A Little R&R Before Race Time

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Hey gang! Well, for once I have a blog post not just about my training or silly accidents, but about a nice relaxing weekend at a cottage on a serene lake 🙂 Realizing that my big race is fast approaching, I figured it was about time to do a little bit of relaxing with some good friends. The location of the cottage was a place called Devil Lake, located just on the outside of Frontenac Park, a mere hour and a half drive from Ottawa. It wasn’t the first time that I’ve been to that cottage. It was the same place that I rented last year for Matt’s bachelor party, so I knew that it would be a pretty swell place for a couples’ weekend getaway. In the end, 10 of us made it out. If you feel like checking out some pictures and/or videos, as usual Jody and I have posted them up for all to see 🙂 Just click the link to see them. After you’ve had a good laugh at them, come on back and read the rest of my little story. I promise to try and keep it brief, since there are other things I should be working on today 🙂

The idea to have this weekend getaway was in my head basically from last year when all the guys were out there. We had a great time, and I thought it would be a pretty ideal spot for us to all get out together to. Although work has been pretty busy lately, I still took on the role of master planner for this trip. The goal was to make it as relaxing as possible for everyone. To accomplish this, I decided to set out a meal plan in advance, and then do all the groceries at once. This way, I’d be able to just charge everyone a single flat rate for the entire weekend, including all the food and drinks that they’d want. Pretty good plan, but getting all the stuff and packing it up was rather challenging. In the end, I got Darcy to give me a hand by taking a load of food and drinks down with him to the cottage. He and Anika were the first ones to leave Ottawa on Friday.

The weekend forecast, as you might imagine, due to our questionable weather, was a mixed bag. Early in the week before, it looked like it would be sunny all weekend, but by Friday, the forecast was showing a high chance of rain at some point in the next few days. Frankly, I could care less, as a weekend away is a weekend away, regardless of the weather. Nothing was going to spoil my two days away 🙂 We had good food, good friends, and good wine to see us through. I got all the meat for the weekend from my local butcher right before heading down with Matt, and I was definitely looking forward to stuffing myself all weekend with delicious BBQ feasts for every meal.

Friday night was the arrival day for everyone, and we planned on having a wine and cheese party later in the evening to kick things off. Alix and Jody were the last to arrive, as Jody was just flying back from Toronto from a day of meetings. Before they arrived, we had already sparked up the barbecue and had our first tasty meal of the weekend. The sausages and burgers were delicious. Soon after, we set about getting the screened porch decorated and laid out for the wine and cheese. Fun ensued for all. We sampled about 8 different bottles of wine, and paired them with a whole pile of different cheeses, with artisan breads and crackers. Very fun, and a great start to the weekend.

As more wine was consumed, the decision was made that it was time for an impromptu dance party on the porch, so out came the Tivoli and iPods to get the tunes started. It wasn’t a super-late night, but we certainly up late enough. The next morning started out with really great weather, so as people roused from their slumber, they headed down to the dock for either sun, fishing, or both. Darcy and Anika also took kitchen duty and whipped up a great breakfast of croissants, muffins, eggs, bacon and cheese. Just what we needed to get our bodies back into gear. Unfortunately for me, the wine hangover was really tough to shake. I thought if I went for a nice swim, it might help, bug even after donning my swimming wetsuit and heading out for about 30-40 minutes, I still felt like crap. So much for the plan of hitting the bike right away.

Rather than going for a spin, I decided to just stay with everyone at the waters edge enjoying the great day. Most of the crew had already decided to get back on the juice with either OJ and vodkas, or other juices with various spirits. I think I was the lone holdout! However, that was because come heck or high water, I still planned to get a bit of training ride in. I finally left around 3pm, which was when several of the group were already well on their way to that happy place 🙂 I figured (correctly) that Matt might opt for a nap while I was gone, which meant that at least he should be up for the task of staying up with me.

I had a great ride into Westport, then up the steep hill for a test climb. At the top, I headed into the Foley Mountain conservation area, and enjoyed the spectacular views. Of course, the views were a bit muted, since it had been raining earlier. I finished off a quick snack, and pedaled back to the cottage, to find my compatriots around the table playing board games. A few of the campers were pretty far gone by that point, and I was pretty sure they wouldn’t last too long, which was too bad, given that I had saved some really great boneless butterfly pork chops for our supper. I waited till after 7 to finally fire them up, and luckily, the mouthwatering smells at least got everyone to sit down and enjoy them, with good results.

After supper, more games, and of course, another dance party. This time, Al got another set of speakers out that were louder than the Tivoli, and the party was really turned up several notches. Luckily, I think that none of the neighbours were around near us on the lake, because I’m sure if they had been, they would have made their way to us to complain. I am embarrassed to report that I was out-partied by a couple people that had actually spent most of the day drinking, one of which made a remarkable comeback after a nap! Incredible.

One final morning, where Jody and I took care of breakfast, a mix of pancakes, hash browns, eggs, bacon, croissants, muffins, cheese. People were generally pretty beat after two nights of fun at Devil Lake, but we still found the energy to head back to the dock for some more sun worshipping and fishing. Matt managed to catch a few fish over the weekend, but nothing we could actually eat. We also got out a fair bit on the little fishing boat, and did some trawling, but again, no luck snagging and good eats for Jody or anyone else. We straightened up the cottage and refilled the boat gas tank, and started making our way back towards Ottawa around 4pm. About a mere 15 minutes later, the skies opened up and let loose some pretty big rain storms. So all in all, we were really lucky with the weather.

This was another fantastic stay at our rental cottage, and we’re already looking forward to renting it again for another weekend next year. There’s talk of having a martini party for the Friday night next time. We’ll also try to do a slightly better job of organizing the sleeping arrangements, since not everyone had their own room or comfortable arrangements for the weekend. That’s it for this post, the time is late, and I should really head to the land of nod. Stay tuned, because soon, I’ll hopefully be reporting from BC about my race!

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