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Cowichan Populaire 2018
Well that was a little different. Of course the 2018 Cowichan Populaire was supposed to be different, because we changed the start/finish location to the Cobblestone pub in beautiful downtown Cobble Hill, and the management there had been very keen and helpful in our plans to use facilities and provide a great venue for the ride and post-ride socializing. That meant new routes too, a little different from previous ones, so we were looking forward to this year’s event with heightened interest.
Imagine the shock then, when on Friday we learned that the pub had experienced a significant fire the night before and would not be available. Bad for us, and of course far worse for the pub, but amid the Friday chaos they found time to let us know, and we were very fortunate in being able to get the use of the grounds at the Shawnigan Cobble Hill Farmers Institute, just across the street. So we were able to run the event more or less as scheduled, with virtually no changes needed to route instructions or controls.
After the initial adjustments, a total of 79 riders set out on their choice of the 50-, 100-, or 161-km routes, not including five volunteers who verified the routes the previous weekend. The day started cool and slightly cloudy, but cleared off to sun and clouds later on, so ideal for cycling and judging by the reactions at the finish, everyone enjoyed themselves. A few people noted that this was their first experience at 100 kms, which is particularly satisfying as one of the objects in staging populaires is to give people an opportunity to extend their limits and perhaps discover that they are in fact not as limiting as they seem at first. Well done, you guys – keep stepping up and join us on a certified brevet down the road!
We were again enthusiastically supported by the local bike shops, which enabled us to provide draw prizes to a few lucky riders:
Janet Germann (50 km route) Bontrager helmet, courtesy of Cycle Therapy
As always, the event simply could not have taken place without the efforts of the BC Randonneurs’ cadre of dedicated volunteers. The organizer had some anxiety on that front after the initial call, but the stalwarts stepped up and made it happen, so a very grateful shout-out to:
Dug Andrusiek, Buddy Bhandar, Ken Bonner, Melissa Haynes, Paul Hovey, Triston Line, Rob Nygren, Mark Payten, Ross Pratt, Rob Scrimgeour, Dave Suttill
Having a group of people like this, who care enough about our sport to show up and do the work, is critical to our success and enjoyment. The unusual circumstances of the Cowichan Pop this year really emphasize how important it is to get involved with the support aspect, because dealing with the last-minute changes in location and process would have been next to impossible without a group of volunteers who have done the rodeo before and know how to make things work. If you haven’t yet taken the plunge on this front, do give it a shot. It’s actually fun, the company can’t be beat, and without it, we don’t go riding.
So thank you everyone, participants and volunteers, for making this another enjoyable populaire. If you had fun, give some thought to other events like the Canada Day Populaire on July 1 on the mainland, or one of the official brevets on the Island. Note that the Canada Day Populaire now has a 100 km route option, as well as the traditional 1 km per year of Canada’s age, which of course is now sitting at 151.
Go to: Results
Go to: Rob Scrimgeour's Photos (88 Images, flickr)
June 5, 2018