Getting An Early Start
We changed our plans and did the Pumpkin Pie Ride 2011 again this year. This is an excellent ride which if you have never done you should. It starts and ends at the Ottawa, IL YMCA and has five routes. The longest is 102 miles on pavement while the shortest is probably the I & M Canal Path route. We rode the shortest of the road routes which is listed at 28 miles but is more like 29.5 miles.
We stopped and grabbed some bagels with peanut butter before heading out. But today we added a fruit cup order since the Jamba Juice shop was not open that early in the AM. Then it was off to the Starbucks for chai tea lattes with soy and bowls of oatmeal.
By the time we reached the YMCA in Ottawa it was nearing 8 AM and so we registered made pitstops and left to park the van and get the bikes ready for the ride.
We took the Easy Racers Gold Rush Replicas this time and mounted Zzipper front fairings and yellow Freeform Fashions rear tail socks. The lower half of each tail sock is made of a black fabric which is covered with Illuminite. They literally glow in the dark! This is one fabric you want to have if you do any night riding.
The trip back from the van to the YMCA parking lot is about a block or two and from there each of the routes begins with a half mile or so of scenic riding along the Riverwalk. Then the four routes take off and continue on roads while the canal route launches riders onto the I & M Canal.
We took this option last year. It is scenic but portions of the trail are almost single track and thus more suitable for mountain bikes. Nevertheless it was fun. But I must admit that when we reached the Marseilles rest stop last year we opted to ride the roadways back rather than return to the trail.
Whenever you read the words “rolling terrain” in a brochure for a ride you are considering understand that this means that if you are riding a recumbent you will most definite get dropped by your upright companions unless you are a much stronger rider than they.
We saw one other rider on a Bacchetta Strada. And while he was faster than we were he was no match for a lot of the weaker riders on uprights. It is a matter of simple physics that on climbs recumbents are simply overmatched. Yet the rider like we was enjoying the ride and so we all kept turning the pedals and waiting for the downhills.
But the time we reached the 15 mile mark there was a small mini-rest stop that was situated on the side of the road on the front lawn of a local farmhouse. The fellows who were manning the site indicated that the route was basically “downhill” into Marseilles and from there is was almost as flat as a pancake. Good news!
It was here that we decided to enjoy our reserve bagels and grabbed a couple of cookies from the rest stop table to munch with the newly replenished water bottles we were filling. Then it was back on the bikes and off for the next rest stop in Marseilles.
One Last Rest Stop
It was at this rest stop that we were treated to a much larger food selection and potato soup! It was really a bit warmer today than in years past so hot soup was not as appetizing for me. But I enjoyed a banana and some PB & J sandwich quarters before hopping back on the bike for the final ride into town.
Getting here had been a real adventure. Just outside town there is a downhill that is really steep. They say so on the cue sheet but the word steep really does not do it justice. On a recumbent you coast at something over 20 MPH until you reach this downhill and then you starting braking! Going downhill flat out is reckless.
So it was nice to have the last stretch of the ride back into town be flat and uneventful. I really like the scenery out here at this time of year. The colors are starting to appear and with the clear skies we enjoyed today it is quite photogenic.
Heading Back Home
We packed up the bikes and went in search of food. Quite by accident (while searching for food) we spotted the Municipal Park in Ottawa (across the river from the YMCA). It has some interesting sculptures that we captured “on film”. Two were actually bridge sections that had been turned in animal sculptures and the third a carving in wood!
Being vegan means being hungrier than usual once your energy reserves are depleted. We found a Chipotle in Oswego and tucked into a couple of vegetarian bowls with Izzie soft drinks to wash it all down.
And wonder of wonders we got to hear the Chicago Bears football team actually win a game today against Cam Newton! Yipee! Life is Good!
Distance: 29.5 miles
Time: 2h 58m 43s