Metric Century Charity Ride for The Healing Cycle

On the same day David Stone and the New Yorkers embarked on their Imperial Century ride, September 7th, I was participating in a Metric Century charity ride for The Healing Cycle. It was a pick-your-distance 10/25/50/100 km ride to support the Palliative Care Unit of the Credit Valley Hospital here in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. There were about 200+ riders registered for the various distances. I was the only unicyclist.

I found out about the event only a few weeks before it was set to begin and decided to go for the 100km distance on my stock 36 Coker with 125mm cranks. In the few short weeks leading up to the event I managed to raise $1100 for the hospital through the generous donations of many people, including other unicyclists.

Sunday morning, ride day, arrived and the weather was not looking good. Rain and cool temperatures were in the forecast for most of the day. I started in the first wave of cyclists leaving at 7am knowing full well that I would need all the time I could get as there was a 6 hour 30 minute ride cut-off time.

The pack of cyclists I started with couldn’t believe that I was setting out to ride the full 100km on one wheel and thought it was a joke. They quickly pulled away from me with their gears, coasting technology and training wheel in tow after only a few kilometers. The first 30km were under overcast sky’s, but the road was dry. After taking a short stretch break and stocking up on bananas and granola bars at the 30km rest stop I headed back out onto the open road.

Shortly thereafter it began to rain lightly, I was hoping it wouldn’t get any worse than that, but my wishes were short lived and the intensity of the rain began to increase. It suddenly began to feel colder.

Without warning I was launched forward off the unicycle at 25km+ and sustained a nice collection of road rashes along the right side of my body and both knees. I got up quickly without checking the real extent of my injuries knowing that if I spent too much time off the unicycle I would quickly get cold and risk cramping. My left knee was soar, but still worked and I still had 2/3 of the distance to complete.

The rain never relented and only came down harder as time went on. At the 50km mark I was completely soaked and really starting to worry about cramping due to the cooler than expected temperatures. After another short stretch and mixing some electrolyte replacement drink crystals provided by the organizers I set out in the pouring rain and feeling a bit better. Only 50km more to go! I was making good time averaging 21km/h up to this point, but with the pouring rain and the chance of slipping off the pedals I decided to tone it down a bit for the last half. I didn’t want to collect any more road rash and my left knee was already bruised and hurting.

At this point the last wave of 100km cyclists had passed me and I had a dedicated support vehicle following behind me for the rest of the way, which, strangely, was a comforting feeling that kept me going.

The last rest stop was at the 75km’ish mark. A quick bathroom break, more bananas, energy bars and electrolyte drink and I was off again. The last 25km were the hardest by far. Wet, cold and seem to drag on and on. There were also some bigger hills that I wasn’t really happy about or expecting to see. But they weren’t too bad once I was actually climbing them. They kinda warmed me up a bit.

A picture of me on route with 2 support vehicles in tow …

In the home stretch there was a 1km piece of road which was in the process of being re-paved, but was only to the point of have a good foot of fresh gravel. That was a fun section to keep me on my toes!

Finally the finish was closing in and a crowd of cheers carried me over the line. I was pretty beat and feeling the affects from my UPD 65km earlier. The start/finish was at a hotel with a health club attached and the 100km participants were lucky enough to have the privilege of the club’s facilities which included shower and steam room. A most welcome experience despite the sting of my wounds.

In the end it took me 5 hours 19 minutes (averaging 19km/h) of riding time to complete 101km with Ontario’s “rolling hills” adding up to approx. 850m of ascent and descent plus an additional 35-40 min of rest time.

The route chosen by the organizers was wonderful, as was the on route support and the event organization. I was very impressed. I definitely recommend this event to any of the local Ontario riders as it helps raise awareness and support for a cause that doesn’t get much attention, Palliative Care.