|Newsletter - 2009 Archive|
Elf Stomper to
Well I was up at six and fairly enthusiastic about doing the Elf Stomper to Kilby. My first mistake was looking up at the sky and seeing stars and thinking 'I don't need booties'. I should have remembered what Doug had to say about the Exusars not being waterproof. I had wet roads and drizzle all the way to Mission and my feet were a little damp for the whole ride, they did a good job not withstanding. There's some major road work just west of the hill into Mission and I had my first luck of the day. The flag lady shut down traffic just as I got to the head of the line and then let me through on my own which meant I had no traffic until well after clearing Mission. Anyone heading up this way watch out it's very rough and you are forced into traffic in spots.
After Mission it was just the same old route but at least the sky was brightening, it wasn't raining and there wasn't any wind yet. The bird life started perking up as well, lots of ducks in the slough and in the flooded fields. There was also a surprising amount of snow around, especially where it had been shovelled to one side. The big surprise was as I got to the top of the lake. I was trying to make out what birds were down on the semi frozen lake when I realized they were bald eagles of all shapes, sizes and ages. There were several hundred of them perched, flying around or generally just being eaglish. I watched them for a while and then saw a solitary heron, which made the ride complete in one fell swoop (excuse the pun).
It was on to the historic Kilby site, which was of course closed. Luckily there were some bird watchers up the road so I got my card signed. There was a quarter horse meeting just down the road so I could have gone there if need be. Then it was back to the café just west of the bridge for water, chocolate milk and a sandwich. While I was there I was treated to mass swirls of eagles back over the bridge. I noticed a distinct lack of crows in the area, survival! There was one impertinent Stellar Jay near Kilby, with that squawk it's pretty hard to be inconspicuous. Just as I was leaving I noticed my back tire was softening and it turned out to be a blow through puncture. On with the tire boot I thought but it had more chance of flying to the moon than sticking to my soggy tire. Luckily I had a spare so it went on with rapidly numbing fingers. Putting on a new tire and changing a tube when you can't feel your finger tips was a new experience, the joys of old age!
I clicked in and set off only to discover my one cleat which had been feeling a bit funny had shifted, so I had to stop and adjust that, at which time I discovered where the missing valve cap had gone. It was jammed between the rim and the tire, so deflate, remove and re-inflate. I suppose it was better than a big bang down the road as the tube escaped. At this point the wind was all over the compass, tail, cross and head. This was to be the case all the way back home, which made it interesting.
I was making good time until I got to Mission when the traffic got really ugly. This was pretty much the story until I turned off the Burnett Highway. They were mostly courteous, but the obnoxious few were pretty frightening especially when it's a large truck and trailer doing a stupid speed. I Had a young eagle follow me for about half a kilometre, flapping ahead a few lampposts several times, I tried to not look tired. Just as I was starting to feel it nearly over after crossing the Pitt River Bridge I happened to shoulder check then look forward just in time to see a six inch by six inch groove right across the bike path with no warning sign. I couldn't go left because of traffic so I got out the saddle and swore. By some miracle I didn't pinch flat, but I put a health crease into my front rim. I had to back off the brake and ride the rest of the way on my back brake. This made coming down Union to Boundary interesting. I reported this and got hold of a contact to send my complaint to as well as the bill, maybe they might re-reimburse me for a new front rim and rebuild!
I saw Nigel and Cheryl on their new tandem going up Lakewood and we briefly chatted, but at this point I just wanted an eggnog latte and a shower. Well that was the December permanent - challenging, costly, but totally worth it for all the eagles.
Here's the link to the ride - http://connect.garmin.com/activity/20751161
December 19, 2009
Go to: Permanents results
December 21, 2009