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300 yay!
Ryder Hatzic Hills 300 km
by Étienne Hossack

[Etienne's story is accompanied by more photos: Étienne's Gallery - Pete's Gallery.]

Pete, Lucas and I are sorry for any mishaps we may have caused to the organisers. Lucas and I did not intend to cheat any rules with our wrong turn, and Pete did not intend to offend anyone by his registering mis-hap. We will endeavour to be strict on the rules next time and work hard to acknowledge the hard work that people put into creating these events! Please forgive us confused under-30 folk!

Actual fun part!

Thank you Chris for the awesome route! It was a fantabulous (yes, it's a real word. I checked in the dictionary of awesome words. It was there next to supragullible).
The weather co-operated very much so for the most part, only a couple sections of rain and stuff, nothing major, and the sun came out for a bit! :D

At the start, the Escape Velocity folk and Patrick G. and Laith F. [1 - see note] debated on whether or not this would be a `fast' 300, as Pete and Patrick are more or less mountain goats on the hills and Tobin and I can do our fair dues on the flats, but after a bit of laziness, it seemed not to be the case.

Riding out to Buntzen was fun - phew - some of those hills were a good wake-me-up.... Having never been all the way on a bike it was an interesting ride! And Chris had been so kind as to organize all those 'Race in Progress' signs for us, it was great :) But really, we had no idea why those were there, and why they followed the bike route so readily, but we weren't complaining!

After the super fun rolling out and back, and then up, up the plateau the David descent is always fun, though I swear every time I get caught by that one light, right in the middle of the descent!!

Down to near the road was fun, and then the short dyke section was nice on wider tyres, only it was time for my traditionnal flat tyre!!! WHEEEEE :\
Everyone made me stop and properly change it, with Laith carrying on ahead - probably a good thing to stop as there was a shard of glass embedded in the tread haha. (there was some grumbling with my crew, so here's my apology to you guys). Also someone passed us and handed me my cue sheet and control card. No idea when that fell out (I assume on the dyke when the photos were being taken) but thank you random randonneur!!! [editor's note: It was Will Danicek]

Rolling over the bridge and the Dewdney Trunk was a funderful section as always. I do love the Dewdney (growing up in Maple Ridge, no bias). We had a nice steady-ish pace and then stopped for a 2 second catchup at the shop past Camp Good Dog (I never knew the store/gas station name). It turned into a longer stop with snacks and bathrooms, but I suppose a rest is positive every now and then. We watched Gary B. and others roll by before taking off again and passing them.
--> If there's anything this ride proves, and we don't regret our pace one bit, but slow and steady is always the way to go! We were the hares today.

Down to the Dam is always a fun descent and we whizzed along the road each trying to pass the other in the most ridiculous aero poses. Eventually reaching the dam we rode along, but Patrick attempted to make the rail-track jump... and was not successful.
He taco'd his rear wheel and seemingly sprained his arm a bit, so it was ride over for him. Lucas used some field-skill wheel truing (click photo, right, or go to YouTube version) to get the wheel roll-able, but it was not going to be possible to continue in his state. Flukily, as I grew up about 12ks from the Dam, I became indebted to some family friends who were willing to come rescue him and take him to Race the Ridge where he was able to see search and rescue and get a ride home - all within 2 blocks of my old/their house! Success!

So we trudged onwards, with myself being rather tired for some reason and Pete charging up the dam climb for the Strava KOM segment (which he got) and rolling onwards towards Sumas Mtn.
I had never been on some of those roads before and they were absolutely gorrrgeeeouuuusssss, especially around Hatzic Lake. We stopped before briefly at the info Control, we filled our bottles and laughed at the 'no cycling shoes' sign, and a brief hello to (I think it was) Will, Cheryl and Jacques before pressing onward.

Crossing on the Lougheed and over the Mission bridge was the only questionable section I think. We passed Laith again, this time he had the flat tyre, but he told us to press onwards, so we did.
Out to Sumas is always a lovely climb, made especially amusing by watching Pete and Tobin climb up the super steep slope that the cue sheet especially said not to climb. I remembered the hill from the Canada Day Populaire and turned happily in the right direction before they realised and caught up. By the point the four of us climbed at a fairly steady pace, and only stopped briefly at the stop sign info control before continuing.

