|Newsletter - 2001 Archive|
We used the nested routes from 2 years ago so that all riders started off riding the same route to Sedro Woolley. Then the 200 km riders turn back. Another 50 km to Rockport and the 300 km riders retrace. The 400 and 600 km riders do a loop through Darrington, Arlington, Mount Vernon and Bellingham and after that the former head for home and the latter turn east at Huntingdon to get in their extra 200 km before completion.
It had been found that heading up to Yale, as in the past, was not a good idea as there was nothing open for a control in the middle of the night. On top of that, the Seabird Island Café is no longer a 24 hour facility. So Hwy 7/Hwy 1 is no good. Therefore, once across the border at Huntingdon the 600 route follows well known roads through Yarrow and Sardis to join Hwy 1 at Annis Rd. After turning at Hope and retracing to Exit 138 (remember, Roger?) they get controls in Chilliwack and East Mission before heading back to Maple Ridge and a finish.
It is difficult to assess numbers and I prepared 30 route sheets and 30 control cards for each of the 4 distances. As it turned out we had a total of 22 riders, including 2 new members. There were 6 200 riders on 5 bicycles; 3 300 riders on 2 bicycles, One brave young Lady, Ali Holt, was tackling her first 400 by herself (although her 600 riding husband slowed down enough to spend part of the night with her). The remaining 6 were riding the 600 of which 5 were successful.
Barb Henniger drove from Calgary to Port Coquitlam on Friday and rode the 600 on Saturday/Sunday! Then, after leaving PoCo at about 11:00 Monday she got a speeding ticket near Chase and a warning to stop and have some sleep. Not surprisingly, she quit at Revelstoke and got to work late Tuesday.
It is quite lonely up the front for Henry Berkenbos. At least Eric Fergusson has Henry as a carrot. Those 2 were way ahead of everyone else and I wanted to make sure I got to the motel control in Bellingham before them. I also wanted to check the route out again. The previous week when I inquired about a room I was told that Bellingham was booked solid due to the football tournament. But our salvation came in the form of defeated teams canceling their reservations.
It was a long night in which I managed about 2 hours sleep. I made the mistake of assuming Jim Kirby has desisted as we never saw him at the control. As the Bellingham Inn was a last minute arrangement we relied on word of mouth to tell people at the start and I think he got missed. He got his control at the Horseshoe Café, within sight of the Room at the Inn.
Departing at 5:15, just after control closed I ran into patches of fog that at times was quite thick. Once across the border the fog was downright nasty and I gave up chasing Roger Holt eastward and returned to check on his wife. Just as well I did. It seems that Roger was trying to sleep in the foyer of the Customs building, while waiting for other 600 riders. The Holts had left B'ham about 03:30 so that Ali had company through the rest of the night, as far as the border anyway.
My aim was to find Ali and stay close. It seems that while I was following a van through patches of fog west of Mission Ali had stopped to don her jacket. I just didn't see her, not until she called to pick up their drop bag from the truck.
Eric Fergusson doesn't mess with the mundane. When I arrived at Nugent's Corner (63km) Craig Premack was truing Eric's rear wheel. No broken spokes for Eric, broken hub flange that cost 2 spokes. The flange looked like a hungry Eric had taken a bite out of it. Eric was chasing Henry toward the end, but in vain. Henry had slumped and actually finished after Eric.
"Fool's Luck" or "Fortune Favours the Brave'? Whichever, the weather clerk stayed on our side, except for the fog. Unfortunately for Keith Fletcher, he was unable to complete the 600. Perhaps 400, 400, and 600 on consecutive weekends ain't good. Especially when the first 400 was that Manning Park Murderer run off in 35 C conditions.