Randonneurs Ontario

March to the Marsh 600 Report

March to the Marsh 600 Report

Story by Bill Little. Photo by Carey Chappelle
June 17, 2006

Welcome to the Huron Chapter 600. Eight brave riders set off on Saturday morning on a beautiful day in Bruce County. Everyone had high hopes of an uneventful ride and for the first few hours that was exactly what we got.

Riders included illustrious Carey "The Chapter President" Bill the "Zebra", Nathan the "Kid", "Honey" Rolf, Rudy and Con "the Goderich brothers", "Macho" Maccio, and our designated import the lovely Merry from Ohio.

To say it was hot would be an understatement. By late morning it was 30 C, and then we entered the "valley of death", or the Beaver Valley, and started to pay the price. By this time the "Goderich brothers" and Merry decided that they should go it alone and the remaining 5 of us struggled along behind. Out of the valley we went and across the lake and back down the escarpment into Creemore. The climb out of Creemore along the river has to be one of my least favourites. By the top, we all had to find a tree (33 C in the shade) and strip off a little clothing, to cool off. We were now in banjo land" of Ontario. In Bajeros, we saw a Mennonite Limo (a wagon with 4 rows of car seats - no photos allowed!). After a few km of gravel (second of the day) we started our decent guess what? it gets hotter as you go down! I hit a personal record of 94.8 km/hr heading for Thornton (better than the 92 on the Sella). Once down the hill the temperatures were unbearable and the highest recorded was 41deg C, when I left my bike in the sun at the corner store. The 5 struggled into Thornton with visible problems - some of us barely managing 20 km/hr. The fast three came by looking fine ... but trouble was stocking them as well. At Thornton the 5 became 3 as Honey and the Kid needed more time to recover. The VP's gang set out only to find another unplanned 3 km of gravel. Eventually we arrived at Kleinburg, only to find everything closed-up. We did find some staff smokers outside a restaurant who were kind enough to get us "restaurant quality" water, so we could make it through the night - Yeah for smokers! The Kid and Honey had a mechanical problem and came in late to Kleinburg and made the right decision to quit. The P3 got into the control at 12:30 am to find that one of the Goderich brothers, more Grimm than the other. Rudy was forced to quit. Tough luck Rudy! After our illustrious short order, chef Scott made us supper and we got showers, and onto the couch at 2:00 am.

Up again at 05:00, we were on the road at 6. What once was 8 was now 5 as Rudy , Honey and the Kid were now all down for the count. Thanks again to Isabelle for picking up the dead!!! (and reviving them).

The P4 group (Con now with us) followed Merry into Alliston and recognized that we would make her feel good if we let her go ahead. Ahem. A beautiful morning ride into Creemore , over the hill, and into Nottawa for breakfast where we got a quick pep talk from Merry.

Another big climb, Ravenna, decent and another big climb to Walters Falls. At no time did the temp go less than 33 deg C. The wind was now starting to really play a part and when we got to WF we knew we would have a tough ride. Onwards to Owen Sound, pizza, and then to Wiarton. As usual the "little" hills now started to take their toll.

When we got to Wiarton, the skies opened up and the wind howled. It was a tough ride to Sauble. Then it really started to rain and the temp dropped from 30 to 18. By this time the rookies had shed their extra clothes at previous controls but some of us were still with all our needed warmth. A rain filled cold ride met us for the next 35 km

As usual,(but never assumed) the V-Pres provided an extraordinary meal and after a few Guinness's we sent Con home in a towel.

A typical Huron Chapter Event!

A special thanks to Scott Chisolm for being the control, chef, hotelier, molly-maid, and breakfast chef. We owe you one!!

A special thanks to Isabelle and Keith for checking -up on us and effectively giving us some help when riders had to cancel early. Your help was immense and I'm sure the "dead" have let you know.

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