Newsletter - 2001 Archive

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Tour of Victoria 200 km Brevet--August 4, 2001

Mike Poplawski


Barry Allan --- Vancouver ----- 11:42
Michael Ball -- Victoria ------ DNF
Carol Hinde --- Ladysmith ----- 11:42
Stephen Hinde - Ladysmith ----- 11:42
Phil Jones ---- Bellingham, WA 10:30
Steve Lonergan Victoria ------ 10:30

About the Tour of Victoria route:
I devised this route based on the traditional "waterfront" cycling route used for the 100 km Victoria Populaire, but ran it clockwise for the first half of the ride. The second half of the ride starts with some urban riding in Esquimalt, along the Gorge and through Victoria West before a 2.5 km stretch of the Galloping Goose. (The ride uses the Galloping Goose and Lochside Trail system one other time by following Lochside Road for 2.3 km.) The route winds its last 80 km through Saanich, Colwood and Metchosin farm country (including a side tour of Ocean Boulevard) before hitting Sooke, Humpback, Glen Lake and Helmcken. The route is definitely not for a rider trying to set a personal best for a 200 km brevet, but it does fit its title quite well--a great little Tour.

Local fact: Roy Road between Carey and Wilkinson Roads features some cobbles, a little touch of France which 1991 PBP finisher Stephen Hinde appreciated.

Local fact: The Galloping Goose trail is a busy cycling commuter and recreational corridor reclaimed from an abandoned railroad bed in the 1990s; the section used in this brevet features two bridges--one of wood over the now-swimmable Gorge at Selkirk Waters, and the other of concrete over the Trans-Canada Highway.

About the August 4th ride:
The 200 km Tour of Victoria started under gray skies and on wet roads. The day had promised some sunshine, but the six riders on this new route would have to wait as they set out into a downpour along the west coast of the Saanich Peninsula.

By the time the riders arrived at the first control in Sidney, they had put themselves in the order that they would ride the rest of the now dry day. Mike Ball arrived first, with Steve Lonergan and Phil Jones coming in about 10 minutes later. Phil was over from Bellingham, and appreciated riding with a local on this "Tour" and its well over 100 cues. Steve also promised to take some of the nastiness out of the route...hmmm, I knew I had to keep my eyes on these two! Barry Allan followed soon thereafter and joined in the little feast we ran off our tailgate before heading off on his own. Stephen Hinde flatted early in the wet, but he arrived with his wife Carol in good spirits about 30 minutes later.

The next control at Cadboro Bay allowed for some exploration of the area. I've ridden past many times, but never had a chance to really see what was there. My intrepid assistant Bev Shaw (who has now spent more time volunteering on Randonneur events than actually riding, bless her heart) and I watched as Steve and Phil were the first to come in, with no sign of Mike Ball, who had a flat tire on the way. The tragic call came in a few moments later from Mike that he had to abandon due to two flats and a cut sidewall that really wouldn't take to booting. Poor guy--a 2001 Super Randonneur but also finding his way into a second DNF of the season. Fortunately, he was able to find a lift home. Barry was still soloing and stopped to chat briefly. Stephen and Carol kept their pace up and enjoyed some more food which we had on hand before proceeding through the tweed curtain (or are they the stone gates?) of the Uplands.

The next control at Colquitz (Wilkinson Plaza) gave Bev and I the chance to look at her new copy of Lonely Planet's Cycling France, a very comprehensive guide to you-know-what, and it covered a lot of the randonneur action, organized and not. Pretty inspiring stuff!

Steve and Phil were the first to roll in, and finished their Subway sandwiches just before Barry, Carol and Stephen did the same. Carol had flatted on Wharf Street, which gave the Hindes a chance to mix in with many other tourists to Victoria on the day. The energy boost would be needed for many short climbs the rest of the day, starting less than 1 km from this control. I knew I had a good chance to take a photo or two just before the riders got to Hastings Road.

Local fact: Colquitz is a native word for "say goodbye to your camera equipment". At the 2000 Victoria Populaire, Shaw TV's Cam McLean left his video tripod by the side of the road on Interurban Road; I left my camera bag, including a lens, by the side of North Road this year.

After taking a few more photos on Charlton (Stephen doubled back to thank me for finding a Victoria road he hadn't ridden before), it was off to the Western Communities to find out how Steve and Phil were doing. They were right on schedule as we found them climbing (another photo op) into Sooke after riding through Metchosin and over the Lindholm/Kangaroo grind. After stopping in for a quick refresher in Sooke, with Phil asking how his Mariners had done earlier in the day, and Steve boasting of how they could shave an hour off the last 50 km (hmmm....), they headed for home. Little did they know they would receive some of the most intense secret control scrutiny of their lives!

We spotted Barry, Carol and Stephen riding together (as they would the rest of the day) 15 minutes out of Sooke, just like clockwork before Bev and I laid low in the weeds on Humpback. However, we couldn't catch Phil and Steve missing the turn. "Did you think we'd really skip this beautiful road?", Steve shouted as they rode by, about to enter what really is a very scenic bit of coastal rain forest.

Bev and I were famished to the point of needing some Dairy Queen, so we set up another secret control at the DQ at Ledsham and Highway 14, you know, just in case Steve diabolically took Phil away from the chance to ride up Wishart Road. We had just finished our treats when Steve and Phil rode by, wearing what could actually be described as smiles of honesty!

The last challenge of the route was a combination of climbs up Helmcken Road, and once again Phil and Steve passed our secret control in good spirits, knowing their day would be done soon.

The waiting game began at Tim Horton's, with Steve and Phil finishing at around 6:45 PM, in a time of 10:30. Barry, Carol and Stephen arrived just before 8:00 PM, in 11:42. Everyone was more than pleased at receiving their pins and for the great service during the day. You were all very welcome, and good luck on your future rides!

Stephen and Carol invited Bev and I for a generous post-ride meal at Moxie's, riders and organizers showing just what kinds of appetites they can build up during a long day.

Thanks to Stephen Hinde for some pre-ride technical advice on brevet organization and Bev Shaw for driving the randomobile and the company during a long but enjoyable day. See you all, and some more new faces in 2002!