Riding through the streets of Mississauga during torrential downpour was an experience it itself. You have to quickly relearn how to operate your bicycle through wet streets, groups of cyclists and large ponds (literally, pot holes are horrible for this). My friends and I decided to complete the 60km Tour de Mississauga bike ride (some chose the 30km) and it’s certainly an event I am going to sign up for again.
As the largest free event in Canada, I also consider it one of the best organized events I have attended to date. From the optimistic and cheerful volunteers to the free barbeque after the race, to the pit stop with hydration station and cookies mid-race, I was more than willing to pay for the t-shirt (or jersey, your choice) that accompanied the race. Usually a race comes with a complimentary tech tee, but again, free race means you have to pay extra for the tee. The pick-up station at City Hall prior to the event, and on the day of, were well organized and easy to access, and the food trucks and vendors were great to talk to after the event.
The routes (5k, 10k, 15k, 30k, 60k, 100k and 120k) were well-planned and for the most part, easy to navigate. Generally speaking, there was a volunteer at every main turning point indicating which direction you had to go pending distance, though there were a few places where only arrows spray painted into the ground indicated which direction to turn. Maybe it was due to the sheer noise of the downpour in the morning, but I know some people missed the announcement that there were arrows on the ground to direct you towards your distance; different colours indicating different race distance. There was one part of the route where everyone missed the turn and we had to make a u-turn at a stop light to the chagrin of several drivers. Sorry!
Horrible weather aside, riding alongside serious athletes and bikers in a pack is certainly quite the experience. It was rather empowering and fun and the communal kinship felt amongst everyone was brilliant. I loved it. The second half of the race cleared up nicely and it turned out to be quite hot in the afternoon, which (mostly) dried up our clothes.
The afternoon was spent at Word on the Street, in which as usual I spent too much money, and eating up yummy foods.
Next up….er, not quite sure just yet, but there has been discussion about Santa suits and winter and maybe a race?