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Will it Pass Muster?
by Harold Bridge

          I don't care if Cheryl says it doesn't count - again. It was a beautiful ride anyway! I refer to: Wednesday, June 25 when I pre-rode the new Make Up 200 route from Ft Langley.
          In 2002 I pre-rode a revised 400 route for the August "Make-Up". The new route through Burlington, instead of going across to Avon-Allen, proved to be undesirable and we went back to the original plan.
          I chose to start Sunday morning with the hope of quieter night time roads. I got an empty Chuckanut in moonlight. As a test I rode part way with my headlamp switched off - it was magical.
          The drag up from Kanaka to Haney serves well as my Via Dolorosa & I struggle on it most times. But this time I could see the possibility of finishing at the Petro Can, corner of 228th St, before 06:00 for an inside 24 hours ride. It hurt but I finished with 23:58! I was chuffed.
          But I had not finished the Abbotsford x 3 600. Bose had decided to quit & I wasn't so full of beans that I wanted to drag myself out to Hope & back all on my only. So, I decided to do the Summer 600. But our lack of optional dates meant I had the choice of the 400 counting or the 600. I had another 400 & so my best 400 in recent years didn't count.

          Now this current exploration to confirm distances may have some questions attached to it and Iron Mistress Lynch may well throw my effort out the window. I don't care, I enjoyed the ride.
          For an aging has-been it is a difficult route in that the majority of the altitude gain is in the first 80 kms. Thus, despite staying clear of the time limits I was fighting them all the way. With my computer on manual so it showed true average, I set off at 06:59 as the traffic light changed at that point.
          Heading down Glover to Rawlinson Crescent, the first climb rears it ugly head as I climbed 232nd St. But, so early in the day it didn't seem too bad. Shortly after is that steep bank on 72nd Av. But once over that the grades on 248th St are usually preceded by a swoop that gets one most of the way up the climb.
          I had replaced my 700x28 Avocet Cross tyres with Bontranger 700x23 & was concerned about computer calibration. But as the route uses our 8.4 km calibration stretch along Zero Av I decided to stop at Gordy Cook's little white line 44 metres east of IBM#20, check on odo reading & ride as straight as possible to IBM#26. If BC Hydro's GPS system is to be believed that is 8.4 kms. I recorded 8.46 kms. Thus 8.40 divided by 8.46 gives a factor of 0.993 & my recorded distances were thus adjusted.
          I duly presented my passport to the young US Customs agent & asked about the presumed wasted Canadian Citizenship Card. I had to explain that I always carry that with me, whereas my passport is usually in the SDB & if on the spur of the moment I decided to cross into USA, would the card do. He said yes.
          Route 542 to Kendall is rather narrow. But, to my surprise the road was very quiet with very little traffic. With a new surface it was a delight & to some extent calmed my concerns about Reese Hill.

          I discreetly avoided changing to "Average" while I struggled up Reese. But again the beautiful road surface helped me on my way. Pass the "Holy Smoke", I was rolling along happily & watching the "Av" increase to about 18. But then, at Kendall, one starts the 16.6 km series of drags up to Glacier. Got there at 11:45 when the "Av" had dropped below 17k. Nonetheless, I felt I deserved a coffee & a doughnut & left, refreshed, at 12:05 with Av now at 15.80. Too close for comfort.
          I have driven Mosquito Lake Rd twice, never before ridden it. It is a beautiful ride. But, Oh! how I wished for my 90 psi 28s instead of my110psi 23s. The road is in good repair, but the pea-gravel surface is a shock after the recently re-paved 542 & 9.
          One of my objectives, an important one I think, was to find something on Mosquito Lake Road to serve as an "Information Control". I found 2. Watchout!
          Although I praise Mosquito Lake Rd, I was far enough into my longest ride of the year to be suffering on those deceptive climbs and was looking forward to pie & ice cream at Acme Café (~130 kms). The café was quite quiet at 14:58 hours when I arrived. The lady was overheard to say to the other customer that the economic situation is having an effect, their business is way down. Then if it was so un-busy how did I manage to leave without getting my card signed? Put it down to age.
          I had been battling a headwind along Mosquito Lake Rd & was looking forward to a tailwind going back up 9. Got a headwind instead! Once at the Deming junction I had an easier ride to Nugent's Corner & Control #3. A coffee and signature & I was away for that quiet rural ride to Lynden, albeit on pea-gravel.
          By Lynden I was once again hungry & the Dutch Treat Café came up with a quick omelette. There is something about Lynden that makes it an attractive town, I like it. But at the same time I needed to get on. The Canada Customs agent told me my passport isn't valid until I sign it. I asked for a pen but he told me to sign it later (have put in the SDB, after forgetting to sign it!).
          My secondary Via Dolorosa is climbing up to Aldergrove. But this time I resigned myself to plod & relied on the tailwind to alleviate the suffering. I struggled on & looked forward to the descent down 264th St to 88th Av. But hitting a pothole at 68 kph near the bottom was more excitement than I really needed. The front tyre withstood the shock, but I have yet to inspect it.
          The 6.4 kms along 88th Av/ River Rd gets tedious after a few dozen trips along there. But at least it took me close to the finish. To avoid the crowds & traffic on Glover Rd I have routed the finish along Queen Street & Bartlett St.
          It was nice to sit back listening to New Orleans jazz for 30 minutes while in the Albion Ferry Line. What was very un-nice was being completely blinded by the setting sun driving the Haney ByPass & Lougheed Hwy - Scary!
          And a warning to those who may use the Pitt River Bridge. From 20:00 to 05:00 the following morning there is single lane access on the 1957 (south) span only. At 21:00 when I got there Wednesday night the mass of head lights jammed into the 7/7B junction, all hoping to get across the solitary lane east bound, will no doubt create some correspondence in the papers.


June 27, 2008