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Salish Sea Sojourn
I'm trying to get a BC 12 award--that's doing a 200km ride (or longer) in each month of the year, so 12 consecutive months. This will be the 3rd year I've attempted this: 2 years ago it snowed on Dec 5th and it was too icy the rest of the month. Last year it was extremely windy (dangerously so) so I abandoned February in Campbell River. Well, with that in mind, I decided to try my December ride while the weather was relatively dry and warm.
I left Nanaimo about 6:30 driving up to Courtenay. It was 3.5 deg. As I neared the Courtenay exit, a thin band of colour from the rising sun seen in my rearview mirror promised a clear day. I had agreed to ride with Rob Nygren who lives about 2 blocks off the route, so I parked, and Rob and I set off. It was 8am and -0.8deg. We soon were heading down the old highway towards Qualicum Beach. The birds were active, the eagle was whistling, and the sun through the trees was orange and just clearing the horizon. That was when my fingers said "I am extremely cold, painfully so". I checked--it was -3.5deg. Well, the road was well salted, and there was little frost, but there were some icy puddles.
It really was a nice ride south. We started to warm up in the sun past Royston and Buckley Bay, but once we entered the trees south of Fanny Bay the temperature dropped back to - 3deg. Crossing Big Qualicum River I saw 0 deg for the first time, but it didn't stay that high for long. A quick turn around at the Shell station, and we headed back to the public washrooms in Qualicum Beach. It was 10:45 and the temperature was above zero--+3.5 deg! As soon as we started riding again, the temperature plummeted, and I realized the high reading was an artefact of leaning the bike against the building. By Buckley Bay we were warming up--consistent +5 deg at nearly noon. I stopped to take off my outer jacket, have something to eat, and forget to drink (who wants ice water when it's that cold?). It actually reached +8 deg on the climb out of Courtenay, but by Black Creek (2:30pm) the sun was dropping behind Mt Washington, and taking the warmth with it.
We arrived at Serious Coffee in Willow Point at 3:30, 100 miles in 7 1/2 hours. But we needed to warm up, so we had a 30min coffee break. As we were leaving, the barista said "a hilly ride back to Courtenay". My response "No, its all flat with some opportunity to warm up." All the coats back on, we were off. The first hill brought us our first Christmas lights (err, seasonal lights), and we saw more of them as the day darkened. It was actually very nice. It was dark by Black Creek (5pm) so off with the blinking, and on with the steady lights. We arrived back at Rob's place at 6pm after a very nice, but cold, day. 9h 57 for 202km (route distance) or 10h 5 for 204km ridden.
No wind. No rain. No mechanicals. Just cold. My finger tips are still sore! Next ride--more clothes.
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December 5, 2018