|Newsletter - 2007 Archive|
0707070 200 -
(Less Than) Grand Finale?
With the event being but 2 days before my 80th Birthday I felt it almost mandatory that I should ride it. Although a "Star" rider, Keith Fraser usually devotes some time to the organizational side of our sport, & so it was this time. But with the start/finish just round the corner from my place I felt I should help as well as ride. Keith is a working stiff, I'm retired & I have the time to do the grunt work beforehand. I think it helped the flow of paperwork that I did as much preparation as possible beforehand. But after the flood of entries at the beginning of the week for the Canada Day 140 I prepared for 80 riders. The previous record of 60 would have been twice what we actually received.
I was tempted to ride the naked Tony Hoar Custom with its 32" bottom gear (34x28). It had served me well on Canada Day. But Reese Hill's 2 kms of grunt encouraged me to get the Mariposa out with its 22" gear (24x28).
"You don't eat enough", I have been told. I attached a handlebar bag ladened with food & fruit. At the Mission Bridge that might have been my undoing.
I am not comfortable crossing that "pre-enlightenment" structure on the roadway & usually use the sidewalk. The access is difficult; a narrow gap in the concrete barricade requires a sharp right turn & immediately a left turn. I have done that successfully many times. This time I was distracted by making tight turns in soft sand. Also, perhaps the Handlebar bag upset my balance.
Whatever, I managed to tip over to the left & land on my back in the roadway with my feet trapped under the bike on top of the concrete. The cars gave my head quite a few millimeters of clearance! I extricated myself, straightened my saddle, forced the rear brake off the rim & continued.
No problem at the border and before long I was tackling Reese Hill. The ride up to Glacier was delightful, made more so by the cheery waves & greetings from the quicker riders. Saw a concerned Roger Holt wondering what Ali was doing. I soon saw she, Karen Smith, & Susan Barr were dealing with a problem in the shade of the ample foliage. But I later learnt there was more to it. They found a kitten. They took it with them & found a Vet in Maple Falls. He knew who had lost the kitten & was able to return it to them.
Got to Glacier, 89kms, at 11:45 or so & was surprised to learn from Controller Jeff that new Randonneur Dave Mann was on his way after a late start. There was some doubt about him turning up as he didn't check the route until the morning of the event & had no official ID with him. I was about to depart at 12:05 when Dave appeared. Having ridden across Canada & the length of Britain with Dave I know of his strength & told him I wasn't waiting for him, he could catch up down the road.
I stuck to my rando rule; "non-stop between controls" & had a steady ride in blustery conditions all the way to Tracey Baril's control at Nugent's Corner. I had hardly dismounted when Dave pulled in behind me. From then on Dave & I kept each other company plus or minus a few metres. Not sure if Dave was being kind or relying on the fact I knew where I was going. But he was freewheeling a lot.
Despite less than perfect road surfaces it is a delightful ride through Cedarville & Goshen to Lynden. I convinced Dave we needed coffee, pie & ice cream in Lynden. And the time was well used, I felt better anyway.
Once in Canada I was not looking forward to the drag up to Aldergrove. It is usually at the end of a long ride & I struggle on it too much. But a kind tailwind eased the pain & smiling faces at Tim Horton's went with the control card signatures at the day's 7th stop. One more time off bike at the Albion Ferry and it was time to smell the barn door.
In order to avoid the shopping frenzy that goes with Saturday afternoons in Haney I chose to take the route along back roads that I normally use when returning from points east. I suppose it depends at what time of day one goes through there. The short stretch of Dewdney Trunk we used to get back on 7 was clear of traffic when Dave & I went through. Once on the way to the Pitt River Bridge I felt free to try a little harder. The acceleration coming off the bridge got me up to 35 kph or so & I didn't let the leveling out of the gradient slow me down. Dave was a bit surprised that I dropped him. However, Keith gave him the same time as me; 11:47.
Thirty-one starters, thirty-one finishers.
On the route sheet I asked for comments about the detour through Haney. The only feedback so far, from Karen Smith, is that she would prefer to stay on the main road. However, she was unusally slow in comparison to her normal times. I wonder what the faster riders think?
When I saw Keith Fraser off on the pre-ride the previous week, I asked how long he might take. "Oh I'm going to be taking it easy", or words to that effect. 7:05 was taking it easy? So my plans to greet at the finish went out the window. On the event day an intended Ironman, using the 200 as training, took 7:26?
July 11, 2007