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November Flood Route
Permanent Brevet #216: "Chilliwack Flood Route"
Ride Date: November 2, 2022
by Gary Baker

In the past I had a reasonably lengthy string of BC12 permanent awards. With the COVID 'gap' followed by shoulder surgery (Sept. 2021) and a lengthy recover period, it wasn't until this month that I again was confronted with task of getting a November ride in. Two hundred km (or longer) rides during the four 'dreaded' storm months can really be a test of will. I ride COLD, COLD, COLD. Nov. 2 on paper looked to be the best opportunity to ride 'sans' rain or gusty winds for the better part of the month. Perfect 'no', as it was gong to be cold out here in the upper Fraser Valley, temperatures with wind chill below Zero C and with the humidity in the high 80% s.....Black Ice alert!!!!! Back to COLD... the challenge for me is finding the balance between staying warm, particularly my 'thumbs' and 'toes' without drowning in my own sweat when the pace cranks up. Try as I have, I've yet to get this balance right and I didn't on this ride either.

A call of nature demanded that I stop. As I'm faster than Karen she continued on with the knowledge that I'd reel her in. Back on the bike I knew what Karen's cruising speed was and decide to up my pace by about 3-4kph, quicker but not spirited. Oh no, not a dreaded "Road Closed' barrier with detour directions. Did Karen take the detour or attempt to ride through? Nine times out of ten cyclists can get around road closures, I chose to ride on hoping that Karen had done the same. The road was definitely closed,! Where was Karen? The flagger had suggested she duck through a barbed wire fence and walk through a field to get past the machinery. He said, "I assume she got through, she hasn't come back." Off I went. As the ground was dry and firm I decided I could ride along the fence until there was a gap I could get through. Back on pavement, I covered over 6km before catching up to Karen at the Agassiz Bridge. The next control (there were 16 in all....?) was at the Cheam Wet Lands Regional Park. Of course my base layer, light jersey and GoreTex jacket were soaked in sweat. My feet and hands were warm (thanks to HotHands glove and insole inserts) but I was freezing and I really didn't get comfortably warm again for the remaining 155km of the ride.

P # 216 is a route that Karen designed during the November storms last year when Chilliwack was completely cut off from the rest of the province. It meanders back and forth from the Vedder Canal to the west and The Cheam Wet Lands to the east. To say it was flat is an understatement. We crossed over Hwy #1 four times and did the gentle climb from the flat lands up to the Agassiz round about twice (different routes). There is such a thing as route being TOO flat. One tends not to move around much on the bike, positional rigor mortis tends to set in!

We finished safely and in good was a good day on the bike.

I can't wait until December and to face the prospect of doing another 'COLD' Permanent.


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November 6, 2022