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Eau de Hell 300km Brevet
by Keith Nichol

I added a few layers for the 300 as I had been decidedly under dressed for the 200, it was a lot more pleasant not having to go fast to keep warm. It was a more leisurely ride out this time until three of us made the light across the TC Highway. It was strange to be riding a lot of the 200 route from the previous day but in reverse. There was a really rowdy group of ravens as we climbed up Koksilah road under the railway bridge. We sort of rode together until the Shawnigan Village control enjoying the rollers before the climb over the Malahat. There were lots of ducks bobbing off shore along the Mill Bay stretch and then the climb started. I stopped to take off a few layers and Nigel and Cheryl took off at a hectic pace, maybe a bit too soon. It was good to get off the Malahat, too much traffic. Mike Croy caught up with us at the next control and soon we were off again. The drop down to Lagoon road was exciting with a debate over whether the bridge was closed. It was but not for bikes. Lots of birds in the lagoon including over a dozen swans looking their majestic best. The Olympic Peninsula was in all its snowy glory across the straight.

Pretty soon we started the Sooke hills, Mike and I passed Cheryl and Nigel taking a breather on a hill and then Mike took off to next be seen at the Sooke control. At least the road is pretty quite and scenic, it distracts from the vertical challenge. My cell phoned mooed at me telling me I had a message, but I must have just got in range of the border and it was warning me about roaming charges, it got switched off. The Sooke control had great home made sandwiches and the first of several chocolate milks. Recharged we set off and when I reminded Mike that Brynne was waiting at the secret control he was off like a scalded bat. The Sooke road was busy and it was good to turn off and start wiggling to the Highlands. The secret control was well positioned for a Timbit and banana refuel and then off through the Highlands proper. A great bit of road and luckily pretty quiet. Soon it was Wallace and West Saanich roads and memories of Elk lake half Ironman. The church and graveyard at Mills road was really pretty as was the large bare oak silhouetted against the skyline. Shortly after that there were a ominous bunch of crows in another bare oak tree making it look like a gibbet.

Refuel in Sidney, more chocolate milk and another egg salad sandwich. Shortly before we left Alex arrived and so began another mini saga. The ride through to the penultimate control at Tim Hortons was pretty ordinary but the coffee and bagel certainly went down. As we were going to leave who should arrive but Alex and we quipped that we were going to meet every 24kms. Sooner than that he caught up with us again as we got onto the TC Highway for the first time, less than 24kms later, he had got all the green lights and we the red. Soon we started up the Malahat and Alex roared off while we were in slow steady mode. I told Mike he was free to follow but he decided to take it easy. We re-grouped at the look out and I layered up for the descent and ate because my bagel was long gone. It was only seven so we had plenty of light for avoiding the debris at the side of the road. The trip back was pretty uneventful except we both ran out of energy about 15kms from the finish and my bottles were empty and the thought of a bar was not very appetizing. We slowed down and made it just.

Now the rest before the 400.

Go To: Keith's 300 km Flickr Photos
Go To: Keith's Garmin Connect Activity
Go To: Eau de Hell week home


April 12, 2010