I think I can now officially say I have made it past the 2000Km mark, but I am getting ahead of myself.
A little bit of house keeping; I have reworked the site a little bit so that the ultimate stories have have their own separate section. Unfortunately the only actual ultimate stories I have gotten are from Halifax and PEI otherwise just a few offers that never came to be. Somewhere along the way someone mentioned that this would be a really neat document to have as a reference particularly in terms of the ultimate that exists in communities at this time. Obviously if I am going to make this work I am going to have to re-think my approach to getting people to write for me. Anyways there are some stories to be told.
I arrived in Ottawa to an empty house as my parents were off in California. While at first this was a positive thing I realized that in order to keep my budget low during my time there I would need to rely on whatever was left lying around. The first meal was grand as I dined on shrimp and steak from the freezer, things got a little desperate after a few days when I was forced to make do with salsa and pie crust. It was around this time that my Grandmother took pity on me and invited me to a charity event at the horse races in Ottawa, I was particularly glad to see the buffet.
I will admit that I am not a twitter fan, however I have to give credit where credit is due and in this case it was thanks to the tweets of TUF Tweet Dude that allowed me to hook up with a drive down to TUF courtesy of BFC and Big Fish, many thanks to them. The visions I had of lounging around 25 degree weather at Sunnybrook Park networking couches for the Ontario leg of my trip and catching up with the team from Newfoundland, the one province I am shunning in this trip, were dashed when word got out of the fields being cancelled for the weekend, due to weather. In all honesty the TUF organizers did a stand up job on short notice providing everyone with a place to play and at least 5 games. I think that is some quality scrambling. But my networking opportunity was ruined and I decided to try and find myself a team.
It took a little explaining to Too Bad to convince them to give me a couple of points. But once it was sorted out that while my bike trip had commenced in Halifax but I wasn’t actually from there and when I was there I was playing with a team from Fredericton, where I had only lived for a month, and when I was at nationals last year it was with a team from Waterloo but I didn’t practice with them I just hitch hiked to tournaments to play with them. Once that was all sorted out I got to get a few points in up and down the field. Much appreciated to the folks of Too Bad they were a good group of guys and I think I will hook up with them again in Waterloo for Mayday.
Too Bad finished the tournament in 5th place in the open division, but I had only planned on playing the Saturday with them. Sunday morning I awoke at 6:30 in the apartment of Toronto Rush super star, Jeff Lindquist, surrounded by the captains of PPF as they got ready for their early Sunday game nobody seemed to be in good shape that morning. I found myself to be in about as much disarray as the tournament schedule as I lost both my disc and water bottle somewhere in my Sunday travels.
Jeff had to go evaluate some of the players at their Sunday games and so I tagged along in an effort to make something out of m day. The hail and general cold weather brought me to accept my buddy Peter’s invitation to his family brunch. As I walked in the door to his house I was greeted by the warmth of his family and over 10 of us sat down to a delightful and unexpected Sunday Mother’s Day Brunch. Pete and I then went down to the Toronto Rush game that was quite unusual due to the weather.
I made it back to Ottawa, thanks again to my ride from Nicole of Big Fish, on Sunday evening and to the return of my parents. There were still a few things to be done in Ottawa before I hit the road like a parliament hill photo shoot with my friend Bri. A ton of credit to her, she really worked for these pics lying down on the grass and everything. I think the other tourists also found me quite a sight and I may be featured in a few other people’s albums commemorating Ottawa.
Wednesday morning I was all set to go and my family decided to accompany me on my way out of town. My mother took the lead taking us in twists and turns out of Ottawa, through main roads, side roads, alleys, and back yards. I think at one point we biked through the kitchen of a family enjoying breakfast together, they were nice and didn’t seem to mind.
My mom and sister turned around after a coffee break about 30 Km from where our driveway. My dad and I continued on to the house of his cousin and her husband John in Lanark. My dad had biked to Goderich, ON a few years earlier and this had been his first stop on his way out too. My mom drove in and John, my parents, and I went out for dinner in Perth. John turned out to be a really interesting guy having run for the Green party in the past couple of elections. He also used to plant trees for a commune in the area and had done the same program I just finished, Canada World Youth, before I was even born. My parents headed back to Ottawa after dinner and John and I went back to his organic farm.
I took off early the next morning and my next two days of cycling really became an internal struggle of efficiency versus safety. I was heading for Peterborough and unfortunately with the head winds I was up against I wasn’t going to make it in time for Thursday league night. The difficult thing about being in Ontario is not only do you have to contend with the geography, which was a little more hilly than I would have thought, but population dynamics play a big roll. In a car going from Ottawa to Peterborough is a breeze you take highway 7 it is straight and true and you can drive quickly on it. On a bicycle highway 7 is tempting due to its straightness and trueness but it is also a side mirror clipping waiting to happen. The shoulders are narrow, the cars drive quickly, it has a fair amount of trucks on it, and it is a prime route to take to your cottage. This was the other aspect of rolling on the Thursday Friday before the May 2-4 long weekend, I think anyone who can spell the word cottage goes up to one towing who knows what behind them. In an effort to avoid the mayhem I tried side roads and old rail trails some were better than others.
The above picture shows a not so favourable bike path/ATV trail that I attempted to ride. The first 15 Km were pretty terrible with loose gravel and sand and then I came across the wash out. It seemed like there was two major contributing factors the beaver dam and the snowmelt. Facing a long back track I opted to portage my bike across the water that came up to my knees. I then decided that efficiency trumped safety and I would be taking highway 7 the rest of the way into Peterborough.
I had always met interesting people from Peterborough or who had gone to Trent but I had never really explored the town myself. My down the road neighbour from childhood, Hollis, was one such former Trent student. He informed me that he was no longer living in Peterborough but he had a friend that could maybe take me in. If I owe Hollis one then I feel like I owe his friend Lyn at least 100. She opened her home to me and made me a delicious dinner. Then we rolled down to the water and ate ice cream sandwiches and drank some beers and I got a great tour of the Peterborough downtown.
The only ultimate I got to play in Peterborough was a round of disc golf when I first arrived and I briefly spoke with a player who tours with Smoke the Peterborough ultimate team. My next night in Oshawa I more than got my fill of ultimate, but that is a story for tomorrow.