In early June, members of XC OTTAWA participated in the famous Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour (RLCT). The RLCT is not a race, but a tour: a chance to ride with other cyclists on beautiful, quiet, and quaint roads from Ottawa to Kingston on Saturday, and from Kingston to Ottawa on Sunday. The route taken by most riders is about 175 kms in each direction.
It became apparent in our participation that the word "tour" means different things to different people. For some "tour" is interpreted along French lines, as in Le "Tour" de France. These people typically sport bikes with single wheels valued at over 3 times the XC Ottawa annual ski racing budget, computers that will calculate average speed, current speed, and rpms, but that unfortunately lack a feature reporting time to self-combustion. Believe me, some of these people do push the limits of physical ability to the breaking point. The trouble lies in the fact that some of them also sport waistlines which push their US Postal team jerseys to the breaking point as well. Everyone is entitled to take their own chances with their health, I suppose.
For others, ( notably some of the members of XC Ottawa), the "tour" offers an opportunity to swiftly triple the season's cycling mileage to date. This is not something we advise, just something we have done repeatedly during the last few RLCTs.
For one member of our team, the tour meant a splendid opportunity to work on his photography skills. This also allowed him to demonstrate his cycling prowess over and over again as he performed the following routine. 1. Grab handful trail mix from overstuffed handlebar mounted bag and place in mouth. 2. Rapidly accelerate away from the group with a cadence in excess of 200rpms. 3. Pull over by the side of the road, await the group's approach, take picture, and rejoin the group having successfully made a mockery of them and their inability to do more than simply pedal a bicycle. You will find the esteemed pro-cycling photographer's work below, including a picture of a suspect who might be accused as interpreting tour as in both of the first two methods discussed above.
As is evident, the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour is a unique athletic event and one that can be enjoyed on a number of different levels.