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.

Milkweed seed pods Milkweed seed pods

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.

Three Brothers Falls Three Brothers Falls

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.

Beaver Ponds Beaver dams (double)

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.

Haliburton Lake Haliburton Lake

Ducks Lined Up Ducks in a row

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.

Blaze in the Birches Blaze in the birches

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.

Big Yirkie Lake Big Yirkie Lake

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.

4 comments on “Thanksgiving 2011 – The Haliburton Loop”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    Lovely cycling country Kern. A great ride indeed. I'd always assumed Thanksgiving is a religious rather than historic occasion in the U.S. Now, I'm curious why it would be celebrated in Canada.

    It's interesting how Mary's heart rate fell when you came to the highest hill (Garmin Connect).

  2. Chris wrote:

    That looks like proper autumn you have there, Kern. Nicely captured.

    Goodness, there's a lot of information when you click 'View Details' on your Garmin link. Fascinating stuff. The graph for cadence doesn't seem to creep much above 90rpm, but the panel at the side states max cadence of 102rpm. Does the average of 75rpm seem lower than you imagined? I can't remember who is the grinder and who is the spinner. (Or is that the other Mary [Watson] and her fellah?) I have a bike computer – still not fitted – that is the model below the one with the cadence sensor. Ideally I'd like to record my cadence, but I can't complain really: it was a freebie with a magazine subscription.

    That's a fine average speed, by the way.

    Oh, and thanks for sparing us too much details re your knotted intestines 😮

  3. Kern wrote:

    I think the Garmin Connect graphs are a bit deceiving when looking at elevation and heart rate. The default x-axis for elevation is Distance whereas for heart rate it is Time. Good catch though, Patrick – I had to go back and double-check to make sure Mary wasn't slacking off :).

    I believe the average of 75 rpm, is accurate. It is about 10 rpm slower than my preference and feels very heavy. I try to concentrate on the pull-up of the pedal stroke to save my knees. The 102 reading is probably correct. We would have briefly spun this fast coming off the bottom of a hill when catching the gear.

  4. Hilary wrote:

    That looks a great ride and, as Chris said, your photos capture the season beautifully.

    I can't seem to share the enthusiam for the Garmin data tho – it never occurred to me to look at it in more detail – perhaps its a 'boys toys' thing!! 🙂

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