Eau de Hell - Stories & Articles

BC Randonneurs Cycling Club



"Eau de Hell" Week 2008 Organizer's Report
by Ken Bonner

The 2nd Eau de Hell Week looked promising from the pre-ride experience. Below freezing night temperatures, cold blowing rain for major portions of each ride and only one disappointing brevet where it rained just prior to the start and again at the end. Good chance of sleet, hail or snow for the Eau de Hell Week.

Unfortunately, the weather person did not cooperate and informed the general public that pleasant weather was forecast for the Eau de Hell Week. Avid Eau de Hell Week riders cancelled out in the ‘hundreds’ after learning that the weather would not be challenging. Those 41 riders who did decide to make the best of a bad situation rode the 200k in temperatures hovering around 21 C (70F). The next day, things did not improve much. 15 riders challenged themselves over the 300k with 11,500 feet of climbing with nary a drop of rain in sight in temperatures hovering around 15 C (60F).

A day of rest, then 7 riders were left to see if the Devil could stir up trouble. Not a chance, again, no rain, hail, snow or sleet. Temperatures were about 10C (50F) – (any one see a trend beginning with the temperature?) However, one of Hell’s Gremlins did manage to eliminate a left turn and the road to be turned onto – which caused some distress amongst the riders. Alex, our enthusiastic Club Treasurer, thinking the organizer had finally put a challenge in the ride, rode up a gravel hill until he could make no further progress … Dave, our lone recumbent rider on the EdH brevets ended up in a winery, but determining that the wine was not of suitable quality to his sensitive palate, he turned around and eventually found his way. Manfred and two buddies, Scott & Jeff spent some time in heated discussion trying to determine which of three directions they should go, when a local came along and pointed them in the correct direction. (During the 2007 Eau de Hell Week, in this same general vicinity, Manfred had a less cordial response when he asked directions from locals in a pick-up truck – they might have been smoking ‘loco-weed’!)

Another day of rest – warm sunny temperatures – just hanging around charming Chemainus, town of murals and cafés.

600 km Starters... Finishers

Finally, the EdH Ride for Gold 600 – the final 200k of which in last year’s edition, riders determined was the worst ride of their life! Once again, the weather was promising, although a little chilly (about 8 C (46F). 60% chance of rain with wind – YES, the spirit of Eau de Hell Week has come to be with us again!! Unfortunately, the EdH spirit was a little weak, and the riders all commented on the spectacular bright moon appearing between clouds scudding across the night sky as they returned from Gold River.

This year’s Eau de Hell Week finishers are:

Hellion Survivors

Cumulative Finishing Time





Dave Cambon (Recumbent)

  83h 17m*

9h 05m

17h 34m

23h 17m

33h 21m

Scott Gater

79h 47m

9h 05m

16h 21m

21h 13m

33h 08m

Jeff Mudrakoff

79h 27m

8h 45m

16h 21m

21h 13m

33h 08m

Eric Fergusson

  71h 38m*

7h 35m

14h 27m

20h 00m

29h 36m

Ken Bonner (Organizers pre-rides)

70h 27m

9h 35m

14h 35m

18h 42m

27h 45m

* Dave Cambon was hoping to be the only Hellion Survivor, thereby picking up the rewards for both the Eau de Perspiration and the Eau de Roses. In spite of Scott & Jeff sleeping in a CIBC ATM access room, Dave managed to maintain his supremacy and picked up the Eau de Roses reward. See photos on results page.
* Eric Fergusson, take no prisoners, ride like the wind attitude (a real test for his new bionic leg parts; and his over the original manufacturer’s warranty Achilles) … paid off, winning the Eau de Perspiration reward (See photos on results page – organizer’s report will also be on this page, eventually.

>> Three of the five 2008 Hellion Survivors are now Eau de Hell Week ‘anciens’ – having the fortitude to complete more than one Eau de Hell Week:
-> Eric Fergusson (not satisfied with two EdH Week finishes, Eric also rode the Summer Hell Week in 2007)
-> Jeff Mudrakoff
-> Ken Bonner

Eric Fergusson was heard saying something like ‘I will not ride the Eau de Hell Week again until Hell Freezes Over’ – I guess he will be back next year, the morning after he finished, Nanaimo experienced a record snow-fall for April 19, not just for the day, but for the whole month (25 cm or almost a foot of snow) – just a few hours earlier and we could have had the worst Eau de Hell brevet ever --- probably with no finishers!!!

Note: We are still waiting for the 1st female rider to complete the full Eau de Hell Week! Ladies?


Jenny Watson & Patrick Wright – Tour de Cowichan Valley 200k organizers
Kathy & Lee Ringham
– Tour de Cowichan Valley Control
Ken Bonner
– Tour de Cowichan Start and Shawnigan Control
Graeme Sheeley
– route sheets and control cards for the 300k, 400k and 600k
Dave Macmurchie
– Alive Are the Hills 300 Shawnigan Control
Mike, Brynne & Baby Croy
– Alive are the Hills 300 Secret Control
Alex Pope
– Ride for Gold 600 Secret Control

And just as a reminder, we have a very hard working group of Executive riding members … give them a pat on the back from time to time, or maybe buy them a coffee!! In particular, think of Cheryl Lynch who ensures the results are validated for the ACP; Eric Fergusson who posts the results on the web in record time; Karen Smith who ensures that the brevet pins are available and Alex Pope who ensures our Club remains financially solvent. On Vancouver Island, Ray Parker, Vancouver Island Brevet Coordinator, works hard promoting randonneuring; and ensuring that we organize quality brevets.

On the Road to Gold River

Big Challenge... little prize
Dave Cambon's finishers pin


April 20, 2008