|Odds & Ends||
Allow me to, in the words of the late beloved Richard Nixon, make one thing perfectly clear: doing a randonnee with Ted Milner and Keith Fraser is not a warm, fuzzy, cuddly kind of experience. It is not a bucolic sashaying o'er hill and dale. There is no spontaneous outbreaks of song. There is no unbridled merriment. Talking, while not actually forbidden, is definitely discouraged. For Keith and Ted the lonely long distance runner was just another party animal. If you seek camaraderie and a nurturing experience with your fellow riders, please find another pace line. But if you have a craving for physical and mental suffering, they have a goblet of pain with enough nectar to slake any thirst. Am I coming over loud and clear? - The Terminators take no prisoners.
Now this background information leads to one perfectly natural question: "Gar, old buddy, what the hell are you doing riding with these two? Yes, that's a perfectly natural question and one I prefer not to answer. You see, after years of therapy with Dr. Munchmiles, my rando-psychiatrist, I have discovered an identity problem. One side of me - the sunny, social half (let's call him Mr. Small Ring) enjoys a reasonable romp through the countryside with lots of rose sniffing time. The other side of me (Mr. Big Ring) disdains any effort below cardiac arrest zone. Mr. Big Ring loves the Terminator Twins. Mr. Big Ring would like to be one of the Terminator Triplets. And so we get to the heart of the matter - herein is the tale of how "Mr. Big Ring Went On A 400 Kilometre Trip With the Terminator Twins and learned How To Stop Worrying and Love The Bonk".
For the plucky randonneurs who departed
from Boundary and Broadway (Vancouver) at 05:00 on Saturday 4th
June 1994, the leaden skies promised more than a chance of rain.
Wet stuff was guaranteed. It was written in the clouds. Keith,
Ted and I pondered this for 6.2 seconds, lowered our heads to
our aero bars and started our ride . Ted kicked things off with
a quasi-legal leap through a traffic light (something about a
Merlin not having enough steel to trigger the switching
I thought Ted had settled into a nice tempo but Keith obviously decided that a sub-anaerobic pace was for wussies and he quickly surged to the front and heaped another 2 kph onto our plates - thanks bro. I wish my account of the first 60 or so km could be spruced up with lots of colourful details about the scenery etc. But, well, I didn't see any scenery. I saw Keith's bum, Ted's bum, a little bit of open road. Some times I saw Ted's bum, Keith's bum, and then a little bit of open road. The Terminators are great guys and I'm sure they have great bums, if you are into that sort of thing, but I'm a little old fashioned and I prefer babbling brooks and golden wheat fields. Now I'm sure there are bushels of babbling brooks and acres of golden wheat fields in the Fraser Valley ( I know there are, I get those bank calendars every year) but dammit I never saw 'em.
One of the really nice things about randonneuring is all the wonderful chichi dining spots you encounter... like, for instance, the Petro Canada in Abbotsford. Their menu offers an exquisite selection of candy bars and potato chips and their wine list is to die for. I recommend the '94 Chateau Gatorade Lemon Lime. A saucy little vintage, perhaps a touch impudent but pleasing nonetheless. While I sampled this delightful cuisine, the Twins ate their bag lunches. Heh, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around!
Four minutes of respite and back on the hogs. Along South Parallel we flew with Snowbird precision. Hunkered down over our aero-bars we presented a minimum profile to the wind. My on board computer read in the low 40's for great chunks of road. This was indeed Big Ring heaven and it would last for ever, dammit! Nothing was going to stop us now! We weren't going to stop until we ran out of land! Well, at least until we reached Hell's Gate.
We docked the rocket in Hope five minutes before the control opened. Would this be a time to share some of the morning's memorable moments? Would I be able to use these extra seconds to bond with the Twins? Ha ha ha! You're one funny guy Mr. Small Ring! Boom! Put your foot down! Boom! Get bottle filled! Boom! Go to washroom! Boom! Get card signed! Boom! Swing leg back over bike! Bye Bye Hope.
On the big climb out of town the unthinkable happened I got shelled out the back. Spat out. Discarded. The twins scampered up the hill and I discovered that my mighty pistons had been filled with porridge. ( Hello Mr. Small Ring! I wondered where you'd been...). Amazingly, all was not lost. In a rare moment of sentiment the Twins eased back at the top and I managed to rejoin them. I wasn't entirely sure if this was a blessing or a cruel attempt at Terminator humour. Regardless, there I was - back with the lads and blasting along again. The trip to Hell's Gate was uneventful, if climbing a hill with your tongue scraping the front tyre can be called uneventful.
We paused at the turnaround for more Boom! Boom! and we were off again. The descent proved to be easier than the climb up - it's funny how that works isn't it? After a while we started running into our pedalling colleagues. First Peter Stary and Phil Minter cruised by. Anna Bonga and company followed along shortly. Mike Hagen came into view and disappeared quickly (as brevet organiser he had started his ride one hour later and missed the bonding experience with the Twins.....poor guy). Shortly before descending the hill back into Hope we ran across Harold Bridge. Why is he always so dammed cheerful? Mr. Big Ring hates that!
By the time we reached the Seabird Island Cafe, the Gods decided enough was enough. Bath time, Mr. Big Ring. Little sprinkles turned into large sprinkles. Large sprinkles turned into a torrential downpour. I admit it, I got wet. And yet, things were not all bad. Because we had ourselves a tail wind. Whoo Eee! We gonna fly, down into that easy chair.
All along the sodden Lougheed we sped. Bridge requests 40 kms per hour? No problem Scotty, the engines can handle it. Up over the Maryhill Bypass (and lemme tell you, it was raining so hard even Mary had gone home) and back into town rode the rocket When we arrived at that excellent little Scottish restaurant at Boundary and Broadway the time chimed 12:39. Okay, it didn't actually chime, but it should have. 12:39! Yes! An average of 3:10 per 100km or two 6:20 200s back to back. (Hmm, did we miss a 50km section because of the rain guys?). Mr. Big Ring was happy. Mr. Big Ring tried to show he wasn't happy but, oops, the mask slipped. Oh oh, it's Mr. Small Ring under there after all! Bad Mr. Small Ring - you don't belong in the Terminator Club!
Postscript: Mr. Small Ring showed up for the 600, determined to ride with the Twins. Uh uh. On a really long, brutish climb Mr. Small Ring turned into a crispy bit of toast. The Terminators don't like toast on long rides. Bye Bye Mr. Small Ring.
Gary and Keith, July 1994
Photo (top): Keith and Ted, 1995