When it comes to wedging a quick, intense interval spin into a busy day, many cyclists find nothing beats hooking their bikes onto a trainer in the basement or garage, switching on a small wind tunnel of fans, tuning into a long-neglected movie, blasting some motivational OOnkathumpaOOnkathumpa music, and pedalling madly until they get fit... but get nowhere.
The trouble is that - for my way of thinking - outside of staring at a black line in a swimming pool there is just about nothing less interesting to do with one's time. Waiting in my dentist's office doesn't count because I am at least diverted by my impending sense of doom.
Sure, fitness happens this way; pay the dues and all that. It's this very sort of sacrifice that gives our finish line photo faces those spiteful Mona Lisa smiles/grimaces that say, Yep, I frikkin' killed myself with boredom to get here - damn straight I deserve nothing less than this 23rd out of 77!
With enough perks and crutches and electronics surrounding me to keep my mind off the bitter reality that I am perched on a skinny saddle cranking away purely for fitness' sake - for my stupid body that can't recall the concept of "muscle" - sweating like a camel hauling stones up the side of a pyramid, on the verge of woofing my breakfast all over my handlebars, I can rationalize riding this route through The Black Hole to Health.
... I ride to a small slice of heaven amidst the (sub)urban jungle I live in - the same one I like to run at: a Provincial Park beside a creek protected from development. Not only is it within city limits, it is only a six minute ride from where I live. The ring road, for automobile access, handily measures out to a 5 km loop, with a whopping 20m of elevation change. It's paved, it's smooth, it's wide, and I have it all to myself. Mine. For me. Alllll mine.
If I get there before the 8:00am opening time my only real concern is dodging the snails caught napping on the warm pavement when they are "in season" - zero worries about cars, few worries about dog walkers. (Each of us - me, dog, walker - thinking, What the hell are they doing here?)
This is literally beside one of the busiest 6-lane highways in our region of southern Ontario, the Queen Elizabeth Way. In fact, I can hear the thunder of the traffic (commuters already clogging the highway at 6:30am, their blood pressure as high as mine but for a vastly different reason) and yet I never have to worry about what's coming over my shoulder.
Hmmm... that's worth repeating:
I never have to worry about what's coming over my shoulder.
|You can appreciate the proximity to the 403 highway from this overhead view.|
|The starting point/turnaround hairpin. The childrens' "play barn" is to the left in the middle-distance. |
Office towers are to the right!
|The lane widths are similar to an average street, each direction running separately. |
The return lane can be seen to the left.
|Several intersections occur to access various parking lots. But at 6:30am... no traffic!|
|Running parallel to the roadway, I flatter myself by pacing the vehicles |
(only briefly... as they pull out from assorted driveways)
|The road surface, I've got to say, is uniformly excellent. Snails notwithstanding.|
|Just past the curve ahead is the far turnaround hairpin. |
The highway's exit ramp light standards can be seen over the embankment. So close, so far...
|The "out" lane is in the foreground, seen from the return lane. |
Yes, being Canada, one's never far from the ubiquitous Tim Horton's.
|On one side: a franchise donut shop; on the other: chickens, sheep, cows, peacocks. |
With me in the middle, on the aero bars, a big stupid smile on my face.
|The original start/turnaround again, viewed from behind. |
You can do as many laps as time and your constitution permits.
Did I say there is no traffic?!