Kamloops 6-Pack Reports
6 x 200 km in BC's Southern Interior
September 16-21, 2013
by Cheryl Lynch & Bob Goodison
Day 1 - A River Runs Through it (204.8 km)
by Cheryl Lynch
Elevation Gain: 753 m m
Cheryl's day 1 garmin connect route details following the ride--> Go
Day One was the super scenic "A River Runs Through It" route, ridden by 9 intrepid Randonneurs, intrepid because it was a Monday (when most people are normally working) and because the weather had gone from 34 degrees last week to rain and 19 degrees on Monday. Weatherwise, everyone hoped for the best, and some fared better than others, in terms of avoiding the "showers." The thunderstorms started after all had finished, but some finishers were soaked in the last leg back from Chase (although with mostly tailwinds). The route is classified as flat with less than 1000m of elevation gain, which was perfect for day one. There are in fact two rivers running through the route, the North Thompson and the South Thompson Rivers, and both were at low levels (with huge sandbars in them), despite the 10-15 mm of rain on Monday. Noah, the captain of the MacLure ferry had noted that the level of the North Thompson had dropped after the rain started. Yes, the organizer rode this ride, a common occurrence in BC Interior randonneur events. As well as two rivers, there are 11 (?) cattleguards, another fact of life in BC, but not to everyone's taste.
Day 2 - Logan Lake / Merritt (202.3)
by Cheryl Lynch
Elevation Gain: 1,779 m
Cheryl's day 2 garmin connect route details following the ride--> Go
Day Two weather was significantly better than Day One, with dry roads for most of the day and sunshine for parts of it (but still with a few showers). The route for Day Two was the traditional Logan Lake-Merritt route, which starts the day with a significant climb, and ends it with a significant climb, but between are some... significant climbs (it actually isn't all downhill from Logan Lake to highway #8). However there are also lots of nice flat sections around the Nicola Lake, which were complemented by a lovely tailwind until Stump Lake where the showers started along with a strong headwind. Seven of the nine intrepid Day One riders returned for Day Two. Bob Goodison showed us that he's not just another pretty face, by leaving everyone in his dust, in order to get back to work. Of note on Day Two, was the poor road surface for much of #5a, with a few short sections of comfy fast new pavement. Also, the tandem crew spotted a brown bear, a coyote, a couple of osprey (several nests), magpies, lots of ravens, a couple of eagles, various farm dogs, many horses, cows and a few sheep (my theory on why horses and cows stare at us as we pass: is that they are accustomed to being herded by humans on horses and a bike is not a horse, but you never know). Nigel entertains stokers by doing impersonations for passing animals, so as we charged down a hill towards a cattleguard, and a small herd of 6 or 7 cows stared at us, he said "Oh no they're headed right for the cattleguard, I can't watch..." Also noteworthy was the very minimal traffic all day, less than 100 vehicles, although most of them on #5a were semi's, all but one swinging wide going around us.
Day 3 - North Shuswap (202.2)
by Bob Goodison
Elevation Gain: 1,104 m
Cheryl's day 3 garmin connect route details following the ride--> Go
Day three was a new route (although I generally do this ride at least once in the spring and fall), featuring a straight 50 km on Hwy 1 to Squilax, then crossing over to the North Shuswap for an out and back along the shoreline to St. Ives, with a short detour to the Quaaout Lodge on the return. After the wet of the first two days, the sunshine was a welcome change. The roads on the north side take so many twists and turns that the light winds switched between helping to hindering every few minutes. Similarly, road surfaces varied from rough chipseal to smooth and fast and back again. There are lots of food options on this side of the lake. and the new store 12 km from the turnaround did booming business. I had a slice of something called breakfast pizza (I thought all pizza was breakfast pizza) that was just what I needed. It was just the sort of day that felt more like a group ride than a brevet, and the finish times reflect that. The fast guys- Eric, Graham and Nigel, had already eaten at Denny's when the lanterns rouge-me, Randy, Cheryl and Gary, came in but they joined us at the Tumbleweeds pub for recovery beverages while the rest of us feasted.
Day 4 - Salmon Arm / Falkland (208.0)
by Bob Goodison
Elevation Gain: 1,290 m
Cheryl's day 4 garmin connect route details following the ride--> Go
More sunshine!This route doesn't quite go to Salmon Arm anymore. I always used to show about 212 km on the old version, so I used some back roads to reduce both the highway and overall distance. Nigel rode off into the distance at a speed only he and very few others are capable of. I was in a bit of a hurry too, as I had planned a stop at work to take care of a few things (coincidentally the first control). I hit the bottom of Jade Mountain at Chase with a 30.9 kmh average. Nigel was long gone. How fast was he going? Descending the other side, I hit one of the rough bridge joints at speed and heard a distinctive hissing sound. Pinch flat? No, then what? It seems that a bagel in a zip lock bag sliding down the road at 40 kmh sounds just like air escaping from a tire. For the second time this year I had lost my lunch on a ride. This time I went back and got it. Thankfully the gravel portion of Tappen-Notch Hill Rd. was in good shape, and the only riders who commented on it enjoyed it. After I finished what I had to at work, I looked out and saw Eric answering the control question. I still had to change out of my coveralls so I decided not to chase him. Cheryl and Roland were there when I was ready to leave, so I decided to ride with them to the next control, where I would sit and have a coffee and a snack while waiting for Randy, Gary and Barry. Periodically, Roland would stop and run off into the brush at the roadside. At first I thought nature was calling, and it was, in a way. He returned with handfuls of apples which he shared withe Cheryl and me. We relaxed in the sunshine at the Silver Creek store for a while and soon Randy rolled in. Barry had flatted near Monte Creek , managing to but both legs of a staple through the sidewall of his tire. Cheryl left first, then Roland and Randy and I. We caught Roland and rode with him for a while, until he decided to ease off the pace. Once we turned onto Hwy 97, we caught a nice tailwind that pushed us all the way back to Kamloops. Roland reportedly stopped for a swim in Monte Lake. This route is a little deceptive. Because it has no really major climbs, you don't realize how much elevation has been gained until after Monte Lake when you really begin to descend. Nigel finished in the amazing time of 6:10 and didn't seem tired. This is the 3rd? fastest 200 km time for a BC Randonneur.
