P#80 to TdWR
(Permanent 80 to the Tour de White Rock)
Ride date: July 14, 2019
by Étienne Hossack
I embarked on a permanent for the first time in a while with two main goals:
- watch the Tour of White Rock
- test some new things on my bike
I applied for permission pre-ride to ride the Ocean Park / Mission route in reverse, and with a plan to miss the third control time (and likely more) as I would be watching the bike race. I figured I could start early, continue on after the 2 hours of the race, and it would all be great!
Part 1. In which Étienne sleeps through his alarm and leaves 2 hours later than intended.
Hit the start point at 9:45 instead of 7:30-7:50 window I’d aimed for. No matter, some fast riding should make up for it right?
I head out and there’s a few things I want to fix with my bike. Handlebar shimmy like I’ve never had before, and my right foot is pulling out of my cleat. But I decide to fix this when I get to the race.
Arrive at race at 10:40. The race started at 10am so I missed the first bit. There’s apparently usually a crazy start to the race, in which most folk who aren’t vigorously training will be ejected off the back. By the time I arrive, the fields are small. But nae bother, plenty of hills to go.
The race takes an pseudo figure eight up a more gradual climb and then a quite steep climb, so I get to ride around finding some good spots. (I say gradual but it’s still a killer).
At the extreme-east-most corner of the race there’s a short easy hill. Chalk all over the sidewalk, and somebody has converted their open space in front of their house into a party spot. People cheering, small inflated pool, kegs, barbecue!
Part 2. In which Étienne is reminded why beer is bad on brevets.
The night before this brevet I was at a wedding. I did sensibly limit myself on the open bar, but once we returned home I had to wrap my handlebars and attach the now-PBP legal aerobar stubbies. So I was a bit dehydrated to start the day. Nae bother, I’ll just drink lots en route?
Now, as I pass “party corner”, somebody shouts, “is this a racer coming for beer?” At this point I’m just spectating, and expecting to be around for a while, so I say to myself, “why not” and come in for the classic, “I’m not racing today, but I’d not say no to a beer!”
But the slightly intoxicated but cheery fellow with a microphone and speaker says, “ok ET, you go to the bottom of this hill, and sprint up it and we’ll cheer as loud as we can! But first, down this beer!” So, never being one to pass up a free drink, I chug whatever sort of plastic cup of beer I’m handed, and charge up the hill to the next section of the course. Amusing, but I wanted to keep the crowd engaged.
After some prime spots with cheering, I discover one of my 3 mighty teammates in the race has pulled out. So I head down to see him and we sit taking for a while. I adjust my headset and hope the shimmy will stop.
Some other racers ride by and say, “there’s some folks giving out free beer! Come”
Normally I’ll greet this friend I’m with a beer at the end of a race, so it seemed only fitting that we would go get some. We navigate the sidewalks and return there to the crowd’s great excitement. “Racers!!!! You want some beer?” And “ET!!! Back for more?” You guessed it, I sprinted up the hill again. We spent the next while there, cheering on more riders, drinking,
So we cheered for a while, before heading to the finish to watch the remnants of an exploded race come across the finish in ones and twos. Of course at this point I was also rather hungry and only beer in my stomach, so I snuck in for some fish and chips at an Oceanside store.
Okay, so now it’s 13:50. Over 4 hours after I started. This should be fun. I guess I hammer to the next control? 500 meters down the road I discover that I turned my handlebars when tightening the headset (which totally didn’t help, so shimmy for the rest of the day), so another stop to fix that before I was finally able to speed ahead.
Part 3. In which Étienne struggles with new things.
So what had changed since my last permanent? (Almost all some since my last brevet a month ago)
- the next control was missing. The sign had been taken down (with good reason, as it was totally confusing)
- new shoes
- new shifters, dérailleurs
- new stubby aerobars
- new front light with charger
- now (old but different) charging cable for the garmin
- new tool keg on the bike
Probably too many new things for one brevet, but I’m all about those shakedown details.
So I’m riding along with some ankle discomfort. But this is okay. I have Advil. A quick pop and I keep going.
It’s a relatively pleasant power ahead through to the next part of the ride (Langley) in terms of weather conditions, but I’m feeling the affects of those beers. So once I finally get into Fort Langley, I’m itching to carry on, but have to swig a coke and some power aid to counteract the alcohol.
I crawl up 240th, slather on some sunscreen and continue the journey, now southward.
I ride along and my front derailleur is definitely rubbing on my chain frequently, but I figure it’s not bad enough to want to stop and adjust so I carry on.
I arrive at where I recall the control sign should be, but it is not there!
I ride up and down the road, to no avail...
I pull out my phone to look this up THIS (photo from 2013 newsletter.)
And compare it to the current, THIS but sure enough, it was gone.
(Suggestions for a new control to follow this email)
So I noted the time, and rolled along looking for what could be a new control in the future.
