58. The South Scarborough Loop

WHATTARIDE!

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The gate to East Point Park, a broiling Lake Ontario, and a waning autumn sun.  Breathtaking.

Ugh.  I’ve been AWOL from my bike seat for a few weeks.

September may have been the epicest month ever on a bike, but and with report cards due, two kids, a tired body, Halloween, and a crazy schedule, it’s been almost impossible get on my bike lately.

Although I found time last week for a quick rip at Joyride 150, and renewed my yearly membership.

But yesterday, I was on MPM:  Military Precision Mode.  That’s what I call it when my days are scheduled with the precision of a military exercise.  I got up early, had a morning pee, and then went right back to bed for a scheduled nap.  Okay, so it wasn’t exactly precise, but it was precisely what I needed, and my napping exercise was so so so so very awesome.  Then I got up and flew through some household chores, dropped my car at the mechanic and walked home, worked on the upcoming “Team Colin Big Giant Contest” (seriously, it is going to be EPIC this year), fought weekend traffic to drive across the city and then across the city again to test drive a car, test drove two different cars, and fought weekend traffic to get back home so I could ride with Colin C. (who I met through my blog), rode the South Scarborough Loop, got home, showered the road grime off my cold and tired body, showed a lovely family the car that I want to sell so that I can buy the new car I test drove, replied to some awesome people about prizes for the upcoming Team Colin Really Big Contest (seriously, it’s going to be EPIC this year) and Team Colin Day (um, Night) @ Joyride 150, ate supper, negotiated a satisfactory deal for the car via email (thank you e-transfer), and then entertained my nephews–I mean a ninja and a Storm Trooper, who were making a late Halloween visit, and then I wrote a this blog.

So not a bad Saturday.

But a horrible blog. I’m trying to write a shorter and snappier blog today instead of my usual gigantically long epic blog posts.

Seriously though, who cares about everything I just wrote that doesn’t have to do with bikes?

As it happened, Colin C. and I made a last minute plan to to the South Scarborough Loop.

The South Scarborough Loop:  Saturday, November 4, 2017

What a great ride.

Click this for a link to see what I wrote about the South Scarborough Loop in the past.

The South Scarborough Loop is a now legendary jaunt through a whole bunch of the cool bike stuff that exists south and east of Thompson Park, where it starts.  With minimal interference from the road, the Loop travels bike trails from Thompson Park, through Cedarbrook Park, and into Cedar Ridge Creative Centre, where it finds it’s way behind the Carriage House, for a raw, switch-backed descent into the ravine, and through Morningside park (just after where the trail starts off Galloway Road).  It goes through Morningside park, through U of T, past Miller Lash House, and into Colonel Danforth Park.  The trail hits a few off-road and grassy stretches before making a final push toward the lake, where it turns left and rips along the shore of Lake Ontario to Rouge Beach.  It’s a 20k zip, and it’s awesome.

Gravel, grass, trail, road, and paved path.  Everything you need for an awesome Saturday afternoon ride.

However, the return route is a bit different BECAUSE IT’S A LOOP.  When returning from Rouge Beach, instead of heading north into Colonel Danforth Park, it heads west towards the sewage treatment plant, and crests a hill to a beautiful lookout.  It’s a nasty, rutted climb but it’s the highest point for miles, and the view is spectacular.  Even the mist rolling off the leeching ponds of raw sewage were pretty.  Here’s a hint:  when you’re atop that hill, look south over the lake instead of north over the sewage treatment plant.  It’s a less crappy view.  See what I did there.

From the sewage treatment plant, the Loop travels west on East Point Drive (oh the irony), and through Grey Abbey Park, before dipping down to the lake.

Geez, did I say this post was going to be short and snappy?

Once at the lake, the Loop follows what will one day become the Waterfront Trail, but is currently a 4k haul along the shore of Lake Ontario.  The wind was whipping the waves into a froth today, and the water sprayed above the breakwall, spilling onto the gnarly mixed surface of gravel and building detritus.  It was beautiful, spectacular, and awe inspiring.

And cold.

Nature rocks, and at the heart of a good ride is a strong connection to the planet.  Today the connection was stunning.  Mother Nature wanted to play bikes too, and aside from the cold, she threw some back breaking wind our way.  The combination of the horrendous wind, with a waning autumn sun, and the stunning scenery was gravel biking perfection.

