Newsletter - 2000 Archive

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2K in Y2K Unescorted

Richard Nicholls aka "Dick the kid"

 

At the 1999 AGM when Real Prefontaine said that he was considering organizing a 2000 km event for the new Millennium, I felt an immediate rush! Wow!" I thought completing PBP was the pinnacle of man's potential, and now a new barrier to conquer! Well to cut a short story long, after much preparation and anticipation, the night before the start of 2K in Y2K the virus struck. At midnight with 4 hours to go before my alarm would start me on my countdown to the start, I woke up drenched in sweat and shivering. How could such cruelty be struck on somebody so keen and ready. That could have been the end of my story except for a nutty UBC professor by the name of Noboru Yonemitsu. Noboru or "Nobo" as he likes to be called also had a big disappointment. His work schedule would not let him complete the 2000. Like me, he was devastated. When he heard about my predicament he came up with an alternative plan to do our own 2K in Y2K on 15th August. Nobo and I share a few common traits. We are both very competitive under our facade, and we are both purists at heart. With these basics we decided that we were not only going to beat the time of the "Pathfinders" but we would do it unsupported, and carry all our own supplies for the whole journey. We submitted our route to the "Godfather" (Real Prefontaine) who approved it and designated all the "Control points".

At 0515 on Tuesday August 15th 2000 we left Tsawwassen with daylight just making it's first suggestion over the mountains. It was colder than I had expected, with fog patches announcing the nearing of fall, but we were excited, so we just went faster to keep warm. We didn't stop until we got to Yarrow at 0845. Real met us there for breakfast to give us replacement control cards for the two that Canada Post had decided to store for us! Those sausages, eggs and hash browns were just the fuel we needed to arrive at Hope with a 30.1 kph average speed. That would be the end of flat terrain until we returned to Hope 6 days later. We did a quickie "Subway" stop in Hope then the ascent up the "Coquihalla". It's some climb in a car, but when you're looking for a challenge, take your bike up there and give it a try. It's almost 7000 feet of accumulated climbing! At 0130 Wednesday morning we were asleep in the Panorama Motel in Kamloops. We had completed 381 kms in under 20 hours including traversing the Coquihalla.

It was 0800 before we were finally headed North out of Kamloops. We were obviously too confident because we should have been trying to keep ahead of schedule to allow for the unforeseen. Heading up the Yellowhead Highway we made a fatal mistake that would accumulate on us for the next 3 days. It was my fault because of my affinity for ice cream and this beautiful blonde woman serving them! When the sign advertised 48 flavours and the temperature was getting around 30 I couldn't resist. Because we were doing so well we dilly dallied for almost an hour before getting going. Then the inevitable: Nobo had a flat and would you believe an hour later another one. Yes you're right, it was a bad patch and we had to stop a couple more times to pump it up again before we put in a new tube. We had planned to sleep at Tete Jaune Cache, but by midnight the temperature was close to freezing and as my shivering got out of control I induced a wheel shimmy that scared me so much that as we arrived in Valemount at 0100 we decided that we might as well sleep there.

4 hours sleep, and by the time we had eaten our English breakfast we had wasted another hour and a half of daylight. The road surface had deteriorated and would not improve again until almost McBride. From Kamloops we had been steadily climbing alongside the North Thompson River but at Tete Jaune Cache we transitioned to following the headwaters of the Fraser River, which of course is all down hill. That would have been fine if the road was in the Fraser! Unfortunately the road builders decided that to make their job more interesting they would design it like a giant roller coaster. They did a great job! It went up and down more times than a bride's night shirt.

About my normal tea time my rear tire decided to evacuate with the help of a small piece of wire. As we were trying to get it fixed a pick-up stopped and asked us if we had seen the young bear 200 meters up the road. We hadn't, so he said he would just wait with us should Mommy bear be near. As we were nearly done we thanked the Alberta gent and prepared to get going. A few minutes later the pick-up was back with news that another young bear was on the other side and he wanted to stay until we were really on our way. Well we only saw one GIANT black bear (I swear its teeth were big enough to make a chess set), but I'm sure there were a lot more watching us, together with the moose that hang out big time around here. We made Prince George by 2300.

As our Prince George Vanderhoof return was our easy day we had time for a relaxed Dennys breakfast and a chance for Nobo to nurse his infected chest which he had been trying to minimize since we left home! We left Prince George at 0800 just after the rain started. As we started the climb towards Vanderhoof the rain got heavier, but thank goodness it was a good climb to keep us warm. By the time we reached our turnaround point 8 km short of Vanderhoof, it was sunny and warm. We decided after this much effort, and in the Rando spirit of full measure, we would go all the way to Vanderhoof. After a great sit down lunch served by a girl right out of the center of Playboy we were on our way. We were now headed home with 1090 clicks under our belt. Well for a half an hour it was great, then the thunderstorm hit us and followed us all the way to Prince George. 2 1/2 hours of hell. Heavy rain, sleet and gusty winds that threatened to blow us off our bikes, and for me another side gust induced shimmy. The rain was so heavy it was running in my helmet and out my shoes. There was lightning all around us and Nobo was witness to a tree being split in two by lightening less than 500 meters away. We didn't dare stop or we would have died of exposure. To add to the saga Nobo broke a spoke on his back wheel. He had served time in Prince George so he knows all the good bike shops. Don at "McBike Cycle shop" was our saving grace. Not only did they keep the shop open late but Nobo came away with a truer wheel than new! and we managed to raise our body temperature to close to normal. It was Boston Pizza for dinner half naked as our clothes were in the Laundromat.

We slept quick and by 0515 we were up the hill again, but now we were headed South. At McLeese Lake we hit our low of the trip. Nobo's bronchitis was taking it's toll. While we were being served by a waitress in competition with the Vanderhoof waitress for centerfold qualifier we had a meeting. Nobo suggested we each go at our own pace otherwise we might both fail! I didn't like that but thank goodness it only lasted a couple of hours before we were reunited and continued as a team. We made it all the way to Lac La Hache (328 kms and a seedy Motel for reward). Next morning we couldn't understand why we were having such a job keeping warm until at our breakfast stop the owner mentioned it was minus 4C This was the middle of August!

In theory we only needed 226 clicks to make Merritt. So when a sophisticated BMW motor cyclist told us that the road from Spences Bridge to Merritt wasn't that steep, we thought about pushing through to Hope. Right! On a motor cycle maybe! By the time we had climbed that stretch I was tested as to whether I could keep the peddles turning on a 39/27. We were bushed. My Achilles tendon was sending me strong signals about fatigue stress, and Nobo's bronchitis and fever that he had been fighting the whole trip gave us a good reason to take a 6 hour sleep.

At 0500 we were on our way. With nothing open for food, it was Gatorade and Cliff Bars. But that's what got us up the Coquihalla to Hope. From there back to Tsawwassen we were on a mission. For the last hour we averaged 34 kph. We had covered 2035 Kms in 158 hours 55 mins. and we celebrated with Champagne.

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