Wednesday, 13 August 2014
The Great Waterfront Trail has gotten me hooked!
Our area has seen a huge increase in cycling tourism over the past few years. As someone who has never cycled much farther than my neighbourhood, I always admired from afar when I saw large groups come to town. I hadn't given much thought to the sport until recently, when a friend mentioned a cycle tour she was doing for the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure.
Kaitlynn Dodge had reached out and let me know about the upcoming cycle tour she was doing. Riding from Brighton, On. to Cornwall, Ontario- a total of 331 KM over a five day period, this ride was going to be a tough adventure but unbeatable when it came to the scenery and experience. There were around 150 registered riders who are taking part of this adventure, which is in it's 7th year. Each year has highlighted a different leg of the trail, with this year being no different. This year is a shorter ride to help accommodate families and less experienced riders- like myself! When the daily leg of the tour was complete, riders would settle at camp (or in hotels for those who wish) and explore the communities. It is a great way to get to know this beautiful area we call home!
When Kaitlynn mentioned the tour and asked if I would ride with them for some of the journey, my heart stopped! I am not physically fit or active on a daily basis. That, and I am also an anxiety sufferer. When you combine all those things, it was terrifying to even think about even taking a leisurely ride. For some reason though, I agreed to join the ride from Gananoque, On to my hometown of Brockville, On - a ride of 47 KM. I suppose it was my competitive nature that made me jump at the challenge, but I am sure happy that I did. Kaitlynn is blogging about her trip at http://www.thekickstandblog.com - which will give you more insight into a beginners guide to cycling.
I started training right away, going to Gananoque and riding as far as I could on the trail. The first evening I rode 5.2 KM and couldn't breath when I was finished. My legs felt wobbly, I was sweaty and had no idea what I had just committed too. The next evening I rode again and made it past 7 KM. I was less tired and more eager to get to the next night and beat my personal best. I found that I started looking forward to my nightly rides and to see how far I could ride.
To date my personal best is 18 KM (which is from Gananoque to the United States Bridge) and I am extremely proud of myself. I am not ready to do the ride tomorrow- as I feel I wouldn't be able to complete it but I am going to continue training on the Great Waterfront Trail until I am able to complete the 47 KM ride. I have learned so much about cycling during this time - the difference between a mountain bike and speed bike, the importance of a helmet, proper stretching and hydration, etc and am looking forward to learning much more!
What impressed me the most about the Great Waterfront Trail was how serene of a ride it really was. There were parts that were tough for me, but all in all - I found it was a great place to start cycling and highly encourage anyone who is interested in the sport to check it out. Cycle Tourism is gaining popularity and I now know first hand why!
If you are interested in donating to the Waterfront Regeneration Trust or want to learn more about the Great Waterway Trail Adventure, please check out their website: http://www.waterfronttrail.org