84 miles, 1306 feet climbed
We loaded quite early this morning at 6:15, all of us together rather than early and later groups, so that we could ride the Blue Water Bridge into Canada. They shut down the eastbound lanes for us, which is probably why we had to be on the road so early. The bridge has two expansion joints that have to be walked across. We weren’t allowed to take photos this time (like so many rules, some treated it as a suggestion), so I’m including some from 2004 below.
Once into Canada, we encountered some construction, one that could mostly (until the sand got too deep) be ridden through and another that forced us to take a meandering detour that likely added a couple of miles to the ride. Judy, our tour leader, told a story from last year where a long train just stopped, blocking the route; by the time a suitable detour was found that was not blocked by the train, a delay of more than an hour was incurred. Ouch.
There was only one official SAG stop today, at 36 miles into an 83 mile route. Some thought that to be too little and I tend to agree. While staff assured us that we could refresh our water bottles and get snacks pulled out of storage at a designated location (today it was Delaware where previous riders recommended a restaurant), that is not quite the same as the table set with various snacks that a SAG stop provides.
At one of the turns just before we reached Delaware at road sign indicated that London was 20 kilometers (about 12.5 miles) away. My GPS, however, said we had about 21 miles to go. That’s a big discrepancy, indicating that we were going to get there by a circuitous route. Sure enough, we crossed over the 401 and 402 highways several times and even got to go right by London’s landfill, sharing the roads with several trash trucks.
London’s population, shown on a city limits sign quite out in the country, is 381,000. It may be the largest city that we’ve stayed in so far, though I haven’t paid much attention.
Our hotel was within a mile of the London Mountain Equipment Cooperative (MEC). Think of it as the Canadian equivalent of REI. Several of the riders were interested in purchasing a Canadian themed jersey. Judy, CIdy (staff), and I thought MEC would be a good source. Turns out, after I hoofed it over there, they had no jerseys or socks with even a small maple leaf on them. I did get some socks and arm warmers for Melanie and I but that was the extent of it. I think MEC dropped the ball here, though this is consistent with the trend I’ve observed of most bike shops not having much in the way of clothing. A couple of riders did find jerseys at the Trek dealer, also near the hotel.
My room had a kitchenette, which was a convenient place, with dish soap, to give my water bottles a good cleaning, better than we can achieve with the denture tablets we normally use.