Newsletter - 2013 Archive

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First Permanent
by John Thomson

The author rode a foggy and frosty Permanent #41 "Nanaimo Country Club" January 21. Permanents co-coordinator Bob Koen thought this message from John should be in the newsletter. I agree. (John too has agreed to let me post it here.) EF

Hi Bob,

I'm new to this. I have been taking furtive looks at your website for about a year, but dismissed it because you guys are nuts.

Finally, I decided to give it a try, and entered the new years populaire in Victoria. I completed with a time of 3:38. I was so inspired that I joined the club. Hoping to improve my time, and on the kind advice of Tod Kalyniuk, I ordered some new tires from Wiggle in the UK.

I saw my chance to safely ride my first permanent. The forecast was for dry, with morning fog, lifting by noon, and temperatures not expected to drop below freezing the following night. I needed to be careful since this was only my third ride over 90k. (The second time was the previous week.)

It started better than I hoped, with the fog lifting after about half an hour. But after another hour the fog and cold were back, and pretty intense. I didn't realize how cold it was until I looked down at my bike - it was coated in ice. The fog had become so thick that I decided that I had to use my light.

It didn't let up much, although the ice melted off my bike around noon.

I stopped for about 45 minutes to visit a friend, who had just lost her father, before I continued on to Ladysmith.

I was now worried about my light as it had been on all day, and darkness was falling early. As night fell, the fog thickened. I was really uncomfortable riding in the heavy fog and darkness on the highway, so it was a huge relief to finally exit at Somenos road.

The relief didn't last long as soon the traffic picked up and the curbs started getting artsy, sweeping in and out with round-a-bouts and all. Now that my glasses were all iced this course was turning into a blind man's obstacle course. I didn't know what to do but keep going.

Through the Koksilah Valley visibility was down to about 3 metres, and I left the road a few times. Most of the last twenty kilometers I rode the center line, looking over the top of my glasses because the ice wouldn't wipe off.

By the finish control both me and my bike were completely crusted in ice, my water bottle was solid, but I was elated, and convinced that you guys really are nuts. It is a pleasure to join your ranks.

Bob responds: "Awesome John! Welcome to the ranks of randonneurs."


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January 29, 2013