Thanksgiving 2011 – The Haliburton Loop
Thanksgiving is a North American holiday, supposedly celebrating the generosity of the native Indians when the original pilgrims were starving during their first winter on this continent. I read recently that, in fact, it was declared a national holiday in the U.S. by Abraham Lincoln to celebrate recent Union victories over the Confederates after three years of incredibly bloody fighting. Canada, in the meantime, celebrates its thanksgiving in October, one month earlier than our American cousins, on account of our earlier harvest.
The weather this year on Thanksgiving weekend was simply stunning – mafting, almost, had we been in Yorkshire. The overnight lows dropped to single digits and daytime highs were in the twenties with not a cloud in the sky. Best of all, the leaves, still on the trees, were resplendent in their colour. The forests were a patchwork of gold, rust, brown, scarlet, and fluorescent orange. In short, it was a perfect weekend for cycling.
We were double-layered for warmth when we left the cottage in the woods on Sunday morning. But when we reached the open road with the sun beaming down happiness on us we quickly shed to the bare necessities. It would be impossible to ask for a more beautiful day to ride with the leaves and the sun. It was like riding in a piece of stained glass. Everything was perfect. Perfect, that is, until an unbearable cramp hit me in the guts after about 15 km. We had to pull over. I walked the shoulder of the road with sweat on my brow trying to ease out the knot in my intestines.
After ten minutes we were back in the saddle. Our route was up to Gooderham and then across the Glamorgan Road to Haliburton. This was the same route we rode in April on one of our longer rides – rolling hills that climb ever-steadily through the hardwood forests of the Halibuton highlands.
In Haliburton itself we stopped for a lunch. The restaurant where we had planned to eat has gone out of business so we opted for a picnic by the water. No sooner had we sat down at the picnic table than a family of ducks paddled in to shore and waddled up to our feet. They were well enough behaved until three more males came swimming in, to which the first male made a display of nasty aggression. None of this did them any good – we decided that takeout pizza was not a healthy diet for ducks.
Mary changed to shorter pants before we started on the homebound journey. The going was slower than before, in equal parts due to the headwind that had come up, the stiffness in our legs, and the pizza in our stomachs. Or so I thought. Before long Mary commented that her pants were hurting her, and she felt like she was sliding forward in the saddle.
This was actually interesting. Her long pants had regular cycling padding, whereas the shorter triathlon pants had padding that is both thinner and covers a smaller footprint. After about 10 kms we stopped so she could change again behind a shrub by the side of the road. The difference it made in riding was remarkable. Our power was once again greater than the sum of the individual parts.
By the time we completed our ride we were both out of water – our bottles were bone dry. Not good. Never finish a ride with a bottle of water totally empty. Otherwise it was a great ride – one of those that put a smile on your face knowing you both had a really good time.
Unfortunately the photos come nowhere close to doing justice to the brilliance of the leaves.