|Newsletter - 2001 Archive|
Since personal business took me to the Lower Mainland in late April, I decided to combine this with participating in the Southern Interior 200 km Brevet in Kamloops on April 30, 2001. Registration took place before 7:00 am, at which time nine riders were sent off -- Ray, Peter, Randy, Rob, Pat and George, and the tandem twins Richard and Bob. There was an easterly breeze as we followed the Trans Canada Highway going east, which meant a headwind of course. Skies were cloudy and some of the participants reported steady rain in the Salmon Arm area earlier in the morning. The pace was kept high -- my interpretation as riders kept alternating taking the lead.
The rain started to fall as we approached Chase. Amazingly, every time it rains one certainly appreciates and enjoys the benefits of fenders. As the ride progressed, there was a bit of talk about the awe-inspiring Chase Hill. In retrospect, it proved to be no more serious than the mountainous nature of Baldy Mountain, Manitobas highest (!) mountain (!) at 831.2 m.a.s.l.(!)
As an aside, it reminded me of an incident in the late seventies, when two BC grad students including yours truly on a field trip in rural Manitoba burst out laughing at the mentioning of this fact about that mountain, a reaction which was not taken too kindly by home-grown Manitobans. We learnt our lesson: do not criticize symbols of provincial pride. With all due respect, hills can be quite challenging and they ought not to be taken lightly; however no need to fear them either. A brief pit stop at the General Store at the top of the Chase Hill provided relief in more than one way. A reminder of what Robin Williams meant, when he [in the movie Mrs. Doubtfire] not so subtly compared his urgent needs with those of a racehorse.
After the Chase Hill the pack became stretched, as the route became more rolling. The tandem twins exceeded speed limits on the downhill sections, only to be caught again on the uphill. The first control was the Sorrento General Store, with little rest for the wicked as the first riders soon jumped on their bikes, off toward Salmon Arm for control #2. The ride then followed the picturesque Salmon Valley route in a southerly direction. Meanwhile the winds did not abate much. Somewhere along the route the two front riders, Richard and Peter, caught up with a tri-athlete in training, which gave me a chance to close the gap. A bit past the Silver Creek store, at the turn onto highway 97A, the winds appeared to be finally favouring us. We cheered too soon, for the morning easterlies switched into nasty headwinds. On a positive note the sun came out and the temperatures rose. Control # 3 in Falkland and another break, including the opportunity to change tights for shorts. The experience on the section following Falkland can best be described as the wicked winds of Westwold were wearing Wim thin, because this is exactly how I felt. True relief came after the turn in Westwold in the form of a strong tailwind. We were now cruising at speeds of up to 50 kph. At the Barnhartvale road turnoff, a winding secondary road took us through a very pretty environment - icing on the cake -- toward the final control point at the Dallas Road PetroCan. The hairpin curves down from the plateau to the main valley gave us ample opportunity to fine tune out bike-handling skills. This felt pretty good, and made a grand finale to a great ride in under nine hours. To all the participants and the organizers: thanks for the company.