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Summit Finish 200
Ride Report
Ride Date: July 8, 2023
by Dan Parke

I was contemplating doing an upcoming 300K event (Whatcom Wamble), but I happened to notice a 200K that looked much more convenient. Rather than driving out to Langley, and finding a place to sleep for the night, the Summit Finish 200 had a North Shore start allowing me to ride to the start. I did notice the elevation gain was an eyewatering 3554m, but hey, I guess that was the tradeoff for convenience.

The weather was shaping up to be quite pleasant. It had cooled down a bit from the previous few days, and even rained a bit overnight to freshen up the air. The ride along Marine Drive to the start was beautiful, as it always is at that time of the day. A small but enthusiastic group rolled out from the start and headed north, retracing Marine Drive, past HBay, and onto the Sea to Sky Highway. I have very mixed feelings about this stretch of road. I have ridden it dozens of times, and man is it spectacular. But... and it's a big one: it has become really, really, really busy, especially on weekends, with a constant parade of vehicles jockeying to get to Squamish/Whistler/Wherever all festooned with mountain bikes/kayaks/whatever. Please can someone put together a reasonable train service that could get people to Whistler and back without driving.

Having been around long enough to remember riding on the old highway, which was an absolutely terrifying 2 lane running-with-the-bulls experience, the new highway is on the whole not that bad. It's just noisy and not exactly pleasant. The shoulders are mostly decent, and at this time of the year anyways, largely free of debris.

Not surprisingly, with the rollers, the group split up and I spent most of the time riding to Porteau Cove with Cheryl L. A quick turnaround and it was back to HBay, and back along Marine Drive for the 3rd time that morning. Marine Drive was now quite busy with bikes and cars, and we did come across an accident scene that unfortunately involved a cyclist (not a rando). We had to dismount and walk around, and it was a harsh reminder to be vigilant out there. I said a silent little prayer wishing the cyclist well, and continued on.

The ride across Lions Gate, through Stanley Park and out to UBC was pleasant and scenic, and actually quite relaxing. I give full credit to the City of Vancouver for making the city really easy to get around on with a bike. It's not perfect, but it has come a long ways. A quick stop at the 100K mark just past UBC allowed enough time for a sit down and snacks (thanks John and Malou). This halfway mark was actually quite deceptive, as almost all the climbing on this route was stacked onto the back end - so I figured it was more like the 1/3rd mark in reality.

Anyways, over to the Arbutus bikeway, then through False Creek, and a straight shot on the Adanac bike route to get to Ironworkers Bridge, then out to Deep Cove. From UBC to Deep Cove I traded off with Luis B, who was tapping out a good measured pace. We stopped for all of 1 minute in busy Deep Cove, then pressed on to the Seymour Dam. The Demonstration forest road is one of the best roads imaginable, especially on a hot summer day, as it is mostly in shade and even on a weekend is not crowded.

Then a quick blast back down the road, and over to Lynn Valley, where things started to get rowdy. The road tilted up Dempsey - way up - at a distressing grade. And it was now afternoon, the sun was blazing right in my face, and the tarmac was heating up and radiating heat. Chris C and Dave K had reminded us at the start to keep up on the nutrition and hydration for this ride, and from this point on, it was pretty much critical. So, lots of water down the gullet, lots of water to soak my head and neck, and lots of guzzling of electrolytes.

Across the high road to Capilano and up to Grouse Mountain, with another quick turnaround then over the Capilano Dam. Then the real climbing began - across Chippendale and up Cypress. I have been up Cypress many times, so I wasn't too intimidated, but... the legs were now feeling all the climbing, and I was 10 hours into the ride, it was getting rather hot, and Luis B was now somewhere out of sight up ahead. So this was going to be a solo slogfest.

At the bottom, the speed was around 12kph, and I managed to kick it up a bit where things flattened out a bit. But as the road climbed, the speed dipped to 10, then 9, then 8. I figured that I could probably walk at a brisk pace at maybe 6 or 7kph, so it was getting a bit depressing. However, I just looked down at the front wheel, watched the tarmac slowly scroll by, and used every mental trick in the book to keep moving.

The route flattened out close to the top, giving some immediate relief, and suddenly everything was looking good. Weird how quickly things can change. Finally pulled in to the welcome sight of the faster finishers. That wasn't so bad after all - a great day of riding altogether. And no thanks, I don't want to do it again next week. Next year? A definite maybe.


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Go to: Lower Mainland Summer Series Results

July 13, 2023