Newsletter - 2012 Archive

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The Bellingham 200
(March 17, 2012)
by Gary Baker

I wanted to do an early session brevet, and was delighted to see that I had a choice, our Sasquatch 200 or the S.I.R. Bellingham 200. The latter had a lot of appeal, a 7:30AM start as to the 7:00AM start on the Stomper, and the drive from Cultus Lake to Bellingham is 30+km shorter than the drive to Vancouver. Besides a change of scenery would be a bonus. When Rick den Braber said he was interested as well it was a done deal.

At 6AM crossing the border crossing was quick and painless; it was the falling snow that had our attention. We received a wonderful American welcome at the sign-up and were pleased to see many familiar faces, David Johnson, Mark Thomas from the Seattle club as well as Dierdre A., Keith N. and Susan Barr who made up the Vancouver contingent.

The ride started in heavy rain and freezing temperatures, that proceeded to get worse as we rode south on Chuckanut Drive. When we turned east along Colony Rd. and started the climb into the Chuckanut /Blanchard Mountains and north towards Whatcom Lake we rode into snow squeals and cold winds. Ugly!!!!! The saving grace was there was absolutely NO traffic, which was the case for the entire ride.

By the time we had ridden north to Mt. Baker Hwy and on to the control at Sumas the weather was turning for the better, at least it looked better. All the shivering riders holed up at the Sumas Control (at the 97km mark) were eating like they hadn't eaten for a week. It's really hard to open packages and eat with thick gloves on and hypothermia was the price to pay if one stopped to eat during the early part of the ride.

On leaving the Sumas control the rain was pounding down and it was starting to blow. And blow it did more or less in one's face for (with one short reprieve) the entire ride from Sumas to Blaine, through Birch Bay, Lummi and back to Bellingham. It was like riding up hill for the better part of 100km. Thankful the rain stopped a few short kilometers out of Sumas.

This is a great circular brevet route with approximately 3000ft of vertical on mostly very quiet country roads. Perhaps we should chat to our friends in the S.I.R. Club to coordinate our early session rides and we could see a large contingent of B.C. riders do this scenic ride in the future.


March 18, 2012