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Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour 2012- Smooth Sailing for Team XC Ottawa
By:  Andre Marchand   (2012/06/23)


For those unfamiliar with the RLCT it is an annual weekend cycling tour organized by the Ottawa Bicycling Club (OBC), and runs from Carleton University (Ottawa) to Queens University (Kingston), amounting to a trek of about  180 km one way. There is also the shorter route that starts in Perth, and ends in the same location, which is 100 km (a route that I have often done when I was younger). In Kingston, the food and rooms are provided by Queens University, so after a good night of sleep you are ready to ride back to Carleton on Sunday.  For myself and some of the other XC Ottawa racers, like Karl Saidla and Megan McTavish, this event is tradition. I believe Karl has completed the 180 km route every year since he was thirteen years old!

So that’s the background, now onto this year’s ride!

Saturday: Classic Route (Ottawa-Perth-Kingston)

We departed early (well, early for me!) from Carleton Saturday morning with a small group of 7 riders. Three of us (Karl, Megan and I) a part of XC Ottawa, Justin Demers (XC Ottawa alumni) and 3 other friends who were just as much suckers for punishment as we were! Bob Feigel, Stephanie Rees, and David (didn’t catch his last name?), the latter two are survivors from my previous 2 RCLT rides.

Heres most of the group:


(Left to right) half of Justin, then David, Bob, Andre and finally half of Karl.

Despite the gloomy weather, and even the threatening clouds in some sections, we did not get rained on at all. The bad news for me was that despite it being perfectly dry, I had packed all my rain gear which was taking up precious space for food! Even with my pockets jammed with arm warmers, etc, I did manage to squeeze my Ipod in so that I could document this awesome day. At the first organized pit stop in Perth, we took a short break to eat lunch and refill our water bottles. Karl also made use of this time to model the new Fresh Air cycling kit. A huge thanks to Fresh Air for the awesome clothing... though I’m not sure they ever expected it this!?!


Karl, the aspiring model (?)

It should be evident that Karl has quite a good time on these rides!

After Perth it’s onward to the hills! Nothing particularly difficult, but after 120 km or so, the small rollers and short climbs hit you a little bit harder than normal. However we make the necessary stops to refill water and buy food, so no one really gets run down.

In one of the last climbs before Kingston, Justin made his move to claim the poka dot jersey, dusting Bob and I who attempted to follow. Not super surprising given that Justin has ridden from Gatineau-Quebec City in one day, about 450 km!!! This was a short ride for him J

After pedalling for 6 hours (excluding stops), we finally arrive in Kingston where we head immediately to the recovery food... BBQ hot dogs, hamburgers and beer. This is my pre-dinner or late-lunch, in only an hour and a half I will be eating again in the all you can eat cafeteria, and man did I get my moneys worth!!! After supper and a routine walk along the shores of Kingston, it’s off to bed for me.

Sunday: Cruise Route (Kingston-Merickville-Ottawa)

On Sunday we had a leisurely 8:30 departure, and were almost the last to leave! Thankfully we make up for it by pedalling a little faster than the average group. For a change of scenery, we decided to ride back the “Cruise” route. This is an unsupported route so there are no OBC stops, or a support car if you break something, but there is however plenty of little towns to stop and eat in. So at a pace of about 30 km per hour we chugged along taking the occasional stop to refuel.

Sunday I tried to regain some points for the king of the mountain jersey with an attack in one of the bigger hills, but yet again Justin put his foot down to take the victory... at least it was closer this time ;)

It turned out to be a HOT day, especially towards the end where the open fields provide little shade for the pounding sun. This made for more frequent stops to refill water. With only 30 km to go I took advantage of a coke feed to get me through that last hour of riding and to that delicious BBQ waiting at the finish line!



Overall a lot of fun again this year, I hope to see you out on next year’s RLCT!

Andre M.

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