|Newsletter - 2004 Archive|
UP COUNTRY JAUNTS AND JOLTS
by Harold Bridge
Monday morning (Apr 26); as I picked up the Tony Hoar Custom to move it I thought the front wheel seemed very loose. I checked & to my horror found the head bearings were almost completely unscrewed. Apart from lifting the bike into the truck Saturday evening & out of the truck Sunday afternoon I hadn't touched it since finishing Bob Bonstra's Kamloops 200 at 17:40 on Saturday. Or to put into ISO parlance: at 2004:04:24:17:40.
Anyway, referring back to that event I shudder to think of the possible consequences of riding some of those badly maintained roads with the forks banging around & putting shock loads on the steering column. But my luck held out & the head bearings are now very tightly screwed together.
With the comfort bike awaiting a wheel re-build (36 hole rims hard to get?) I have been enjoying the "fast" bike these days. However, on bad roads it does give me a bit of pounding & the possibility of impact punctures encourages me to keep my tyres at 100 psi.
About 10 rders got away from the Dallas Petro Can (the one about 7 kms east of Kamloops) right on the 07:00 start time & straight away I watched the others dwindle in size as they roared off toward the first control at Sorrento. A brief pause to stop my computer sensor banging on the magnet ensured I wouldn't be tempted to latch on & from then on it was a solo ride. A little way down the road I suddenly remembered Jack Sharkey had also arrived in Kamloops with the plan to ride the event. But we never saw him?
Discomfort was relieved at 27kms when the Pritchard Esso came into view & further relieved at the Chase Petro 'Can". A grovel up that nasty looking drag at Chase had me wondering if I really wanted to be doing this. But I kept going & decided that once at Salmon Arm I would finish the ride as the long way back was much more attractive than going back along #1.
Sorrento control was reached at 10:10,
25 minutes earlier that last year when the east wind made that
a pig of a ride. There was no constant tail wind, but generally
it was helpful. Somewhere along there I narrowly missed getting
hit by a mini rock slide, probably set off by a scrambling big
horn. I was anxious to stay above a 20kph average & happily
arrived at Salmon Arm Shell at 11:50, (20 minutes up on 2003)
just on the positive side of 20. I gave myself 10 minutes for
a coffee before setting out for that delightful ride down the
Salmon River Valley & set about adjusting that 19.6 average.
At about 128kms the store at the Salmon River Valley Junction came into view & the effort of getting back up to 20.2 was telling & was emphasized by my distaste for pocket food. Another stop for coffee at cookies helped a lot but the 15 minutes ate into my average so that 19.0 was now the aim. I should have left my bike in view. I found out later that Boonstra, driving the route in reverse had gone north while I was in there & got worried when he got to Salmon Arm & hadn't found me.
There were but 2 more kms before turning onto Route 97, the Vernon - Monte Creek highway. That road is in a dreadful state & the 16 kms to the 147km control at Falkland that passes over a deceptive height of land are tedious. Arrival at the Ranch Café happened at about 14:15. (15:35 last year). While sitting awaiting service Boonstra walked in. Not only did he sign my card but he bought my apple pie, ice cream & coffee! Thanks Bob!
By this time thoughts of 10 hours had been done away with & I just got on with cutting into the remaining 63 kms. North of Falkland the highway has been improved in one sense but destroyed in another - Rumble Strips! What goon decided to put them outside the white line when they would be more effective on the inside? But at least, if they have to be in the cyclist's way then get the rest of shoulder cleared of debris & a winter's worth of sand & gravel removed.
Finally the sign pointing left for Barnhartvale Road appeared & a break in the traffic enabled me to get across there with ease. From what I remembered the road is very quiet, but badly in need of more that just patching. Three cattle guards make for some tense moments. But overall it is a romp all the way back to Dallas. However, there is a steep twisting descent into Barnhartvale Village with a corresponding grovel out the other side. But it's all over bar the shouting at that point & the descending was, I think, a bit too fast for Bob Boonstra's digital camera. I got the impression that Bob wanted to make one of those movies where you hold a stack of sequential pictures & flick through them so it looks like a movie. The final plunge got 65kph & I stopped by my truck right on the 17:40 for a time of 10:40, a 55minute improvement over 2003. There is an inexcusable differential between my event time & riding time - 1hr: 07 minutes!
My thanks to Bob for the event & to the Blairs for their hospitality.
To ensure the whole w/e was as enjoyable as possible I avoided as much of the Coq as possible while researching the route we will be using on the Trans Canada tour. Driving Coldwater Road from Larson Hill (Exit 256) into Merritt & Route 5A through Qulchena enroute to Kamloops may be marginally slower but more interesting, you don't doze off with boredom. That route was reversed on Sunday.