Central Ontario Loop Trail (COLT) – Our take

September 30th, 2020 by in Everything

A couple weeks back Jeff and I took part in a 3 day bikepacking tour of Central Ontario, following the route by Matt Kady (BT700 creator).   We decided to start and finish up in Haliburton at James and Savannahs cottage on Koshlong Lake.  Which was a perfect place to get the adventure started.

 

A little background, the COLT is a gravel and rail trail loop around central Ontario, hence the name Central Ontario Loop Trail.  It is a ride that you can follow turn by turn, or do what we did and made it a choose your own adventure.  We had end locations where we wanted to get to, Cambellford, Bancroft and Haliburton.  Having these as our goals made sure we stayed on track and on time.  That being said it made for some long days, but that is all part of the adventure.

 

Bike setup.  For me, I rode my new Marin Pine Mountain with all the bags on it from our Newfoundland ride.  The Revelate designs tail bag, front bag, gastank bag, and a Banjo Brothers frame bag which was perfect!  I was able to keep 3 bottles mounted on the bike with the frame bag.  The tent, chair, spare parts, food everything was on the bike.

 

 

Jeff on the other hand picked up a trailer to pull. What a great idea, and the ease of packing, and storage was insane.  No extra weight on the bike, all was behind.    It was a Burley Coho XC trailer.  He also upgraded the wheel to something more for off roading.

 

Coho XC®

 

As for the ride, we started out Thursday morning on the bikes by 8am setting off to the Haliburton County Rail Trail, and going south towards Kinmount and Fenlon Falls.  The weather was not great, with just mist and cool.  Made everything nice and damp to start the day.  Our first stop on the tour was Fenlon Falls at the Sobeys to stock up on food and water.  I grabbed a nice 1.5l bottle of water in which Jeff wouldn’t carry in his trailer.  So mean.  The section of trail between Haliburton and Fenlon Falls was pretty good, there were a couple sections that were a little soft, and not great for thinner tires, but the 2.6s on my bike had no problems at all.   Our next stop was going towards Peterborough.   This stretch of rail trail was amazing.  We got slightly lost in Lindsay but we found our way, and hit a No Frills in Peterborough.   From Peterborough we were going to make the push to Cambellford.  This was a push for sure.  Lucky for us the weather got better, the sun was out, not much of a breeze.  After a long 9+hr ride day and 180km we made it to Cambellford for a well deserved meal at a local diner, called Be My Guest.  The amount of food that was scarfed down was shocking, but very needed.   Oh it was sooooo good.  From there we had a short ride over to Ferris Provincial Park where we would sleep for the night… Well lack of sleep…  Provincial parks are great, but when a child is screaming bloody murder from 8:30pm thru to 2am, you don’t get much sleep…

 

 

 

The next morning we woke up to a brisk morning.  We knew that the day would not be as long as the previous, but we did have around 120km to cover to get to Bancroft.  We started the day with a delicious Tim Hortons breakfast and coffee and away we went.  We decided to follow a quick country road for a bit before hitting the rail trail again.  We had a short section of rail trail before hitting the road to grab some supplies in Marmora.  This section is where we had a slight issue that almost derailled the whole ride.  Jeff hit a pot hole on the road which snapped the rear thru axle that holds the trailer to the bike.  After some much need cursing thinking, swearing, contimplating, choice profanity, Jeff ended up McGyvering the bike together to at least get to a hardware store to do a more permanent fix.  This detour and delay put us a bit behind schedule, which we looked at the map and decided to hit some beauty back roads to try and get to Bancroft as quick as we could.  I must say there are some amazing quiet roads in the area, and so many worth while trying.  Out last stint we decided to hit Hwy 62 to get to Bancroft around dinner.  The drivers that went by us, all were great giving us a tonnes of room!  We ended up getting to Bancroft around 6pm, just in time for dinner, which we were lucky enough to stay at Jeff and Karens place.  They gave us food, warm showers and allowed us to warm up our gear in preparation for the final day.  It is so nice to have a hot shower!!

 

 

Day 3, the final tour back to Haliburton.  This would be our shortest ride day, covering around 100km.  We woke up to a brisk 2deg C temps, so we decided to wait a couple hours before hitting the road.  When we did it had warmed up to around 9C, and toured over to Tim Hortons again for the daily breakfast and coffee.  Looking at the map, we made a gameplan to ride some quiet back roads.  The only problem on this day, we didn’t have the same abundance of supplies, so we had to be sure to be prepared for 4hrs of riding before we could refuel.  We lucked out with the weather, a beautiful sunny day, and it did warm up nicely.  This day had some major climbs though, first coming out of Bancroft, and then a few between Bancroft and Haliburton.  Nothing that killed you, but they were long and just kept going and going and going.  But all the climbing was worth it coming back into Haliburton.  The downhill we got, wow!!!  When a sign says 9% grade downhill, you just let it go.  One thing I noticed with my setup was any speed above 50km/hr the bike decided to become unstable.  So for me I was limited a bit compared to Jeff who flew down the hills!  Haliburton on a Saturday is a busy place, but for us a great place to take a final break before the last 8km to the cottage.  The rail trail from Haliburton back to Koshlong was great.  All in all we finished just shy of 400km in the 3 days.

