December 31, 2006

50 Miles for 50 Bikes

What a great way to end the year . . . riding fifty miles with great people on a great course for a great cause!

This weekend Doug Grant was turning fifty years old and decided to setup a group ride for 50 miles and invite a few friends. Although the ride was called "50 miles for 50 bikes" I clocked in a bit over 54 miles and thankfully the donations and entries should cover more than just 50 bikes.

The Cause

The ride was in support of Project Rwanda and Doug's original plan was to get 50 riders signed up and raise about $7500 to purchase the bikes. Project Rwanda is an effort to help the economical development of the country of Rwanda, the smallest country in Africa “through initiatives based on the bicycle as a tool and symbol of hope”. The bicycle is used as a primary transportation and is also used to transport farming goods like Coffee.

And who doesnt like coffee and bikes?? Just like they say on the PR website "Coffee and bicycles go hand in hand. Support Project Rwanda today by purchasing Wooden Bike Rwandan coffee: our goal is to develop a load-bearing longbike for Rwandan coffee-growing families to more efficiently transport coffee cherries to the washing stations, thereby increasing the premium they receive for fresh delivery." If that is not reason enought to get involved just take a look at their current setups!

The Ride

The 50 miles was divided into two main stages of approximately 25 miles each with the head quarters at Cooks Corner . The first 25 miles was an out and back from CC up the hearting truck trail to main divide and back. This was also the same trail that the first and last nine miles of our ultra will be in February so Monique and I were glad to get more comfortable/uncomfortable with the trail. :-p The second half of the ride was through O’Neil regional park and had less climbing but more interesting trails. Geoladders has detailed course routes for each section

1st 25 miles – The Climb

2nd 25 miles – The Cruise

Our climb up Harding truck trail was slow and grinding but we soon found ourselves at the top of main divide with beautiful views and just the downhill ahead of us (for a little while). There was a truck with plenty of water and snacks at the top so after we refueled we were off to bomb the hill… But first we needed to put on our jackets. It was cold in that air up top!

Moniuque is usually fast on the downhill sections but I think the climb got the best of Her and she was getting tired. As we were near the bottom, Monique washed out and took a good digger. She is one tough girl.

Monique rips here new jacket

After a quick brush off we were back on the trail and had one quick climb back to Cooks Corner to refuel again. After a refuel Monique was pooped so She called her sister who lives down the street to pick here up. While she got some food, a shower and a little nap, I was off to the second leg of the ride.

I felt good starting out even though I did not want to go without Monique but I was going to push to try to catch up with Marius, Georgina and Karen who already started out on the second loop. I had been through much of O’Neil parks trails before and it was comforting to know what was up or down the trail ahead. The heat felt like it got cranked up from the first loop so I started ditching clothes and taking advantage of all of the wonderful aid stations along the way.

I was so impressed with the staff and support at the event! They were the most cheerful volunteers wearing red sweaters at every turn and it would be difficult to get lost with all of the ribbons and signs along the way. It is amazing how much it eases the mind when you don’t have to worry about what direction your headed. . . I was deep into my mantra and cranking away on the beautiful single track through the park. I wish I had more pictures of this section because this was the best part of the ride! I think that there about four stream crossings and lots of deep woods with autumn leaves covering the trail. It was easy to ignore the achy feelings starting to creep into my legs and wrist…for a bit :- ) After I finished the ride what hurt most was my jaw. I couldn’t figure it out but it felt like it was going to cramp on me. Later I noticed it was just sore and overworked from me grinding away my teeth. Wow… maybe I need to start bringing some gum on my rides?

This was a wonderful event to be part of and I am so glad that we were able to meet some new people and see a few friends there we did see for a while. I posted my pictures here and there are additional pictures from a few groups a SnapFish too. I hope Doug will plan out a 51 miler for his Birthday next year! I know the people in Rwanda could use some more bikes next year too.

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