Monday, September 01, 2008

29th Annual Cyclefest - West Montrose Ontario

The 29th Annual Cyclefest. Who would have thought, at that first gathering the Waterloo County Touring Club organized at Chicopee Ski Club in Kitchener back in 1980 that it would still be going on after all these years.

Sandy and I only missed one over all the years. In 2000, I headed to Colorado for VROC V2K while Sandy was helping the kids move into residence at Wilfrid Laurier University. There are a couple who haven't missed any. Back in 1998, the event moved from Chicopee to West Montrose, near Elmira and, somewhere in there, the WCTC folded up and the Waterloo Wings (with some carryover members, took over.


We left about 9:30 AM under grey skies towing the camper trailer. Yesterday, I changed the bike oil and put new tires on the trailer. We stopped at McDonalds in Parry Sound for lunch and then continued to West Montrose via Highway 89, down through Orangeville and Fergus. It spit a little as we neared our destination.

Fred from London (remember he helped Heather practice for her licence) had his trailer already set up so we moved in next door. Fred is the fittest 80 year old I know.

Tom came out and we set up camp in our usual location, right next to Fred. It's still pretty quiet since the rally doesn't officially start until tomorrow. It started raining later so Heather brought her car and took us to supper in town. They forecast clearing for tomorrow as we turned in about 9:30 PM.


Heather was working today. Fred fed us breakfast, a concotion of tomatos, eggs and bacon all done in one pan. Then Tom came out and Fred and I took him on a ride through the Hockley Valley and back through the Forks of the Credit. We stopped at the bike accessory shop in Erin on our way back.

It started raining as we neared camp, so we stopped at Tim's in Elora. So much for the clearing forecast. Tom went to his office and home, while I rode to the campground with Fred and Sandy. Then I went alone to Tom and Heather's place, where I helped him ferry bikes over from his mother's garage. I returned to camp and Heather and Tom arrived later. So did Kim and Mike and our friend Maggie.

After helping Maggie set up her day tent, we all went out for our traditional Friday dinner at The Gorge Restaurant in Elora. Heather, Tom and I were on bikes, the rest in a van. While we were eating it started to rain quite heavily. After supper, in the dark, the rest left while the three of us suited up. About the time we started out, the rain eased so it was only wet, warm and dark as we rode carefully through the deer crossing zones. We heard after that the Ice Cream Run to St. Jacobs got drenched.

The bonfire, corn and hotdogs went on throughout the evening. About midnight, Terry, Ed (from the Waterloo Wings) and I were the only ones left at the fire as the fog descended so we called it a night. Then I got lost in the fog looking for the outhouses. It was that thick.


We started the day with coffee in the big tent, visiting with various people. The weather had improved. Then Tom, Heather, Sandy and I started out on the poker run.

Rather than follow the route, we checked the directions on the GPS and went cross-country. Campground to Elora for water tower pictures (Tom and Heather's current quest), to Checkpoint #1, to the Black Forest Restaurant for buffet brunch, straight to Checkpoint #2, to Tom & Heather's condo, to Mrs. Sittler's (Darryls' Mom) bakery in Conestogo to camp.

The Poker Run checkpoints involve games of skill. Here, at Checkpoint #2, Jack Matheson gets us to throw things in a strong wind. It didn't work so well for most of us. I'd be happier drawing cards.

At the campground, we skipped supper because of the brunch but got into corn and hotdogs later on.

How can we go wrong with Superman as our corn cook?

Again I was up at the end, as the bonfire was abandoned about 1:00 AM. We don't party the way we used to.


Dawn broke clear and sunny, albeit with a heavy coating of dew. Today is games day. Kim and Mike (sleeping at home) brought us all breakfast from McDonalds.

The campground looking first towards the big tent and game area and then back towards the Kissing Bridge.

It got hotter and hotter as the games progressed. Slow races, hoop throws and a new thing with a barrel and a rope tested the riders' and passengers' skills. We watched and visited. Then, while they were still dry, we took down awnings and screens.

Robinson Clan Cyclefest Group Photo

The big supper got underway at 6:30 in the big tent. It consisted of rolled ribs, turkey, mashed, gravy, veggies, cabbage rolls, cake and coffee. Excellent meal. Then the awards. Heather got her 25 Year Pin (one year behind Kim due to a trip to the Azores). Terry & Amber tied for first in the Observation Run and Terry and Patsy won the Hoop Toss. The Southern Cruisers, with 31 attendees, won Large Canadian Club and Terry and Patsy also won furtherst travelled in Canada.

There was some concern about continuation since the Waterloo Wings are burning out, but it looks like the SCRC are stepping up to ensure that Cyclefest continues.

There was some singing around the fire tonight. Eileen plays and watches Howard pick the banjo while Leo strums in the background. I sang more than I should have. Then, about 1:00 AM, I once again found myself one of two people left at the fire. Partyers Were Us.


Heavy dew this morning. We folded up camp, said goodbye to all and headed out about 9:45 AM.

Thanks to Ian, Kevin & Maysey, Ed, Mitch & Jane, Butch & Rose and all the others who made this another outstanding success. We are looking forward to the 30th.

We stopped for lunch at The Haven restaurant in Pointe Au Barile, 75 miles south of Sudbury. The food wasn't bad.

Normally, we'd be headed to Indiana from Cyclefest but that isn't happening this year and wouldn't have fit our budget if it was. Instead, we got home, set up the camper to dry out and stowed all the gear for winter. The remaining travel this season will be by bike alone.

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