Newsletter - 2013 Archive

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BC Randonneurs
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Cowichan Populaire (50, 100 & 160 km)
Organizer's Report
Dave Macmurchie

The inaugural Cowichan Populaire attracted 34 riders to their choice of three routes: 50 km, 100 km or 161 km (100 mi). Not surprisingly, most (20) opted for the shorter route, with only three intrepid cyclists taking on the longest one. One thing that everyone agreed on was that the routes were enjoyable and scenic, and no doubt those positive reviews were in part due to perfect cycling weather, sunny with just enough high and scattered cloud to keep the temperature reasonable.

A particular highlight of the event was the number of parent/child duos, in a variety of combinations. On the 50 km route, regular Steven Croy drafted Mike on the trail-a-bike, while Madeleine Thomson shared a tandem with father John, and Adam Kunest rode with his father Alex on singles. On the 100 km route, veteran juniors Tai McGillivray and Tomas Kolyniuk rode singles in company with their fathers, John and Todd respectively. It is especially satisfying to see these younger riders coming out on repeated occasions and at longer distances – a good sign for the future of randonneuring.

It’s worth noting that the good turn-out for this populaire was obtained despite the fact that the Eureka 1000, the Ride to Conquer Cancer, and Boomer’s Ride were all taking place on the same day, and sometimes on the same roads. This is something we may want to bear in mind in scheduling future populaires in the high season, although the ability to determine the scheduling of other organizations’ events far enough in advance to be useful is problematic. Another lesson is that when longer routes are being used, a start earlier than 10:00 is probably a good idea. The main take-away, though, is that the event drew a number of participants who had previously been unfamiliar with randonneuring, some of whom are likely to take part in certified brevets later (or not so much later) in the season, so the organizing volunteers are encouraged to offer the event again next year.

And such volunteers! Offering three routes, up to 100 miles, put a lot of demands on the volunteer crew, both in terms of time commitment and some rather bizarre choreography to keep controls staffed, which was important in maintaining contact with newcomers. Special thanks to Graham Fishlock, Carol and Stephen Hinde, Steve Mahovlic and Ross Pratt for putting in a long day that produced the desired result – happy riders. Well done!

Thanks also to Russel Farms Market for their spontaneous donation of fresh-picked strawberries at the first control – anyone in need of a pick-me-up couldn’t do better!

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June 16, 2013