North Parallel road was its usual fun, and we had a good rotation going along it in the wind before crossing the highway, passing the lovely Yellow Barn with thoughts of food and drink, but deciding to head onwards to Ryder lake. In Chilliwack Lucas and I dropped our pace a bit, and as a result of some mis-directing, ended up taking the long, steep climb into Ryder Lake. Thankfully we were excused the transgression, but after doing some of those 15% hills, I'm not sure our legs really excused us. :|
Anyway, thank you dearly to the staff at the control for soup, muffins, 3 types of chocolate cookies, brownies and bananas which I happily had some of. Maybe a bunch. I'm still growing! Don't judge!

Having previewed the roads on the climb, the actual descents proved much easier and rolling back towards Fort Langley was a lovely rest. There were a couple hills in there that I wasn't 100% were needed, but hey- more climbing! :D

We met up with Jacques on the Interprovincial Highway and Wells Line which added a nice extra body to our rotation in the wind. We stopped to de-layer and planned to catch up with Jacques, but then as the four of us passed the Birchwood Dairy sign... well, we couldn't resist ice-cream in the sun. So after passing Eric Fergusson back and fourth for maybe the 6th time that day, he watched us turn off in search of dairy delights ahead of him (we had recently just overlapped him after a small turning error in Sumas).

Ice cream was good. The 'After Dinner Mint' was pretty tasty, but I'll admit I couldn't taste the orange in the 'Swiss Orange-something' so don't get your hopes up if you try that in the future. Pete munched on a sausage roll after bounding away to look at the baby cows like a kid, while Lucas, Tobin (sipping his favourite Green Tea Milkshake) and I had a nice chat with a local cyclist about why on earth we'd be riding for so long. She had done the Pacific Populaire before, so Randonneurs weren't too strange a crowd apparently.

Eventually we set back off to Fort Langley. On one of the climbs into Abbotsford Laith reappeared and joined us for the lovely roads ahead. Partway through, Laith and Lucas disappeared slowly off the back, and we assumed they were chatting and having fun from the sounds we heard, and eventually thought the had passed us, when really Lucas apparently was sick, fending off vomiting, and ended up stopping for Advil, tums and a nap at a grocery store... oops. Some teammates we are!

But the three of us - Pete, Tobin and I - were looking forward to a stop in Fort Langley, and after the Lefeuvre descent, noticed that we were on the Spring Series DEVO stage race Time Trial course. This of course meant we had to try some time-trial pacing, so we hammered down until passing Armstrong road at a fair clip. Rolling into Fort Langley the Fort was pretty busy, so we stopped at Wendels and had a good long rest with Lattes, brownies, Carrot Cake, beer and Étienne's new pick-me-up, Bailey's Latte. We stopped for a good 20 minutes enjoying the food and watching Eric, Jeff and Colin I think pass by before eventually setting off just as Barry arrived.
-- Fun fact: I'm not sure how Barry's return was, but I saw his supernova light today (Monday after the ride), and it was half-filled with water. Randonneuring problems right there. --

After that lovely drink, returning to Vancouver felt like a breeze! I was managing to push the pace to about 38-42km/h with my light on and was pretty pleased with that! The short dyke section up to the Mary Hill was the only slower part, and the rest of the route was super speedy. We almost ran a mini-race/Team Time Trial along the Lougheed section with our 280km legs apparently still holding up, so that was nice (even a few Strava top 10s :D).
I'm sure Eric & co. were a bit bewildered when we passed them going about 60km/h near the end...

The last few traffic lights slowing my approach, we arrived spaced out by 20 seconds each to the Knight & Day, happily presenting control cards to Chris and sitting down to await the return of Laith and Lucas, enjoying some hot food & beer.

The best brevet yet!

Étienne, Tobin, Pete, Lucas


[1 - note] To clarify the random associations, Tobin, Pete, Lucas, Alex and Étienne ride for Escape Velocity - Étienne, Lucas, Patrick, Laith and Andy's new friend Jean-François are all involved with the Bike Co-op/Kitchen at UBC.

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April 30, 2014