From the pre-ride
Ripple Rock Ramble 600 Pre-ride
by Jim Runkel
With 13 800 ft of climbing, this route is not flat but it is relatively straight...a there and back (Victoria - Campbell River - Victoria)
Philip Lennox and I pre rode this route in preparation for next weeks ride...the Aug 17 Ripple Rock Ramble 600.
The route starts from Jims House in Victoria. Not far into the route you will encounter some construction. At Sayward and Hwy 17 use caution as you approach this turn. There is very little shoulder and getting into the turning lane is tricky. You may need to head to the intersection and use the pedestrian controls to get through (although on a Saturday early morning it may be fine).
When you get to Watkiss there is bus stop. Just behind the bus stop is a paved connector trail taking you onto HWY 1. The mighty Malahat is your next challenge. Much construction has been underway on this section over the summer. I am happy to say though that its in very good condition and much of the construction is over.
Once over, enjoy the downhill carefully.
I will mention some of my favourite roads and some I hate as we move through this route. Fisher road is a favourite with good surface and pastoral scenes.
Stop in Cowichan Bay at the True Grain Bakery for some amazing organic baked goods. The cheese twists are great.
Because the bridge is out going into Chemainus, the route goes back onto the highway for a little bit. The Chemainus control will be staffed so look for the control board
The Yellowpoint loop is new for this year. Its a bit hilly but very pretty. It also allows a quicker journey through Nanaimo as I could cut out some city riding. Stephen and Carol Hinde have agreed to have the control in Nanaimo at their house...thanks
Once you leave Nanaimo the journey take you onto Northwest Bay Rd...also a favourite of mine. Then its 19A all the way to Courtney, passing through scenic sea side vistas.
If you plan on sleeping in Courteny we stayed at the RiverHeights Motel ( http://www.motelriverheights.com/home ). It is very well situated. Rm 16 had 2 dbl beds and a single bed...if you want to share!
Comox and the section past the Military base is very nice riding too. Guthrie has some construction but its easy to ride through or around on the sidewalk.
As you cruise into Campbell River the road becomes nice and flat. A 24hr Tims is your turnaround point.
Heading back down to Courtney, you are going to be in for a treat. Howard Road and Headquarter Road both are very nice roads and most a steady downhill into town. Get some sleep or carry on...either way a 24 Hr Tims is available.
We stopped in Parksville for a fantastic eggs benny with homefries...If you use the Chevron to get your card signed, take the first road RT and you cannot miss the place (its also in my pictures). Great coffee too!
Getting through Nanaimo now avoids the E&N trail, taking you down the 19A then through the side streets and to the South end control. Because temperatures both days were in the 30's drinking was essential and I found a love for smoothies at Serious Coffee...so we used Serious Coffee as our South Nanaimo control.
Some noisy highway riding is next. Wear earplugs if you have them...it really makes the ride more enjoyable
We stopped for ice cream at Mt Sicker road, then Duncan was next. One of my most disliked roads (as are many roads around Duncan) is Allenby. Its surface is so bad and there is no shoulder.
Shawnigan Lake is next. I cannot state strongly enough how I detest the roads around this lake. The scenery is great but the road surface is SOOOO bad, and the drivers are so aggressive that riding this area is very mentally and physically demanding. Please be very careful. Hold a tight line, avoid all the potholes and the deplorable shoulders, and avoid the drivers racing through the narrow roads in big pickups while their girlfriends hang their feet out the passenger window.
The ride down the Malahat, now with lots of new pavement and wide shoulders in many places is a treat. Depending how fast your are, you may need to detour around a Show and Shine in Langford on Sunday. This event closes Goldstream Ave between 10-2p. I have provided you with detour instructions on the route sheet.
Back at Jims House you are done....606 kms of the Island best and worst roads.
This route offers many scenic vistas, and is well serviced.
Philip and I hope to see you out next Saturday. Start time is 5 am.
Organizers Philip & Jim
Go to: Ripple Rock Ramble 600 Route & Info page
Go to: Pre-ride Photos
August 11, 2013