This morning, I went to the gym for a vigorous cardio and upper body workout. I loaded up my bike with six litres of water, two kilos of trail mix and cashews, and a change of clothes. I then started pedaling towards the little town of Port Hope, Ontario. 113 kilometers away. My goal was to stay at a bike-friendly hotel overnight, and then bike back.
The first twenty-five kilometers were on paved roads, in city traffic. Lots of stop-and-go, lots of up-and-down hills, lots of being chased by taxis. Plus lots of really expensive cars nearly swiped me off the road. I got quite hot, and noticed that I had stopped sweating. Chugging a bottle of water at a stoplight had my arms bead with sweat within minutes. Interesting - I didn't know my body could absorb and use water that fast. I had gone through a third of my water before I finally reached the Waterfront Trail.
The Waterfront Trail is a nice interlinked series of bike trails and parks running along Lake Ontario. It's mostly shaded with trees, and cool breezes make it very pleasant. There are few stop signs, and the paths are curved to minimize steep slopes. Excellent bike riding conditions! Picturesque beaches, butterflies, meadows, and tons of wildlife kept popping up. I saw more bunnies and egrets in an afternoon than ever in my life.
By the time I neared Oshawa, I had gone through two-thirds of my water, and had eaten nothing. So, I tried a handful of trail mix. That turned me into a ravenous zombie; I'd pause to stuff my mouth, and pedal while chewing furiously. That went away quickly, and instead the thought of food made me ill. I had to force myself to finish the 200-gram bag I was eating from. It had a hole in it, so I didn't want to put it in my bike packs and have it spill. Foolish of me; I should have just let the squirrels finish what I didn't want.
In Oshawa, the halfway point to Port Hope, I stopped for the first time. I sat on a bench at Intrepid Park, near the former commando and spy training facility. My dad would have liked it. Just a few days ago, someone found some WWII explosives in the area.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_X
I called ahead and found that there were no available hotel rooms in Port Hope. So, I turned around and went back.
It started getting dark, and I was hurting.
- My neck hurt from looking up.
- My wrists hurt from holding the handlebars.
- My palms felt like they were about to become huge pads of blisters.
- My little fingers were numb from vibration. A day later, the right one still won't work.
- My back hurt, especially my thoracic muscles, but not as much as on previous trips.
- My behind really, reeally, reeaaaally hurt.
- The folds of skin between my thighs and groin hurt.
- The tip of my penis hurt. I later found a patch of skin was abraded off.
- My knees hurt. Turns out I forgot to put sunblock on them.
- My feet hurt from bending around the pedals, and my shoes felt like they were filled with water.
Oddly, my legs felt perfectly fine.
I had been rationing my water, but ran out. At that point I was back in the city of Toronto, going up and down steep hills while being chased by taxis in the dark. I had just reached 100 kilometers of biking, and decided that was good enough. So I steered to a bus stop, and fell off my bike. Just as I had removed my bike packs and bottles and shut off the bike lights, the #54 Lawrence bus arrived. I threw my stuff onto the bus, pulled down the bike rack on the front of the bus, and loaded and latched my bike. The driver was very patient, and told me not to rush. For the next 40 minutes I got to enjoy sitting on a flat seat in air conditioning. Then a 1-kilometer bike ride home from the stop. Hot shower, with soap stinging all my abraded bits. Several litres of water, then bed at around 10:30 PM. I had lost 3 kg / 6 lbs on the trip.
Woke up 5:30 PM the next day. I was now down 4 kg / 8 lbs. Probably dehydration. It wasn't until around 8 PM that I started peeing again in any quantity.
By the numbers:
I left at 12:30 PM.
I got back home at 9:20 PM.
I spent 40 minutes on the bus, and about 10 minutes snacking in Oshawa.
So, total time pedaling was 8 hours.
I started the day at 99 kg / 218 lbs.
I ended the day at 96 kg / 212 lbs.
The next evening when I woke up, I had dropped to 95 kg / 210 lbs.
I drank six litres of water, and until the next day I peed almost nothing.
I ate about 200 grams of trail mix and cashews.