06 September, 2013

There for the Taking, Part Deux - a bike route I love

The Situation:

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.

Yet again.

Weather Permitting...

... 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. 

Just hammer hammer hammer, then ride less than 3 kms home. For this, I get natural air-conditioning, the enchanting gyroscopics of riding an open road, fresh air to breathe (prevailing winds almost always feed toward the highway, not from it), maintain my bike handling skills, and thousands of metres of bushes and shrubs in which to woof my breakfast. Yep, life don't get any better than that...
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?!

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