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That's Ridiculous
by Kevin Bruce

Having thoroughly enjoyed the experience this past July of designing a route and organizing a ride (Rebel Without a Car 200 km - July 4), I'm very keen to take on another one for next year. In doing so, there is one aspect of this past year's ride that I'd like to improve on - the rate of attrition. This year's ride attracted 30 participants, five of which did not finish. I'd like to improve on that and next year aim to create a route that will see at least half the riders bail out before the finish. Eventually, I'd like to create a ride that people won't even bother to start, but one step at a time.

Up until a few years ago, the club offered a ride called 'The Triple Mountain Challenge' which featured climbs up Cypress, Seymour, and finished with a hike up the Grouse Grind. I'd like to maintain that same spirit of a day of intense climbing but extend it to a full-on 200 km brevet. It's unlikely that such a ride would be offered as part of either the spring or summer series since slower riders might not make the later controls on time, but I'd like to see the club offer it as a concession to those of us who like our brevets short and painful. Here's the proposed route:

Britannia Beach (Hwy 99)
Cypress Bowl Ski Area
Mount Seymour Ski Area
Indian Arm

Due to the way that control opening and closing times are calculated, the major climbs have to come after 100 kilometres. This past weekend, I rode the above route with the exception of Mount Seymour and found that I could get out of a control on Cypress with an hour to spare, and could easily have done the same on Seymour if I'd climbed that one as well. There's certainly no time to be wasted at controls on a route like this, and most riders will have to ingest calories on the fly rather than stop for lunch.

The routes I've chosen aside from major climbs are extremely challenging in themselves. Getting from Cypress to Seymour will be across Cleveland Dam and then taking Montroyal Blvd and Braemar Road before descending from Lynn Valley via Mountain Highway. This section is only a few kilometres long but involves a series of constant short rollers some of which are easily 15% grade. Following the climb up Seymour will be a jaunt out to Indian Arm and back. This section is about 6 kilometres long and involves grades as steep as 20%.

If you've not already dismissed me as a nutcase and are still reading this article, you may very well be saying to yourself, "That's ridiculous", which is why I chose that name for this particular route. (Unless, of course, you happen to be Alex Pope in which case you're saying, "I can hardly wait!")

So, what I'd like to know is how many of you might attempt a ride like this? Is there enough interest from members for the club to consider putting it on the schedule?


September 16, 2009