we headed out.
Rachael wasn't too familiar with the route so Adam and I took turns just hanging back with her as we guided her along Hunt Club Road which had been swept clear of the broken glass and various car parts so commonly experienced. Luckily, it was early enough that there weren't too many other cars on the road so that made things easier to negotiate. The last thing anyone wanted for Rachael (or anyone else for that matter) was to have a bad experience dealing with inattentive car drivers - especially on the first day out of the season.
The three of us wound our way up McCarthy and headed north towards the more suburban quiet of the area. Our goal was to get to Mooney's Bay park as, from there, it's a very simple matter of hooking onto the bike paths and, eventually, the closed-to-motor-vehicles Colonel By. We try to time our departure so that we get to the barrier by around 9:00 am when the road is closed to cars and this morning would prove to be no exception to that rule.
The clouds were jumbly and tumbly as they bounced along in the brisk upper winds but it was neither very cold nor was the sky immediately threatening. What Rachael noticed was just how much quieter Colonel By is without any motor vehicles driving alongside - as in noticeably quieter. She really seemed to like that (which we knew she would) and the three of us kept going, cycling and zooming along and into town. There weren't nearly as many others on the road as there could have been and I attribute that to the fact that it was quite cool, overcast and just not that lovely sunny warmth that so inspires cycling.
Admittedly, the trip into town was fairly nondescript although it was very nice to see clusters of some wild looking flowers providing some badly needed colour in an otherwise monochromatic world.
Finally, we got to the very end of the Colonel By portion of the journey. Next to us was the Convention Centre (the "dead mackerel" we call it and which Rachael calls the "pineapple grenade") so we stopped for about ten minutes or so to just rest and re-group. The skies were starting to grow even more ominous and the first of a few spits of rain had begun to dance around us. Isn't that always the way it is? If it's going to rain, it'll start as soon as we are at the farthest point in our journeys - it almost always works out that way.
So, we turned around and, essentially, re-traced our route back along Colonel By to Hog's Back and into Mooney's Bay park. At that point, a genuine shower settled onto us for a good ten minutes so we three sought shelter around the closed concession stands to wait out the weather. At least we knew it was coming so we weren't too surprised.
Eventually, the rain had let up to merely a thick-ish drizzle and so we left the park and headed back home. We encountered our friends who loaned us the bicycle for Rachael for the summer and so we spent a few minutes talking and catching up and making plans to maybe head out one day all together. However, it was getting late and the skies were getting dark once more so we all grudgingly parted ways with our friends heading off in one direction while we three merely came home.
By the time we got back, we all needed some towels to mop up the good soaking we had had. It sure felt nice to head out but a lot nicer to get back home, warm and dry and enjoying the afterglow of an awesome run.
Today's tally was 30.0 kilometres done. That leaves me 163.0 to go as of today.