I've been shaking my fist at the weather outside for about two weeks now. At this point, I'll probably resort to witchcraft and wizardry to get the snow to clear up for a ride. Hopefully everyone else here is a bit more patient than I am.
I have lots of news for you, so in this update we'll cover:
- Concord Bradford 75 is a go!
- Tips for Cold Weather riding
- Supported brevets for 2023
- PBP Slack channel
- New registration form updates
- Our latest blog post
- Upcoming rides
🚲 Concord Bradford 75
We'll see if this curses us, but we're still on for this Sunday's ride!!
Start: Vaughan Metro Bus Terminal, Millway Ave, Vaughan, ON L4K 4R6
It's right outside of the Vaughan Bus station, just a bit north of the Subway station. There are washrooms and water fountains inside.
We'll be riding out from the Bus Station at 10:00 sharp. I'll will be there from 09:30-10:00 to answer questions, perform bike inspections, and say HI! (I may be waiting just inside in case it's cold!)
This start is transit-accessible via TTC Line 1 and the Vaughan Metro subway station during its operating hours. If you catch the 08:40 Subway from Union, you'll be there on time. Parking is just to the east.
🥶 Tips for Cold Weather Riding
There are lots of things that are good training for Paris-Brest-Paris. Getting hypothermia is not one of them.
Latch onto a wheel of our more experienced riders and hear their tips and tricks, especially if you're new to riding in poor conditions. Everyone struggles with different challenges with wet and cold weather, so learn what techniques you can use to overcome your own. Here are a few of the things that have worked for me over the past years:
A great day might turn into unexpected sleet very quickly. The rivers and valleys of Ontario create microclimates that can vary dramatically. Bringing many layers allows you to adjust as the weather changes. I run very cold, so a wet spring ride for me might look like:
- Shoe covers
- Sleeveless base layer
- Short sleeve jersey with full zip
- Long sleeve jersey with full zip
- Raincoat or windbreaker
- Cap (can optionally cover my ears)
- Wind or waterproof gloves
- Neck warmer in my bag (used only if needed)
The important thing with layers is that you need to be able to take them off to prevent overheating, which brings me to...
Keep extra layers dry
Nothing's worse than reaching for that set of gloves in your bag only to find that they're soaked all the way through. Save yourself some pain by waterproofing the clothing inside your bag.
An extra large Ziplock works just as well as fancy bags or liners.
Make more layers if you need to
If you're riding long enough, you'll see some creative approaches to insulating yourself on colder rides. Fashion goes out the window as you start looking for ways to retain heat and block the wind. Some of the more creative DIYs I've seen are:
- Lining your shoes with plastic bags
- Stuffing empty pizza boxes down your front
- Hotel shower caps as an extra hat
- Yellow rubber gloves
Bring an emergency blanket
You'll (sadly) see a lot of these by the side of the road if you're riding PBP. Emergency blankets are lightweight, heat-reflective sheeting, that can be DIY'ed into a bivvy, rain poncho, or even crinkled up between layers to create a DIY "puffer jacket."
They're $3 from MEC, weigh about 40g, and are incredibly effective at what they do. If you're carrying any emergency gear, I'd really recommend this one.
Have any other tips or suggestions to keep toasty on a brevet? Hit "reply all" to share them with the Randolist!
💁 Supported Brevets for 2023
Thanks to the OCA Return to Sport Grant, we're able to offer a ton of support this year for several key brevets. The grant focuses on getting new riders out, so we're supporting mostly 200s + 300s.
Supported brevets will not have a SAG wagon, you still have to get yourself to the controls! We will have extra snacks, a friendly face, and some mechanical help at the controls. If you choose to DNF, most will be able to provide you with a lift back to the start after the control has closed.
It's a great option for riders looking for an extra hand on distances they're not quiet comfortable with!
Supported brevets this year are looking to be:
- Ottawa Saturday Apr 8 Maberly 200
- Ottawa Saturday May 6 Buckshot Lake 300
- Huron Saturday May 6 The Great Canada Bicycle Tour 600
- Toronto Sunday May 7 Tour of the Valleys 200
- Toronto Saturday Jun 24 Warmup 200
- Toronto Sunday Jul 16 Six Nations 200
- Ottawa Saturday Jul 22 Foymount (Centenary) 400
- Huron Saturday Aug 5 Railway City 200
- Toronto Sunday Oct 8 Niagara Ramble 200
Huge thank you to the volunteers, organizers and the OCA that are making this happen!
💬 Randonneurs Ontario PBP Slack Channel
If you're someone who just can't get enough Paris-Brest-Paris chatter, folks have created a dedicated channel for just that in our Randonneurs Ontario slack. Lots of fun discussions, some questions, and cool ideas that are popping up there.
💻 New Registration form domain
I've migrated the registration form from the randonneurs.to domain to register.randonneursontario.ca subdomain.
If I've done everything right, you shouldn't notice a difference when you go to register for a ride, everything should redirect. If you see anything strange please drop me a line!
As always, please let me know if you do have suggestions or feedback on the registration site! I have a few things in the hopper, but ideas are always welcome!
🖋️ Latest Blog Post
“As we remember it…” a conversation by Howard Rogers and Phil Mallette
Howard: My early recollection was that Jim Griffin and I went out for a meal to get ourselves stuffed up with lots of pasta and to get to the start pretty early. He returned to the hotel to prepare the bicycles at around about 11p.m. suppose, only to be told we couldn’t go into the courtyard where our bicycles were kept to get them ready.
After 20 minutes of arguing we were contemplating all sorts of dastardly deeds to the poor bastard behind the desk. He didn’t seem to understand that it was exceedingly important for us to get our two bicycles and to get to the start of the event. He didn’t believe that we were really leaving the hotel at that hour. He didn’t believe that we were going to pay our bill. This man was the most suspicious man you’ve ever met in your life. The end result was that I was considering clambering over the desk and punching him, or at least holding him while Jim went and got the bikes. I was also considering punching the fire alarm and waking the entire hotel, including the slumbering patron, the person this twit feared most.
He finally succumbed to the temptation to actually allow us to have our bicycles. A wise move, possibly just saving his life which, I think he realized, was in jeopardy. After having spent some time preparing the bikes and having a fitful rest, we were confronted at leaving time, with a torrential downpour. This naturally necessitated getting into the rain gear and heading to Reuil Malmaison for the 4am start. What better prospect than a cold and soggy 1200km ride!
🚲 Upcoming rides
Spring rides! Be prepared for some rough weather. Registration for most rides closes the evening before the ride.
- Sat March 18 10:00 – Ottawa: Carleton Place 40
- Sun March 19 10:00 – Toronto: Concord Bradford 75
- Sat March 25 08:00 – Huron: Tour de Essex 200
- Sat March 25 10:00 – Ottawa: Osgoode 60
- Sun April 9 09:00 – Toronto: Uxbridge Ice Classic 110
If you have any questions or announcements you'd like in the next newsletter, please just hit "reply" on this email! (Reply all goes out to everyone!)
See you on the road,
Randonneurs Ontario, VP Toronto