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Southern Rambles 1000
Ride dates: July 1-4, 2016
by Bob Goodison

The Southern Rambles 1000 route was designed by Doug Fox. If you know Doug, this tells you all you need to know about it- low traffic, unparalleled scenery, and lots and lots of climbing. It's basically the Princeton Loop 600 counter clockwise, with the addition of a jaunt through the Boundary and West Kootenay regions, with a few good climbs thrown in. I had considered cancelling this ride because of poor scheduling. I had only had eight days to recover from the Cascade 1200 (1290), which I had ridden with only five days recovery from the 600. On top of this, I had picked up a cold on the way home from the Cascade. When no one else signed up, it looked even more daunting- with the Fleche, 400, 600 and the Cascade, I had become spoiled by having people to ride with. Did I still have what it took to do a solo 1000? Susan (the brains of the couple) asked me "Is there anything on the Cascade you would have done differently?" Other than a more water resistant jacket on the first night, my answer was no. "So, just ride it the same way." Susan was meeting me at the overnights, but not at any other controls. I didn't want to make it too easy to quit, and I knew I would have to dig deep on this one.

Even though Mike and Bud weren't there, I noticed that all the riders were on yellow Marinonis. I rolled out of the Denny's parking lot at 05:00 and headed up Barnhartvale Rd. The headwind didn't start until the turn onto Campbell Creek Rd. There was lots of wildlife- mule deer (one with twin fawns), and that rare bird, the red-jersied nincompoop, distinguished by it's inability to remember to flip the catch on its handlebar bag. I retrieved the bag, fortunately still zipped, from the other side of the third cattleguard and continued to Highway 5A into the worsening headwind. This was my lowest point of the ride, with no one to talk to but the guy on the yellow Marinoni. I soon grew tired of his profanity and whining about the headwind and told him to shut up. At Merritt, a few drops of rain were falling, but I was turning away from the wind, so my spirits improved, and I had gotten used to riding by myself again. The climb up the Okanagan Connector was hot and humid. There was just enough tail wind to negate any airflow, but the assist was welcome. By the summit it was officially raining and I was getting cold, so I put on my Rainlegs and leaky jacket. By the time I got to Princeton I was dry, and removed the rain gear. Following the Similkameen River down to Keremeos was fun, and I even had a moderate tail wind. That disappeared with the turn onto 3A, and the 8% climb to Twin Lakes came with headwind attached. The climbing continued, registering 13% on Twin Lakes Rd, but the wind did not. Twin Lakes to OK Falls is a beautiful ride, but the rough chipseal made me appreciate my 32mm tires. A slice of pizza and an ice cream bar in OK Falls, combined with a strong tailwind got me to my first overnight in Osoyoos well before dark. The wind, and climbing had taken a toll, and I was spent. Day one wildlife: 25 mule deer, one bald eagle.

Day two started at 04:06 with the climb up the Anarchist. The tailwind was still there- oops, no, it's a headwind. No, it's a tailwind. Gotta love those switchbacks. It's not a particularly hard climb, but from bottom to summit is 30 km. It gets tedious. A dead rattlesnake on the road was a good reminder to watch where I stepped when venturing away from the road. The temperature dropped to 10 degrees at the top, so on went the jacket for the descent to Rock Creek. While driving up the Anarchist a few hours after I left, Susan passed a cyclist wearing a Canada PBP jersey just before the viewpoint. She pulled in to see who it was. Darren Inouye was visiting relatives in Osoyoos and was riding up the Anarchist for "fun". I wanted to stop for coffee in Rock Creek, but I had heard about the cinnamon buns at the Tarnished Turkey in Greenwood, so I waited until I got there. It did not disappoint. The section from Rock Creek to Christina Lake is some of the nicest cycling in the province, and I had a tailwind that lasted all day. About %$#&**(&^%$ time! At Christina Lake, however, the road turns upward. The first half of the climb is at about 2%. The second half of the climb is about 4 %, and then for the third half it goes to 8% or so. Yes, it's a climb and a half, followed by a long descent to Castlegar, where I couldn't convince the gas station attendant to sign my card. Luckily, the customer behind me said "I'll sign it". Onward to the turn to Hwy 6, and my anticipated break at Sleep is for Sissies, a must stop any time I ride or drive through Winlaw. The pizza was far superior to what I had had in OK Falls. One more stop in New Denver for more liquids and one of the best mandarin oranges I've ever eaten, and I was into Nakusp and the second overnight at dusk. I thought I had been tired the previous night, but not compared to this. Day two wildlife: 6 mule deer, one dead rattlesnake.

A 05:10 I began the final day. Randonesia had me remembering the ride from Nakusp to the ferry as relatively flat. It didn't feel it. I felt flat. The headwind didn't help, and I was grateful for the half hour it took to wait for the ferry and cross. The Monashee Pass is beautiful, and it was mercifully cool, so the climb went well. I was blasted once again by a fierce headwind at the summit which plagued me until the final 11 km. Up until now, traffic had not been bad, but everyone was going home from the long weekend, and about noon it got ridiculous. Using earplugs (not cheesies), made the perceived effort and fatigue seem more bearable. After all the climbing, the climb out of the hole in Cherryville seemed like nothing. The bakery in Lumby that I've heard is so good was closed, so I made do with a gas station sandwich. The Mexican food truck and Bluenose Deli in Lavington were also closed. I managed to turn a block too soon in Vernon and add a 16% climb that went nowhere to my ride. Sigh. Feeling pretty rough at Falkland, but still with 60 kms to go, I went foraging in the Petro Can. I mixed up a concoction of chocolate milk and Java Monster energy drink. Good combination. I found a Chimichanga in their cooler, microwaved it, and had a little sit down. Finally, down the Monte Creek hill to Hwy 1, and a tailwind for 10 of the last 11 km. Done!! Mr Garmin says total climbing 11610 metres. Day 3 wildlife: 5 mule deer, two turkey vultures. Susan saw a moose just before Fauquier.

Final result: Still no dnf's in the Interior this year. Eight days is enough to recover from a 1200. Just barely. I still have what it takes to do long solo rides. But do I want to?

Go to: Result on Event Page (In Database)
Go to: Bob's Photos (86 Images - Flickr)


July 4, 2016