|Newsletter - 2005 Archive|
'Hard' 200 km Brevet in the Interior
The record shows 2005 as the 6th year running of this Interior 200 km Brevet. The route, originally designed, baptized and modified by John Bates and Danelle Laidlaw started at 100 Mile House. This was at one time a roadhouse or stopping place on the Old Cariboo Wagon Trail, which ran from Yale to Barkerville during the Cariboo Gold Rush. Always wondered how this Brevet got its name. Danelle explained that 'Harrison Ford 200' originated from a morning scene of loose horses in the parking lot at the start of the brevet at Mile 108 many years ago. Later on that day they encountered livestock on the road, which tested the bike handling skills of the urban riders on the range. This prompted name.
Keith, Jack, Jeff, Wim, John & Danelle
(Click to enlarge)
Six riders (Danelle, John, Jack, Keith, Jeff and I) signed on at the 7:00 am start for the 'hard' route. Since it had rained the day before and the forecast called for 2- 4 mm of rain in the morning, no-one signed up for the 'soft' route (the one with 40 km of gravel). With a bit of rain, then clearing and a 10 kph NorthWester for the afternoon, we cycled east to the Interlakes site, Bridge Lake and Lac des Roches, our first control and also turnaround. As the names of these places and others later on suggest, this is lake country. The route would play more or less peekaboo with the many lakes; then we saw them, then we didn't, which not only creates the attraction, but also an element of surprise on this ride. The pavement was good, the road gently rolling and winding. Traffic was light and very few dogs were out, but none of the chasing kind. The one with those tendencies was 'thrown' a few conflicting messages - translation: I made a lot of noise, while Keith or Jeff told the critter to get of the couch. That confused and slowed him substantially.
As we continued the clouds thickened and after Interlakes, they wrung themselves out, which meant rain. Not too much, except that it was the cold stuff. We were told that someone would be around at Control #1: Lac des Roches (Km 60) to sign our cards. Upon arrival however the site was deserted, however a cleaning bucket near an open cabin door was enough evidence to call inside for someone to sign. It then became clear that this someone was a guest. Ah well. The next leg went from Lac des Roches along Highway 24 to Control # 2: Lone Butte (Km 104). Saw a neat geological formation, evidence of the time that BC gained a few chunks of crustal material. On that stretch we also met quite a few cyclists (many on recumbents) going east to Little Fort on what looked like a supported bike tour. Looking west the skies kept teasing us with a bit of blue in the distance, but that's all they did: tease us.
We stopped briefly at the General Store in Lone Butte (half way mark), got our cards signed and supplies restocked. While the rain had tapered off, Lone Butte became a memorable landmark for two of us, for it was here that 'Julie saved Keith', potentially the location and title for a Western movie yet to be scripted and filmed. Nearly chilled to the bone, Keith got some dry, warm clothing, and then happily continued. It actually gave him wings, because he arrived well ahead of us at Control # 3: Green Lake (Km 147). If that stuff isn't material for a blockbuster movie! Since the resort at Green Lake had already removed its sign, we deemed a telephone booth along the road the makeshift control. Julie kindly signed our cards. The route from Lone Butte to Green Lake was very scenic, rolling and winding with many a good view of the lake. The wind appeared to help a bit. Livestock was grazing on the range; luckily, a huge but docile bull in the berm showed no sign of wanting to chase us. Good choice. We would have been too fast.
From Green Lake its was a mere stone throw to 70 Mile House, except that the NW winds were in our face. After the control 4: 70 Mile House General Store (Km 161) we had 42 km to go North. The fun would start, because the forecast 10 kph NW wind turned into a 26 kph one with gusts up to 39 kph. Talk about blowing your forecast. Add the tough uphill to Begbie Summit (1237 m), and you'll appreciate the challenge. To reduce the wind resistance, Jeff, Keith and I rode single file. From the summit onward the road leveled off, except for the last six km to the finish. That downhill section provided for a space shuttle descent into the finish at 100 Mile House (Km 202). What a great way to end this brevet.
This brevet is a really neat one at the end the season. The route is easy in terms of riding and navigation. Mentally and physically it can be divided in many small bites. The profile consists of slightly rolling hills, none of which are very onerous, except maybe Begbie Summit. At the end of the season we all should be in good enough shape to make this one of the more leisurely brevets. The scenery is rather appealing: forested areas, open spaces, grass- and parklands, and above all lakes. The only thing missing, I'd say were the vivid fall colours of the aspen. They were in progress, but we were just a bit too early, I guess. One of the fun challenges is cycling across the many cattle-guards after Lone Butte. Jeff and I made a bit of game of it by trying to ride on the narrow flat strips, thereby avoiding the washboard effect. The batting average was not quite 1.00. Finally, my appreciation to John and Danelle for designing and organizing this brevet. Thanks to everyone for making this a memorable experience.
September 14, 2005