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Training Log Archive: OutdoorsMama

In the 7 days ending Aug 10:

activity # timemileskm+m
  Canoeing4 11:00:00 2.0 3.22
  Adventure Bike1 8:15:00 81.27(9.9/h) 130.79(15.9/h)
  Trekking3 5:10:00 11.65 18.75
  Jogging1 30:00 2.5(12:00) 4.02(7:27)
  Total6 24:55:00 97.42 156.78

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Saturday Aug 10 #

Adventure Bike race (Gravel, pave, forest) 8:15:00 [4] 81.27 mi (9.9 mph)

Eager Beaver 100

I had some thoughts about switching from the 100 mile to 100 km version last week, but I was deep in the woods with a canoe on my head. This event was a last minute addition to our calendar (more for the social aspect.....our newly converted gravel buddy wanted to do it, and a gravel-riding/bike-packing fellow I met on social media was going to be there). And I feel I should support Ontario events more often...... It would be a great warm up for Gravel Worlds next weekend. So I started into the 100 mile version, did the worst of the hills, short-coursed myself and thereby missed the sweet tailwind section (d'oh!), and still got to do the nasty headwind section. So I got my money's worth :)

Ontario events seem to be 'way more competitive than the American ones we do. And this one is no exception. The event started at Nordic Highlands' main building (we camped there the night before) and headed up into the woods......then down, down, down some minimum maintenance gravel, then up, up, up on a Bruce Trail side trail past Glen Huron. There was a lot of walking taking place through there (as in, not just me pushing my bike up the hill). More dicey downhills. And grueling uphills. Repeat.

A car with its 4-way flashers was following me for the last few miles into the 2nd check point. I thought that was kind of polite, but odd. Then I realized it was the "pick up the course markings" crew. They weren't kicking me off the course, but I was the last one through...... At the 2nd aid station, I could tell by the drop bags that not everyone had come through, even though I was the last one in. I had some banana, some coke, refilled my bottle with Maple Gingeraid mix .... looked at the map, and decided how to re-route myself to save 15 miles. I let the volunteer know that I was going to short course myself, but carry on to the finish. I texted Paul to let him know too.

The headwind battle made for some slow forward progress. Just me and the wind. After a while, my phone "dinged" and it was Paul texting me to see if I could pick him up at the 3rd aid station. He had seen my text that I was short-coursing myself...not realizing that I would still be out there for another few hours. Once we got that clarified, he carried on.

There are some beautiful Amish farms in this area. I could see three boys (about 8-13 years old) climbing up onto the road from a roadside pond ahead. They were carrying fishing poles and a plastic 5 gallon pail. Two of them were struggling to carry the pail. I passed them, said "hi", then thought, what the heck, may as well stop to chat (somewhat self conscious in my spandex.......) I turned around and rode up to their pail that they had set down. As I approached, I asked if they had caught a turtle or a fish. They said it was a big fish. Those are funny boys.....the pail was empty! We all laughed. One volunteered that their brother had gone "far away" fishing today. I asked if it was on Georgian Bay, and they thought that sounded right. We talked about supper, and I said I hope their garden was more bountiful than the pond. They asked me where I was riding from, so I told them some of the little hamlets I had been through today. Then they asked me if it was fun. I said yes, as moments like this are why I ride. I told them their corn crop looked wonderful, much better than the crops down where I live.

The last bit of the course snakes its way back a farm lane and along some wheat fields (some harvested, some not harvested) before arriving back into the Highlands Nordic woods. I opted for the "mountain bike" short cut back through the woods, then rolled back into the parking lot.

Paul and our new gravel riding buddy rolled in about an hour later, having done the full course. Big improvement over when we did this event 2 years ago: we each got a hamburger!!!! (they had run out of food by the time we finished that time....and another guy finished after us!) I got a couple tablespoons of pasta salad, and the guys got none......but we had snacks and beverages (chocolate milk, of course!) in the cooler in the car.

The gravel-riding/bike-backing fellow from social media flagged me down in the parking lot. He has some exciting plans for the next year.....carpe diem. Good for him!

Then one last night of sleeping in the tent before heading home.

Thursday Aug 8 #

Canoeing 4:30:00 [3]

The rain started at 2:30 am. And continued until about 10:30 am. Of course this was the night I didn't put a dry bag over the bear barrel......so it took on some water. Luckily most things inside were in plastic bags. The ziplock bag with the matches hadn't gotten sealed after supper last night (nor had it been put away in a dry spot), but I had more tucked away in dry spots in my gear bags. That aside, breakfast under the tarp was leisurely.......no more rationing coffee nor dehydrated raspberries!

I walked a few feet off shore to purify some water, and a bunch of little fish came up to nibble (yes, nip and nibble) at my feet and calves. I think they were bluegills, of many different sizes. That was hilarious!

We finally packed everything up (including a lot of garbage left by previous campers), and started paddling back to the lodge. It was obvious the water level had dropped by a couple feet recently, so I was very watchful for snags/random rocks etc. There was a short (200-some metre) portage, and Lynda wanted to carry the canoe. It was very level compared to our other portages (and short), but she declared that was enough of a canoe carry for her. Unfortunately, in the process of off-loading our packs etc, my bifocals snapped at the arms, and must have fallen into the water. Good thing I had a magnifying glass for reading the map!

