High Winds on the Williams Lake 600
by Richard Blair
This weekend of June 9 and 10, 2012 saw nine riders commence the Southern Interior’s 600km brevet. Unfortunately the weekend of the brevet also coincided with highly unusual wind conditions. The vehemence of the wind was reflected in the end results of the brevet. Of the nine riders, just four finished and five, including the writer, placed a DNF on their control cards. The weather was no secret. On the day prior to the ride, I emailed Barry Chase who had indicated an interest in riding our brevet and advised him:
“The weather Saturday will be atrocious – wet, windy and cold if it goes as forecast. As an overall ride I do not consider the route to be overly taxing, but the weather might put a different slant on it.”
And a different slant it did produce, particularly where the wind conditions were concerned. Bob Boonstra, who assisted in organizing the ride, spent Saturday tracking the wind reports across the route which started in Kamloops, headed west to Cache Creek for the first 110 km and then north for 200 km to Williams Lake. Bob said the reports showed the winds coming out of the northwest at a consistent 20 to 30 kmh and gusting from 40 to 50 kmh on occasion. For some of the riders, the unrelenting wall of wind they encountered head on for so many hours was the barrier which led to their DNF.
Those who overcame the wind and finished included Bob Goodison in 29 hours and 32 minutes, Shawn and Chris Wenger in 33 hours, and Randy Benz in 34 hours and 20 minutes. Those four deserve accolades for their tenacity in the face of the difficult conditions. Doug Fox, Mike Eder, and Connie Van Der Ree left the ride at Clinton after some 158 km, while Bud Macrae and Richard Blair struggled a tad further, ending the ride at about the 218km when their speed – or lack of it – diminished to highly unlikely their chances of making the Williams Lake control before it closed.
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June 15, 2012