Newsletter - 2004 Archive

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Halfmoan 100
by Melissa Friesen & Scott Gater

We beat Michel by 8 minutes on a hilly course! Okay, so we did the 100 km where Michel completed the 100 MILE (160km) course. And of course, Michel had no idea that one of our goals for the ride was to come in before the fastest 100 mile rider - he told us he wouldn't have stayed as long at the "On the Edge" bike shop if he knew he was "racing".

So who are we? We are Scott Gater and Melissa Friesen. This is our "second" year with the club, but we've had much greater involvement this year and are gradually getting to know other club members. With the 100km Halfmoaner behind us, Scott has earned the Randonneur 1000 pin and I have earned the 500 pin. These were our original season goals, but now we are both hoping to surpass these already incredible (in my opinion) milestones to achieve further milestones this year. A big THANKS to the club and the populaire and shorter ride organizers for reinstating these shorter rides and the 500/1000 km pins. We're certainly using the shorter rides as a building block to the longer events.

The Halfmoan had a respectable 9 am start time, but a morning ferry ride made for an early wake up call. Liking to sleep in just a little, I convinced Scott to book us a hotel 0.5 km from the start. We're glad we did, because if we had woken up to the pouring rain in Vancouver we would never have made it to the ferry. Luckily, our ride ended up being completely dry, with the weather ranging from overcast to blue sunny skies. Several other riders on the course were less fortunate, as the rain started about 20 minutes after we finished and 13 of 17 riders were still out on the two routes.

Unfortunately, the threat of rain kept many people in their beds, as only 17 riders started the routes: 9 on the 100km and 8 on the 100mile. At the start, I (Melissa) proudly showed off my new bike to anyone willing to ooh and aah - a custom Mariposa with 26" wheels, with custom rear rack and fenders, and a LightSpin sidewall generator. Having only had the bike 2 weeks, this was my Mariposa's inaugural randonneur event.

We were so busy chatting, the start came as a surprise and off we went. Michel and Larry quickly became specks in the distance as the rest of us slowly warmed up our legs for what was to be a challenging, hilly course. Fifteen minutes into the ride, I got a pinch flat from some large gravel/rocks in the shoulder that I wasn't able to ride around. This flat was the time difference between our finish and our wishful goal of a 6 hour ride.

Most of the route took us off the Sunshine Coast Highway to little traveled, scenic, and windy roads - and did we mention HILLY. On the out portion of the ride, I had convinced myself that the wind was a "crosswind" that had little impact, which in fact was a tailwind which was speeding us along. I said this out loud, but Scott did not argue with me on this as he didn't want me to think about what was to be a moderate headwind all the way back. The two controls on the 100km route - On the Edge bike shop at ~25 km and a volunteer at the 53 km turnaround point were incredibly supplied with food and drink. What service! The ride out went well, except for Flume Rd hill up to the highway where I used an excuse of having to take my leg warmers off as a reason to take a break.

The headwind, however, taunted us the whole way back and made us work on the long gradual descents. Most of the route back was on the Sunshine Coast Highway, where the hills were more gradual, but longer. Trout Lake hill was a particularly challenging hill due to its length. I changed my cycle computer settings so that I couldn't see the speed anymore. No more 6-8 km/hr speeds flashing at me! There was no shoulder to speak of for most of the Sunshine Coast Highway, but traffic was light and considerate when passing.

There were no more controls on the way back, but we had a quick stop at the bike shop (a control on the way out) in Sechelt for a bathroom break. We should have stopped for a bite to eat, which we (I?) regretted about 5km later when I "hit the wall" and had to stop at the side of the road. Unfortunately, the only food we had with us was energy bars and I just couldn't stand their sweetness after drinking diluted Gatorade the entire ride. I managed to eat half a "sickening sweet" bar and drank Scott's plain water while he promised we just have to go "a little further" to the Roberts' Creek General Store for real food. 4km later, we had the promised turkey sandwich and Doritos. The last 18km were completed strongly, except for two very steep hills (one on Lower Road and one on Grower Point Road) that I had been dreading since enjoying their descents on the way out.

In the last 10km, we kept waiting for Michel to come flying by us - he had been over an hour ahead of us by the 53km point. But we squeaked in to the finish 8 minutes before he and Larry showed up. At the finish, our appearance as the first riders in seemed to excite the volunteers as much as seeing the end was exciting for us!

A huge thanks to Robert Irvine, Brad Proctor, Loraine Proctor and the several other volunteers on the route for a great ride and great support at the Sunshine Coast Halfmoaner. And an even bigger thank you to those of you who convinced Bob not to include the 18% Redrooffs Highway uphill on the way back! The route had all our favourite things in a route: the roads were good quality, winding, scenic, and challenging - yes, even while we beMOAN the hills, we enjoy their challenges and how they push our limits.

June 1, 2004