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Dave, Graham, and I left Qualicum Beach under clear skies with a cooling gentle crosswind. The 2 major climbs of the day occur right at the beginning (and symmetrically, right at the end), so we warmed up. Roads were quiet early on, but became a little busier later in the day, particularly between Courtenay and Campbell River.
Leaving Courtenay Graham had his first rear flat—nail through the tread. A short break to fix it drove the following question: how many Randonneurs to fix a flat? Answer: one too many! Well, once we let Graham get on with it, it went quite quickly. From here to Campbell River we had cloud cover, which kept the temperature down, a really pleasant surprise. We stopped at Serious Coffee in Willow Point (just across from the control) for lunch, an nice relaxed affair, but we did have to get home, so on we went. We hadn’t even left the parking lot when Graham announced his second rear flat—not a repeat of the first, but a staple through the sidewall. Being practiced at this, we left Graham to it, and were back on the road in good time. Unfortunately the cloud had cleared, and out of the wind, the temperature was climbing. But there is a lot of shoreline with a cooling breeze, and a fair amount of shade. Another quick stop in Union Bay for ice-cream and cold fluids, and we pushed on to the finish. The last 2 kilometres were somewhat of a sprint as we tried to break 11 hours. Very close—we missed by a few seconds.
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July 28, 2017