Staged in Minden, Ontario, the ride takes cyclists through picturesque Minden Hills and Haliburton Highlands. I looked at the course profile
(an interactive map that shows how hilly a bike route is) and figured it couldn’t be that tough. However, 20 minutes into the ride I was passed by every single cyclist and wanted to throw my bike in a bog and quit. I wanted to quit a lot. In fact, after that first 12K I was checking the map to see where the closest turnaround was when a veteran Minden 150 rider came up behind me and I dropped a string of curse words to describe the route and how I was feeling. I was in a bad spot, but this stranger let me draft and due to his kindness and encouragement, I finished — but not without more big mental and physical battles on the course. It is relentlessly hilly, with maybe 30K of the 150K course being flat. The rest of it is soul-sucking, leg-zapping hills. And whoever says hills are good for you are fibber foxes. Hills suck. There is one 20K stretch that even ride veterans are afraid of. And if it wasn't for the rider that helped me along, reminding me to drink a lot of water and eat as much as my stomach could handle, I'm sure that I'd have hurt even more.