My latest adventure down the west coast is now over. Posts are listed by date on the right. In a departure from previous years, I am not asking for donations. Instead, I will be making a sizable donation on behalf of my father-in-law, father, and all the wonderful people who have supported me over the years.

My rides will continue to make a difference in the lives of families fighting lung disease and to increase awareness about the importance of lung health. Follow along … Together; we are improving life, one breath at a time.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 42 -- August 1st -- Brantford, Ontario to Niagara Falls, NY

Miles Ridden: 71.8
Avg Speed: 15.5
Avg Heart Rate: 116 bpm
Climbing: 1,217 ft
Calories Burned: 1,713 (so says my Garmin ... it's higher!)

Some wind and a few bumps ... wonderful afternoon at Niagara Falls (Canada) ... back in the USA ... rest day starts

Today' route and map --

It would have been tasty to head back to the restaurant we ate at last night for breakfast, but it was a couple miles out of the way, so most of us opted for the continental offerings at the hotel.  Waffles and cereal provided the fuel and Margot provided some great fresh blueberries from one of the local farmer's markets.  We left the hotel and passed Wayne Gretzky Blvd. around 7:30 or so.  I had some rubbing on my front wheel/brake and had to stop to make some adjustments.  Dave stayed back and helped pace me up to the group (Geldings, Alex, Don, and Jeff (ABB)).  Jeff (CT) helped adjust it one more time at the next light ... good to go.  Brantford provided minimal scenery and Dave went down, but the local media was a big help.  The article they interviewed me for was published today ... check it out at Brantford News - Coast to Coast for a Cause.

The group was flying along as usual. I took a few pulls and pushed hard into the few inclines, but knew I would not want to stay at the pace all day. My goal was to make the first SAG at mile 36. A two mile gravel stretch slowed us down a little and Don had a issue with his cassette (Mike was on the scene in less than 5 minutes ... now that is support). About a mile or so before the SAG, I started to drop back, but got a nice pull from the Swiss train up to the group just as we hit the SAG. Toronto Mark's wife Susan was at the SAG with more treats. This time it was mini PB&J, salmon, and tuna sandwiches. Mark joked that Susan worked hard to pick up the sandwiches (vs preparing them). A few expletives later, she bid us farewell ... :-).

I managed to stay with the pack for a few more miles after the SAG, but the cross winds were almost head winds and I dropped back to fight them alone at a slightly slower pace. The Swiss boys and Leo came flying by, but I stayed put and continued at my pace until we finally made a left turn at mile 50. A lot of folks stopped to refuel and hit the potty at a store on the corner. I grabbed my new fuel of choice ... chocolate milk and rode on. After a short stint with the tandem (Mike & Matt) I went up ahead to tackle a few steep rolling hills. They were short, but indeed steep. 17% and 19% grades in a few spots. A good preview for some of the New England climbs we will see the last few days of our trip. I picked up John and Margo at the climbs and we rode the remaining 20 miles into Niagara Falls. Only a few picture opportunities before we hit Niagara.  We crossed the Welland Canal on a old drawbridge. The canal is 27 miles long, contains eight locks, drops 326 feet, and allows ships to traverse the Niagara Escarpment and avoid Niagara Falls. It connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.  The Escarpment is what caused the few climbs of the day.

Welland Canal

Welland Canal from the Drawbridge

Me Posing With One of the Canadian Locals

We went from rural and quiet to intense activity, skyscrapers, and people in a matter of minutes. The Canadian side of the falls is amazingly built up. There must be at least ten huge hotels and just about every type of restaurant, casino, and tourist trap you can imagine. After clearing the honky tonk, the fruits of our labor quickly appeared. For those of you who have not been, the falls are are much more viewable from the Canadian side. As a result, the activity and stuff is significantly higher on the Canadian side. There are two sets of falls ... American (Niagara) and Canadian (Horseshoe - named for its shape). Walking down Niagara Parkway, we stopped for a few shots of American Falls before continuing down to Horseshoe. The wind was bringing the mist up over us and the road. It was quite a site. People were everywhere and the international flavor was very apparent. We met up with Alex and Jeff (CT) at Horseshoe.

First Glimpse of American Falls

Princeton Sports Gets Around ... American Falls

American Falls with Maid of Mist in Foreground

Maid of the Mist in The Mist

Horseshoe Falls

Another Angle of American Falls

Amazing Power and Spray from Horseshoe Falls

Up Close View of Horseshoe
Jeff, Alex, and I headed to explore the quieter side and followed the river for a few miles. We then meandered back into town and found a nice pub for an outdoor lunch. Next door we had spumoni ... a nice step up from DQ. We came right through the center of the honky tonk on our way toward the Rainbow Bridge. A truly amazing site ... stuff everywhere! We cleared US customs pretty quickly, snapped the welcome to New York sign and quickly found the hotel. With all the walking, pictures, eating, and riding, we were among the last to check in.
Quiet Side of Niagara River

Not Sure People Actually Fit In These Things

View from Rainbow Bridge Heading Into USA

Canadian Skyline

Both Falls From The Bridge

Entering Customs ... Pretty Quick

Another State ... Number 8
I had enough time for a shower before wrap and dinner. My first real ice cream and Black Raspberry at that was found after dinner. A quick break back at the hotel and then we were back out to the falls for the fireworks. John, Margo, Gerard and I headed for the park that overlooks the river. John, Margo, and I then walked over to Green Park where we sat right on top of the falls. It was a great vantage point for the fireworks and provided wonderful views of the river, falls, and skyline. Dave turned $20 into $150 at the local casino. A few night caps with Dave, Ian, and Alex finished off a very busy evening.

American Falls Lit Up Canadian Skyline in Back

Evening View of American Falls

Great Firework Display
Good night moon ... good night Niagara ... good night riding (for our last day of rest) ... good night Canada (hello USA)

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