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Another Long Run 1000 Story
Mike's Long Run 1000 km ride story [link] only tells one side of it. I feel the need to tell my side, if only to have a record of it that I can refer back to in case it is ever run again, so that I might re-read it and remove any temptation. Also, Mike's report contains a few inaccuracies. I wanted to do this ride, as there were several sections of it that I had either never ridden, or had only ridden in the other direction. I have Mike's story open beside me as I write this, to avoid too much repetition of the parts he got right.
In the pre-ride planning, I had decided to split a room with Ross Nichol. As I ride a bit faster than Ross, it was agreed that I would get to Keremeos, our first overnight, as quickly as possible, in order to get some food for us before they rolled up the sidewalks for the night. Ross had texted me at the start, so that I would have his number, and I could text him the room number and whether or not I had been able to get food. That meant a faster than normal start, and no allowance for my usual Lower Mainland explorations (getting horribly lost). I decided to try to stay with Mike until Hope. Erik stayed with us for most of that. Here's where stories start to differ. Mike's "easy warm-up pace" is anything but. I did manage to stay with him for a while, but somewhere between Woodside and Agassiz I decided it was not sustainable and sent him on ahead. He was still at the Hope control when I got there but left before I did.
I haven't ridden the Hope- Princeton in years, and never from the west, so didn't really know what to expect. It was hot and humid, I was sweating buckets and really struggled with the first half of the climb. I finally found my climbing rhythm though, and enjoyed the rest of the ride to Princeton. Princeton, I got a staple in my back tire and stopped to fix it just past the golf course. Although I changed it as quickly as possible, by the time I got going I had dozens of mosquito bites. Downhill and tailwind to Keremeos took my mind off it though, and I checked into the motel at around 8:00 pm, and headed up the hill to the Subway. Nearly forgot to get my control card signed, but remembered at the last minute. After returning with sandwiches I tried to text Ross, but his text hadn't come through. Plan B was hanging a little light on the doorknob, so I did that, using a clear turtle light. I didn't want to use a red one and give anyone the wrong idea. I set my alarm for 3:00, ate half my foot long sandwich (saving the other half for breakfast) showered and went to bed. Ross rolled in around 11:00 pm, and I programmed his number into my phone.
I rolled out at 3:22 on deserted roads and had a really nice ride to Osoyoos for a second breakfast at Tim Hortons before starting the Anarchist climb. Today was all about riding a sustainable pace, so when I saw another rider ahead of me I did not try to catch him. The othe rider turned out to be Erik, as I found out when he pulled into the viewpoint. The Anarchist is a long, tedious climb, but I was still feeling pretty good. I controlled in Rock Creek, where I got a couple of samosas and rolled north towards Kelowna, enjoying the perfect road, cool temperatures and what seemed like a slight tailwind. I was starting to fade a bit by Beaverdell, so I stopped for an enormous ice cream cone and a rest. I decided it wasn't far to Kelowna and thought I had plenty of water so did not fill my bottles. Huge mistake. It got hotter, traffic got heavier, and the hills got steeper.
I was boiling, exhausted and had less than a bottle left when I had to stop for road construction, where the flagman offered me a bottle of cold water. "I think I'm OK", I said. He said "Are you sure? You look like you could really use it, and I have plenty." "OK," I said. Wow. Straight out of an icy cooler, it instantly cooled my core temperature and made me feel better. We finally descended into Kelowna, where I promptly missed the turn onto the Mission Creek Greenway. What? I was born very close to here! How did I get lost in Kelowna? Seven very hilly kms later I was back on route. I loved the Greenway (I better- it was my idea to use it) despite getting a wasp down the front of my jersey. It stung me twice before I got it out. I filled all four of my bottles at the Kelowna Control, and by the time I was leaving Westbank I had finished two of them, so had to stop again.
Climbing the Okanagan Connector out to Peachland I really started to fall apart. Even climbing slowly I had to stop every few kms, sit on the guardrail, regroup and talk myself into continuing. My incentive: I had checked online, and found that there was a Domino's Pizza in the Ramada in Merritt where I had booked our second night, which was open until 11:00 pm.
The climb seemed to never end, but finally it did, and I had a nice descent to Merritt, with the moon shining over my left shoulder and a lightning storm to watch over Lower Nicola. I hit the motel at about 10:40 pm. No Dominoe's. It closed years ago.The night manager told me about the full breakfast that was available at 6:00am. Great, but too late for me."No problem," he said. "I'll leave a note and they'll let you in so you can have coffee, baked goods and fruit." Ok, Timmy's chili it is. I was the only person in Timmy's. "You ARE 24 hrs, aren't you?" "No, just the drive through." Not trusting the drive through to serve cyclists, I got a sandwich for Ross, and headed back to the motel. Just for the record, I DON'T text. I am inept, and my flip phone does not help. I sent Ross some very strange gibberish, but did convey the necessary information. About 3:00 am my phone got busy- alarm calls from work due to power outages, and an unsettling message from Ross- " Horrific winds and rain. I only h......." That was all I got. After the finish I figured out how to push a button and get the rest of the message. Frozen, soaked and hypothermic, he had gotten a lift to Vancouver.
After nowhere near enough sleep, I went in search of breakfast. There was a wonderful lady working the very early shift who not only let me into the breakfast area, but made me waffles, sausages, toast, eggs, coffee, etc., etc. etc.. I'm sure she would have kept feeding me until her her shift ended at 7:00, but by 5:00 it was time to go. I had seen Mike pull out about 1/2 hour before. Still no Ross, and I was worried as I had not yet seen the rest of his message. It was a cool morning, and progressively got colder.I forgot to start my GPS, so I'm missing a few kms, and my strava map from the motel to Coldwater Rd. is a straight line. Once on Coldwater, I was treated to sunshine, drizzle and rainbow after rainbow. I don't know what triggered it- maybe extreme fatigue and lack of sleep, but I suddenly started thinking about the guy at the road construction, and the lady at the motel, who had been more help to me than they could possibly imagine, and found myself riding along on this (so far) beautiful morning, with tears pouring down my face. Totally overwhelmed. The climb up the Coq. was ok, but near the summit the skies opened up. The descent was NOT fun, on the brakes because as soon as my speed got higher, my shivering would induce a scary wobble. Finally down to Hope, I was warming up with another breakfast when Mike rolled in.
Here's where his story is wrong again. He told me his legs were done, and we would just cruise into the finish at whatever speed we could manage. Well, it turns out the "Legs are done" Mike is only a burger and a coffee away from being "ripyerlegsoffteamtimetrial Mike". His "slow ride to the finish" is bullshit. Although I managed a few pulls, mostly I was just trying to hold his wheel so I didn't get lost, finding reserves I had no idea existed. I also was under the mistaken impression the once past Hope, the Lower Mainland was flat! Where the hell did he find all those hills? Being from the Interior, I had also forgotten just what an impact traffic lights can have on ones anticipated finish time. Rarely have I been quite so happy so see the end of a ride. It may not be the most difficult ride Mike has done, but I have no doubt it is the most difficult one I've done.
I can't say he didn't warn us.
Go to: Long Run 1000 Event Page (Database - Results etc.))
July 6, 2018