Newsletter - 2000 Archive

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600 in 24: Kamloops to Valemount & Back

Raymond Wagner


Could we? Should we? 600K in 24 hours. Sounds like a hell of thing to do! Peter Mahr and I were pretty much toasted after the Interior 400 and as we sat at Tim Hortons after that ride it seemed perhaps more of a challenge than our state of mind could fathom. A few days before the 600K I gave Peter a call to see where his head was at and like mine we would give it a whirl. With a ride plan in mind including a bail out option we met at the start, Heavly Creek store for the 06:00 departure. With 15 minutes to start no one else was visible, but then Bob and the few others appeared. I looked at my watch as it was now 6:00 am and although the rest of the participants didn't seem in too much of a rush, we were off. The first part of the route was a 7K loop. Halfway through we saw the rest of the randos on the road. We would soon see them again. Ten minutes later I get a front flat. Ever being one to monitor the time, the change was going s l o w l y. I pulled out a spare tube and handed it to Peter who promptly noted a patch on it. "You cheap #$%^@%" I recall hearing. Not to be insulted in such a manner I reached in my bag and grabbed a new tube. Upon installation I noted my pump seemed defective and then also Peter's. This 'new' tube was pulled and the trusted 'patched' spare was put into service. Magically my pump was now working. Turns out the new tube had a manufactures flaw with a ½" slit in a seam. Of course during this time everyone passes us with such quotes as "welcome to randoneurring".

The ride to Valemount is a gentle rolling road upstream along the North Thompson River. Beautiful wide paved shoulders for the most part and lovely scenery. After the flat tire we eventually catch up to Bob & partner on a tandem who have made a pit stop. A little wave and we continue to eventually ride along with another tandem and single. We hang together for a while but eventually part company with the tandem. The three of us, now including Michele Richard, take our pulls. After a stop at the control in Clearwater, Michele continues with us a bit further but his ride plan calls for an easier pace and a planned sleeper in Blue River so he lets us proceed ahead. We are making good time moving along at an average of about 30 kph, having a few rain showers, and giving ourselves adequate break time to pace a 24 hr finish. A tail wind near Valemount speeds us to the turn around but in return delivers a headwind we would rather do without. Fortunately the wind disappears and at one point we feel like Tour de France riders as we move along with a slight downhill at 40 kph. We meet everyone on the return leg with a smile and wave. Night fall sets in just after Blue River and we begin the 'follow the white line ride'. A wonderfully fresh painted white line is easy to see and follow in the light of your headlight. A few times through the night my eyes want to close. My legs are all right with pedaling but can't I do it with my eyes shut for awhile? Soon twilight appears and with it rain. The last 2 hours we are soaked but press on. We arrive happy to finish in 23:25. A high five, off for some breakfast and sleep. 600 in 24. Proud to say we done it; not too keen to do it again. However there still remains the Rocky 1200!