 

 

Some thoughts after the ride…. It was a great adventure, a lot of time to think and contimplate and just to forget about everything.  I need a new saddle, one more comfortable…. Pack a little lighter, there was a bunch of gear on the bike that was never used…. What will the next adventure be, BT700 for sure….. Would I ride with Jeff again, 100%!!!!!!….

 

Would I do this tour again, 100%, I may change it up, add a day possibly just to be more enjoyable, but all in all amazing tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Light at the end of the Tunnel

April 30th, 2020 by in Everything

Good afternoon everyone, hope everyone is surviving!!

Its been a while since I have done a post on the TVG site.  To answer some questions, yes I am still alive!  Like many, it has been a different winter/spring time.  For myself, a new bike trainer has given me a new motivation over the winter, and prior to Covid-19 coming in, a training plan for the Spring 8hr solo was in full swing.  Oh how things change… No more spring 8hr, no more 24hr at Albion, pulling the chute on the 24hr in New York, Sausage Suit ITT which was suppose to be in the coming weeks is postponed.  Bike trips that were planned for the spring time, cancelled or postponed.

 

 

I’d say it is becoming depressing, everything we looked forward to all weekend is being pulled out from underneath us.   But there is light at the end of the tunnel (see what I did there, referenced the title of the post….), plus many things to look forward to.  Use the coming weekend for example!  Beautiful weather, with warmer temperatures.  Now I know that Dufferin Forest is still off limits, and personally I am abiding by that.  But what we can do is make sure the bikes are in tip top shape!  Most if not all Local Bike shops are open for tune ups, and over the course of the last year, bikes have been ridden, abused, and put away.  As soon as we can hit the trails running…. I mean spinning… you want to be able to.

 

 

With all the races being postponed/cancelled, I change my focus to other riding endeavors.  Instead of focusing on races, I am moving focus onto adventure riding / bike packing.  There are many rides that can be done in Ontario which takes you and your bike off the beaten path, and just to lose yourself in the beauty of the province we live in.  There are rides such as the Simcoe loop, and 160km single day or multi day ride from Barrie and around, there is the COLT (Central Ontario Loop Trail) which is a 450+km multiday trip situated around Bancroft, Haliburton, Peterborough etc.  and there is also the BT700, which is a 700km ride starting and finishing in St. Jacobs.

Now, like everyone I have hope that through the summer months we have the opportunity to race the 8hr, or have larger group rides again.  At the end of the day we will all be able to ride our bikes together in the forest soon.  This whole Covid-19 is just a blip in the road, a proverbial log on the trail, the rocks in a rock garden.

Now is a time to ride and focus on what is around us, take it all in, enjoy the ride.  I will try and become more active on posts, many many many many many beer have been consumed over the winter with many writeups to contribute.

 

 

 

Cheers all, stay safe and see you out there eventually.

 

 

 

 

Upcoming Ride Guide

November 11th, 2019 by in Everything

Good afternoon all,

 

Rides for the week are up and posted.

 

Cheers

 

Upcoming Ride Guide

November 4th, 2019 by in Everything

Good morning all,

 

Rides for the week are posted!

Cheers

 

Upcoming Ride Guide

October 29th, 2019 by in Everything

Good morning All,

 

Rides for the week are up.

Note, this Wednesday will be Colins Bday ride!!

 

Cheers

Upcoming Ride Guide

October 21st, 2019 by in Everything

Good morning all,

 

Rides for the week are posted!

 

Cheers

 

Upcoming Ride Guide

October 7th, 2019 by in Everything

Good afternoon All,

 

Rides for the week are posted.

 

Cheers

 

 

Upcoming Ride Guide

September 30th, 2019 by in Everything

Good afternoon all,

 

Rides for the week are up on the calendar.

 

Should be another great week in the forest.

Cheers

 

Upcoming Ride Guide

September 23rd, 2019 by in Everything

Good afternoon all,

 

Rides are up for the week.  Have a great week!!!

 

Cheers

 

Wednesday Night Ride – Johnny’s Birthday Ride

September 16th, 2019 by in Everything

Good morning all,

 

This coming Wednesday night ride will be Johnny’s birthday ride.

Should be a good time in the forest as always.

Remember to bring lights, it gets dark around 7:30 in the forest now a days.

 

Cheers