“This is the stupidest f*cking event I’ve ever been in. Mike, you are f*cking mad. I’ll never ride it again,” Keith said. His bike was coated in a thick layer of ice. The freezing rain was now turning to steady snow. There were still several kilometers to go on the dirt track when he rode by cursing. The track or “trench,” as it became known after a few years, was an old rail line that ran up from Toronto to the southern shore of Lake Simcoe. In the summer, it is used by ATVs and motorbikes, while in the winter, it’s a snowmobile route. In between, the cyclists came once a year.
The end of the track met the lake, where an icy northerly blew off of the water. Along the shoreline, the route took us east on a smoothly tarmacked road to The Irish House, a wooden inn that was painted white. It was well beyond its finest years, when the Toronto upper class would spend their weekends and summers on the lake. Now, it was little more than a pub, with dusty hurling sticks, mirrored ads for liquor, and neon beer signs hanging on the walls. Arcade games binged and chirped in the corner, while local farmers, motor bikers, and truckers sat at the bar or threw darts. Continue reading.