This was a twisty section of river, and Lynda did a great job of steering us through the curves. We knew there was a beaver dam to lift over (well, unload everything, carry the canoe around, then reload everything), so I was watchful on every twist and turn. There were a few snags along the way to dodge as well. We saw a huge snapping turtle swimming beside us, and likely the same 3 sandhill cranes that had walked through our camp while we were taking the tent down this morning. It was obvious where large animals came down to the bank to drink/cross the river.

Then there was a lake with only a narrow channel through the middle that was free of lily pads. Then more river. Then WHOMP, we were in open water with a headwind and choppy water. I was hoping the wind would be NW or SW rather than due W, so we could hide along a shoreline. But nope, it was pretty well coming straight at us. I switched to the kayak paddle, in order to gain some forward speed. We came around a point, and gee whiz, there was a huge thunderstorm cloud and rolls of thunder just ahead of us. The shoreline was sheer rock, but ahead was a cottage on a point. So we laboured away, and made it to the shelter of the point as the thunder intensified (about 3:45 pm). No one appeared to be home so we carefully pulled ashore to wait out the storm. I had no cell signal, so couldn't see how big the storm was. And couldn't call/text the lodge to let them know we might be out here for an extra day (in the event it was an all-nighter). But within an hour, the storm passed, the sun came out, the white caps on the lake subsided, and I felt a huge sense of relief. We set off about an hour later, and were back at the lodge by 6 pm. The wind picked up a bit on our way back, and was quite intense whenever we went through narrower parts of the lake. But no more thunderstorms.

What a marvelous 4 days. I would do it again (and more.....well, without the last minute thunderstorm) in a heartbeat. Lynda says she hopes our next trip involves less portaging.......

Wednesday Aug 7 #

Canoeing 2:00:00 [3]

Paddle from camp to the east end of Grace Lake.
After the portage, paddle a bit on Carmichael Lake and Nellie Lake (holy BLUE (dead) water!). I even swam a bit in Nellie Lake (colder than the smaller Grace Lake).
Then after portaging to Murray Lake, fight the waves to get to a campsite (luckily the 2nd one we went to was available, as the 3rd and final one would have meant backtracking a bit).

Trekking (portaging) 2:30:00 [3] 5.25 mi (28:34 / mi)
shoes: FellRaiser

Portaging Grace to Nellie.
Up, up and up. Then down and down.
Canoe half way, then pack + food barrel all the way.
Back for the canoe.
Then back for the rest of Lynda's gear.
Jogged the easy bits (when I didn't have a canoe on my head).

Trekking (portage) 2:00:00 [3] 2.9 mi (41:23 / mi)
shoes: FellRaiser

Carmichael/Nellie Lake to Murray Lake.
A very picturesque trail, along Notch Creek. The last 200 m or so (the northern end) has a holy crap downhill that is not friendly to people with short inseams (like me). I was able to turn myself and the canoe sideways, and step down that way.
Canoe half way, pack and food barrel all the way, back for the canoe.

Tuesday Aug 6 #

Trekking 20:00 [3]
shoes: FellRaiser

Thanks to Jim and Sue Waddington and a confirmation from the lodge owner, we clambered up to "the" rock where Frank Carmichael was photographed, sketching the east end of Grace Lake.
Absolutely the highlight of the trip.
The rehydrated pasta salad we ate up there was pretty good too.

Canoeing 1:00:00 [3] 2.0 mi (2.0 mph)

I put a rock in the bow (stern) of the canoe, sat backwards in the bow seat, and had a delightful solo paddle around the perimeter of Grace Lake. Lots of loon watching, rock gazing and picture taking.....so a very slow paddle.
But the canoe was very nice to handle, even for this rookie paddler.

Monday Aug 5 #

Canoeing 3:30:00 [3]

Paddled from Widgawa Lodge to the eastern end of Cranberry Bay.....single blade paddles all the way. Souris River Quetico canoe...16 footer. What a delight to paddle! An annoying number of power boats in last kilometer or so, but there are a couple private cabins up that way. Very delightful paddle.
After portaging to Grace Lake, the middle campsite that the lodge owner had recommended to us (as did the 2 women we met on the portage) turned out to be occupied, so we took the most easterly one. It was terrific!
After supper, we did a short tour of the east end of the lake.

Trekking (portage) 20:00 [3] 3.5 mi (5:43 / mi)
shoes: FellRaiser

First portage.....Cranberry Bay to Grace Lake. Net uphill.
a) carrying the canoe isn't as bad as I had feared. All winter, I had it in my head it was a 30'something pound canoe. It is 42 lbs. Then I lashed our paddles inside. But it was still OK.
b) I could carry my pack and the food barrel pack at the same time.
c) Lynda decided that she would divide her pack in half for the next portage and make 2 trips, rather than one very, very slow one.
d) jogging back along the portage trail for the next set of gear is a pleasure.

Sunday Aug 4 #

Jogging (gravel) 30:00 [3] 2.5 mi (12:00 / mi)
shoes: FellRaiser

Along the campground road at Pancake Bay Provincial Park....and a bit up into the trail. I should have allowed more time to do that loop.

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