Newsletter - 2001 Archive

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What a Great Day!

Ian Stephen


For me this year's Pacific Populaire was a day of firsts. The first Populaire organized by Danelle and Sharon, the first Populaire I volunteered at...

The morning weather on April 8 promised enough to entice nearly 400 hearty souls out to the event. There were some fairly tough winds out on the course, but for the most part the weather came through on its promise. I overheard talk of a rain-dance (anti-rain-dance?) being responsible for the favourable weather. I didn't hear the whole story though, so can't relay that part. The bit I did overhear sounded pagan enough that had I heard more I think I might be too shy to tell the tale!

Danelle and Sharon did a flawless job of organizing the event. Some changes made in anticipation of the large numbers paid off and the start, I am told, went more smoothly than last year. I was working a registration table myself, but couldn't say how things went, as I was head down, focused on not messing up my assigned task. Sharon won my heart for all time by bringing me coffee, as if she wasn't busy enough without catering to me! I hadn't volunteered at a Populaire before and must admit I had no idea how much work goes into making the event a success. My helmet is off to everyone involved in this event and past ones. Good job all!

The routes this year were somewhat different from years past, partly to take advantage of city bike routes. Judging by the comments I heard at the finish, the routes were a success. I rode the 50 km myself and thoroughly enjoyed it. My only concern was that it was tough to leave the Woodward Landing control, there was so much good food!

The highlight of my day had to be staffing the finish. It was interesting to see the really fast people come in. Their times left me as amazed as ever, but less envious than has been the case in the past. How they ride is a different world from how I ride. My approach is a much more 'smell the flowers' approach and having listened to the conversations at the finish I think I like my way just fine. (Never mind that I could never be that fast anyway!)

The thing that really made me feel good about the day though was not seeing those who finished first, but seeing those who did their first finish. Those people who came out and for the first time ever rode 25 km or 50 km or 100 km. I'd like to thank those people for sharing their firsts with us at the tables as they received their finisher's pins. It was exciting to hear how hard it was and how good it felt to succeed. Hearing their stories brought back the feelings of the first that sticks in my mind, my first 50 km ride. It was in the grip of the exhausted glow of that 50 km that I decided I would ride PBP one day! Dangerous things those exhausted glows ... yet I can't get enough of them! At this year's Populaire I learned that sharing those glows can be as good as having them. Thanks all you new riders. Hope to see you next year!