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A Chilly Flatlander
Permanent #18 "Fraser Valley Flatlander" Report, January 17, 2014
by Gary Baker

It is not that often that Chilliwack’s four resident randonneurs’ (Michel, Karen, Rick and Gary) schedules mesh and they can do a permanent together, and the weather looked promising to boot.

My plan was to ride from home to the start leaving at 6:55AM. The big concern, and rightly so, was the temperature. It was a chilly -3C. I ride cold so out came the insulated winter riding shoes, the Sole Thinsulate insoles (the newest cold weather insole produced by my son’s company –, the Grabber ‘Hot Shot’ insoles and the neoprene booties. Off I headed down the hill from Cultus Lake to the meeting place. The ride took about 20 minutes and sh.., my feet were still got cold!

The sun was just starting to rise over the Cheam Mtn. Range, and the sky was a soft pink glow. Michel was keen to get a photo of us and the beautiful sky, sans automobiles. The steady stream of fishermen heading up the highway to their favourite fishing holes made this difficult, but not impossible as the photo attests.

All Photos Michel Richard

Although the skies were clear and the temperature was now hovering around zero, there was considerable ground fog (moisture) as we neared Yarrow. In no time at all, we were covered in a thin film of ice crystals.

The Sumas Prairie loomed ahead stirring memories of the howling winds we encountered last month on the same route. Hot chocolate at Birchwood and the new heater that has been installed near the doorway to block the winds that swirl in everytime the automatic exterior doors open were a nice reprieve from the frigid outside air.

As we headed further west, the fog intensified. Rick chirped that the fog would likely dissipate when we climbed up towards the airport; it got worse. Riding by the recreated ‘Psycho’ movie set, complete with the Banks Motel and the mansion on the hill in the thick fog was sort off spooky.

Riding through Aldergrove, I flatted. I had one hell of a time separating the tube from the tire. I’ve heard of it, but I’ve never had a tube "vulcanize" to a tire before. Note to self, pre-powder all tubes in the future.

Surprisingly there wasn’t much fog along River Road as we approached the Fort. At the IGA we all loaded up on M&C and MOJOES….yummy.

By the time we started the return ride towards the Yellow Barn the fog that enveloped us on the higher ground was gone, and the skies were a solid sheet of low grey clouds. The highlight of this section of the route, if the skies are clear, is the spectacular view of Mt. Baker from the intersection of Mt. Lehman and Hawkins. No view this time. At least the descent down Olund Rd to Bates Rd. was its usual fun. If there are no oncoming cars, cut the corner and see how far you can coast before you come to a stop and fall over.

Ah, the Yellow Barn. What would one do without it this time of year? Fuel up, add another layer for warmth and head into the approaching darkness, three hours to go. There is something sublime about riding Camp River Rd. towards Rosedale at night……the silence and gathering peacefulness. Sadly it doesn’t last. The dash across Hwy # 9 and the climb up the hill and across the narrow bridge in the dark is anything but peaceful and relaxing. The Popkum Market ( well where it used to be as it has been torn down) is our last control The replacement store/Time Horton’s/gas station looked impressive in the darkness. It should be open in time for our summer brevets.

The remaining 20km back to our finish in Sardis was a nice way to finish the Flatlander with a Chilliwack start. A good ride, good company, thanks Karen, Michel & Rick.

Go to: Permanent Results


January 20, 2014