After 4k along the shore, the Loop zips back to the reality of the city, but not before throat punching us with a 1k grunt up Bellamy Ravine, which leads to Ravine Drive and Kingston Road.  The climb is about as much fun as you can have while swearing on a bike.

From there, Colin and I parted our ways and I found my way though a few side streets back into Thompson Park, and then home.

Let me say it again, WHATTARIDE!

It was great to chill with a new buddy, and I mean literally.  Aside from the wind, it was a chilly one, but it was also great to get to meet a fellow rider, and share a sweet ride. It was a last minute plan that put Colin and I together for the ride, and totally worth it.  I know, TWO Colins, on TWO bikes, riding TWOGETHER, at the same time…  It almost tore a hole in the space time continuum.

23376911_10213635038006110_1640276704_oThe weather was tough to define.  It wasn’t January cold, but was my first cold ride of the year, so it felt colder.  It didn’t matter though, because I was wearing my new C2 pants and vest.  I’m still working on a review of the clothes, but I can say this right now, the clothes are terrific.

They may have insulated me from the wind, but they didn’t help riding through the wall that was the wind.  It was so windy, we actually rode backwards a few times.  It was so windy, I saw an actual house with two red and white striped legs wearing ruby red slippers poking from underneath.  It was so windy that I never had to blow my nose because the zephyr literally blew the snot off my face.  It was so windy, I had to find a synonym for wind.

At one point, Colin remarked, “The Gales of November…”.

It was poetic, apropos, and very funny.  I mean, when was the last time anyone made an Edmund Fitzgerald joke.  When was the last time anyone EVER made an Edmund Fitzgerald joke?

Two bikes, two almost complete strangers, Lake Ontario, a bunch of sweet climbs, one heck of a wind, a Gordon Lightfoot joke, and every conceivable surface…

Boom.

We may have started as strangers, but after two hours on the South Scarborough Loop, I’m pretty sure we’re now BFFs.  I mean, how can you share the splendor of a sewage treatment plant on a windy day and NOT bond in some way.  It was a Colin one-two punch (because there were two Colins) on the South Scarborough Loop, and the space time continuum didn’t burst–even though the wind gave it an honest shot.

End of blog.

Ride.

 

Team Colin Update

Here’s what I’m working on RIGHT NOW:

  • Team Colin Day (um, Night) @ Joyride 150 (November 11th)
  • The Team Colin Big Giant Contest (to be drawn on the 11th–blog post to follow ASAP)
  • A new fatbike?
  • A review of some sweet cold weather wear (I just want to ride with it, and then wash it one more time before giving it a Team Colin Stamp of approval).
  • Finding a storage place for the awesomest Halloween costume ever.
  • Another article on why YOU need a fatbike, that I am going to shill all over the internet because fatbiking is awesome and everyone should have a fatbike and I can’t wait to get my new fatbike.

By the way, the Team Colin Really Big Giant Contest, which will be drawn at Team Colin Day (um, Night) @ Joyride 150 now has the following prize donees:

  • Joyride 150
  • Cycle Solutions
  • Apex Race Photography download
  • Another Apex Race Photography download
  • Substance Projects and the XCM (yeah, a free reg)
  • Substance Projects and a fatbike race (yeah, another free reg)
  • Evolution Cycles gift cards (for the draw, and for EVERYONE who comes to Team Colin Day (um, Night) @ Joyride 150
  • Pulse Racing and the SingleTrack Classic (what, another free reg)
  • King Weekly Series (seriously, another free reg)
  • Superfly Racing and Polar Rush Obstacle Race (you’ve got to be kidding me, not another free reg)
  • Chico Racing and 24 Hour Race (not a free race, but a few jerseys, maybe some cool swag, and 24 Hour t-shirs for EVERYONE who comes to Team Colin Day (um, Night) @ Joyride 150

Um, heck yeah.  It’s going to be off the charts awesome.  Can’t wait.  If you missed it, here’s the post with all the details.

Oh, and one more thing–seriously, this was supposed to be short and snappy–Team Colin hit an awesome critical mass this last week.  First, my Team Colin Facebook page hit 100 followers and likes.  Then, my post about Team Colin Day (um, Night) reached almost 5,000 people on Facebook.  They may not be huge numbers, but they’re huge for me, and I am loving every second of it.

Damn, 1,682 words.

Now, to get back to my damn report cards…

But first, one last look at the awesomest Halloween costume ever.

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My dirtjumper, a wicked cool ET puppet, and a red hoodie…  A cool costume AND I spent the day riding my bike at school.  Awesome.

 

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