Then was a nice bit of hammering along 0 ave, but as soon as I turn the corner to exit, my garmin dies.
"No worries", I tell myself, I'll just plug in my charger as expected, and carry on. Only, the garmin does not start up again. "Rats!" I must've put the wrong charging cable in, as I know garmins can be finicky on what cables they need (or so I thought).
I stop and start using my iPhone to record the ride. I figure when I'm forced to stop in Mission I'll look for a gas station that sells charging cables. At this point I realize that I didn't actually print the cuesheet :-B
Thus, my ride would subsequently consist of memorizing the turns on my phone, then riding until I forgot the cues, then stopping to read again. How... exciting.
Well, as a roll through the last area of Abbotsford before the bridge, I see a store that will most definitely have cables, so I stop for a coke, some welcome hydration, and buy an overpriced but probably working gas station cable.
Hmmmmm... nope. It doesn't work either. So my charging light must not be working. Ah well! I'll get it when I get home...
The section after the bridge not reverse so well, as the turn into mission was off the highway in a way that would've required me to cross several exit lanes, so I took the logical route into town instead, and then, after a quick stop in the Tim hortons for a signature, I went directly up the steep hills out of town, amidst some traffic. That probably should be adjusted....
Okay, so everything is going to settle in now right?
Part 4. In which Étienne is able to fix some things.
Climb steadily up Dewdney Trunk towards the stave lake dam. Everything seems to be settling in. This is a nice long section with no lights, so I should make up some good time right? Hmm, something is rattling, it's been all day. That must be my bottle cage? Nope, the chain is rubbing a bit on my tool keg, but I can stop, and after 3 stop-start-stop attempts to fix it, I successfully bend the bottle cage out of the way. Rattling persists. Maybe that's the dynamo wires on the bottom of my frame? No matter, it's just something I can ignore. But darn the rub of my chain on the derailleur cage is getting to me.
Keep climbing, all of a sudden the rattling is louder. Look down... my chainring is wobbling back an forth!!
So I stop to look, and sure enough, my chainring bolts are loose to the point where one is about to fall off. Well..... So of course I have the tool for the bolts right? My multi-tool has all manner of alan key heads, a phillips, a slothead, a T25 torx head. But of course the chainrings take a T30.
Now, every time I stop to adjust something on my bike, somebody inevitably passes by and asks if I need help. The answer is always no.
Of course this would be the one ride, where, just before I stopped a cyclist had passed by and I mostly did a friendly wave. Another cyclist comes by (these are the only two cyclists I've seen since Fort Langley, and would see for the rest of the day) and I yell at him. But I guess he has headphones in and rides off.
Well... what to do? I managed to very delicately tighten the rings to faaaaaar below spec, but so that they weren't rattling using my T25. And I wonder what I can do to finish the ride...
I'm able to ride down the dam, up the other side to around 272nd before I have to stop again and re-tighten the bolts. Now what? It's going to be a problem.
As I roll past Webster's corner, I have a thought, and as I pass 240th, I do my usual, "what do I do when I'm stuck near Maple Ridge?" - call up either my inlaws, or Alex Pope! Figuring that the in-laws would not have a T30, and Alex probably still has a garage full of bikes, there was one clear course of action. And indeed, Alex told me to come on by and see what he had.
I then continued to the Tim's control at 230th, dashed in, bought and spilled a coke bottle all over a table, rapidly filled a bottle with apple juice, and began studying the route to determine where I could turn and do an out-and-back to visit alex and see if he had a T30. Of course, my memory served me wrong, and I did the out, but couldn't quite remember where he lived, so had to call him up to actually find his place.
He does, in fact, still have a garage full of bikes. He did, to his surprise, have a T30. So I was able to tighten my bolts, thank him profusely (and refuse dinner), because the control times were ticking! I had but a couple hours to finish the ride.
Okay. My bike is (mostly) working, the route back is straightforward. Time to hammer?
Yes, this did actually work for once, and I was able to reach the finishing Starbucks control just shy of 12 hours after I started. It was long closed, and there was a man sitting and reading a paper there, but he was extremely annoyed at my asking him for a card signature, and made a fuss before walking away, so I self-signed and felt like it was time to trundle on.
I flip on my dynamo lights, and roll down the hill towards the Central Valley Greenway home.
Dusk made it hard to see, but my lights did seem unnaturally dim. Eventually, I stop under a street lamp and discover that my lights are not plugged in properly at the wheel. So that's why things didn't charge!!!!
The remainder of the ride was, thankfully uneventful. I took a wrong turn around Government St, and ended up accidentally cycling the pedestrian trails by Burnaby Lake, but there was nobody around, so I was able to rail some corners in the dark with lots of excitement.
Round two of the route in reverse will hopefully be... less exciting.
Go to: Permanent Results
Go to: Étienne's Photos (4 Images - google photos)
July 28, 2019