Day 5 - Little Fort (204.8)
by Cheryl Lynch
Elevation Gain: 1,120 m
Cheryl's day 5 garmin connect route details following the ride--> Go
Back to Cheryl organizing, which meant Eric and Nigel had to get up a bit earlier to be at the start with the paperwork, but Bob and Randy still beat us there, keeners! The route has spectacular scenery, that same river that runs through it, plus interesting farms and big open pastures most of the way. Traffic was not bad, lots of trucks but most took us wide, one of them probably terrifying an oncoming RV, but all in all very courteous considering there were a few corners with not a lot of shoulder. Weather was perfect, not much wind except for the usual headwind coming in from the train station, nice, warm and sunny.
Yesterday was tough for me, my body was feeling a bit beat up, and I didn't think riding today was going to be a good idea, but I decided to visit the ice machine and devised a method for sitting on ice on a towel on the toilet seat, so I could strategically apply ice to the tender parts, (and not actually immerse myself in an ice bath). I think it worked wonders. We are also enjoying daily hot tubs here at the motel, which is a nice way to relax after the day.
Nigel blazed off into the distance again today, and when passing us on his return leg, yelled that there was no pub in Little Fort (question for the information control). Apparently he rode an extra 2+ km looking for it. Nigel asked a local about it, and she supplied former Pub's the name (which was the control question). The rest of us found the pub no problem - boarded up and for sale, right at junction 24.
Of note were the grasshoppers on the shoulder leaping in all directions as we rode through them. Will try to get a photo tomorrow. Also one of the sages is in bloom (there are still quite a few plants in bloom alongside the roads), which has a nice aroma, added to that of the ponderosa pines.
Thanks to Susan Goodison for welcoming riders at the finish each day!
Day 6 - Cache Creek (202.8)
by Cheryl Lynch
Elevation Gain: 2,059 m
Cheryl's day 6 garmin connect route details following the ride--> Go
The weather forecast for Day Six was poor all week, with a POP of 80%, but by the morning it was 80% with less than 2 mm expected. Of course raindrops on the windshield driving to the start didn't help... Gary and Barry were undecided after thoroughly enjoying the Little Fort ride the previous day, and only decided in the morning not to ride and head back to town for other more important commitments. Making up for their absence were Shawn and Chris Wenger, so 7 intrepid riders set off for Cache Creek via the bike route through town, with 400 m of elevation gain from downtown to the Copperhead exit onto #1. Which is where Randy lost his back derailleur and after 90 minutes of trying to extract the cable end (including a shopping trip to CT), decided to carry on with three gears using only the front derailleur... on a route with 2060 metres of elevation gain, and some wind (not as much as some days, but enough to see speed vary from 22 kph going out to 44 kph on the return trip).
Anyhow, the weather turned out just fine, a bit of cloud in the morning, with one shower heading out of Kamloops, then clearing in the afternoon and warming up. Winds were from all directions at various times, but mostly not devastating like they can be. Traffic was light, allowing riders to use the smoother pavement in the traffic lane when they were clear of vehicles. Nigel and I rode the tandem which meant tootling up the (long) climbs and catapulting down the (long) descents. Although the last long descent on the Kamloops bike route was ridden with some discretion, since there was a lot of shopping traffic, one of whom cut Shawn off and came within inches of taking her out, which resulted in Shawn vowing to never ride on that bike route again.
Of note was the osprey taking off from a pole just a few metres away at eye level, magpies in the morning who must be habitualized to humans, and again the pungent smelling sagebrush in flower along the side of the highway.
Cumulative Times for the Five Series Finishers
Nigel Press 45:03
Eric Fergusson 50:16
Cheryl Lynch 50:33
Bob Goodison 53:46
Randy Benz 54:56
Honourable Mentions to:
Gary Baker 1000 km
Chris Wenger 600 km
Barry Chase 400 km
Series overview and impressions:
from Bob Goodison
When Cheryl came up with this idea I thought she was nuts. Even after I began to like the idea eagerly anticipating the rides, I thought it should probably be a one-time thing. I'm very happy to admit I was wrong. The only thing that could have made it better would have been more riders. We finished up the series with no Dnf's, and everyone seemed to have had a really good time. As an organizer you can't ask for more than that. While this won't be an annual event I think it's safe to say it will happen again. What made it great was the participants and the relaxed atmosphere. Thanks, Cheryl.
Recommendations for riders for future editions:
Prepare your bike as you would for a 1200, not as you would for a 200- check everything, and if you have a second bike bring it along. If you have a second pair of shoes, it helps so you can rotate them and they can have a day to dry. Shorts that are just good enough for a 200 km ride are not good enough for your sixth 200 km ride. Wear good ones, just like you would for a 1200. Unlike a 1200 though, you will get plenty of sleep, and you can pick and choose the portions you want to ride.
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September 16-21, 2013