August 8: St Catharines to Grimsby - Cannon Ball 300 on a Cannondale (Tour 20) - 2021 🇨🇦 - CycleBlaze

August 8, 2021

August 8: St Catharines to Grimsby

Early steamy morning

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Honda Civic road trip to Cochrane

The bittersweet day. Excited about the accomplishment of another tour, yet sad that it is already coming to an end. It doesn't matter if the tour is one, two, three or ten weeks - it zips by way too quickly.

I wanted to be up at first light since I would have a very long day. It was around 5 am that I was up to shower and pack my things for the final time. I peeked outside to a misty morning and condensation on my window since the humidity out there was 100%. It was still dark out, though. Shortly after 6 am it was 'light enough' so I called the desk to say I was leaving (she had asked for me to let her know) and got a-rollin'.

Back down Ontario Street all the way to the town centre where I had passed twice yesterday, crossed the river and continued east through nice parts of the city, seedy parts of the city, then finally, into pastoral farmland consisting of vineyards and orchards of peaches, pears, and plums. I was kind of up on a ridge that looked north toward the QEW and Lake Ontario. It was quiet and peaceful and there was no traffic to speak of, other than the occasional cyclist. I think it was too early for people to be about and it must be busier later in the day - there were booths for fruit sellers, a few B&Bs, shops here and there. I passed through former villages that were now sizeable towns - Vineland, Beamsville - and through some forested valleys, up and down some hills. All told, the ride was really pretty and very fast. I was generally clipping along between 20 and 25 km/h.

Unlike earlier days, the sun was behind me since I was heading west, but I stopped a couple of times to check out the rising sun over the countryside. Suddenly the route turned straight north which took me down, down and down, across the noisy QEW, before dropping me onto the service road alongside of the noisy and ugly QEW hghway. I DID NOT like having that noise and distraction. The past week has been so calm and quiet, to have this yuckiness was... yucky.

When I came to the signpost announcing my arrival to Grimsby, the road veered away from the highway so I was in residential neighbourhoods. In one area there were people, cars and road cones everywhere. It seems there is a duathlon (cycling and running, I think) being held in the area so everyone was setting up. Then I turned onto a street that I had been on with sister yesterday and knew I was a few minutes from the end. Sure enough, about five minutes later I made the turn, and there was my little Civic just up ahead on the right. I was the only one around, so I did a little 'victory lap' circle in the street before pulling up to my car.

Off came the bags, off came the wheel, I loosened the handlebars, got the keys from the hook in the house, with a bit of help I slid the bike into the back of my car, popped in the bags, and was in the car, on the road and heading north to home.

Traffic was busy but not bad, but as I approached Toronto it got a lot busier and was so until Gravenhurst. I was surprised, but I suppose people still taking advantage of the last bit of summer before it ends and before we head back to lockdown as covid cases start to climb again. After being below 200 per day back in June, they are now 400+.

I drove, I snacked, I drove, I snacked, and by 5 pm I was back in Cochrane.

And like that, Tour 20 was over but for the memories.

Just out of St Catharines, the countryside becomes very pastoral. (St Catharines, ON)
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I was out early enough to get that soft sunrise on my last day (St Catharines, ON)
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Grapes, grapes and more grapes, with occasional plums, peaches, and pears. (Vineland, ON)
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That is one of many vineyards. (Vineland, ON)
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Today's ride: 35 km (22 miles)
Total: 374 km (232 miles)

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