|Newsletter - 2000 Archive|
During the week prior to the inaugural Canada Birthday Randonnee the temperatures climbed up into the high twenties or worse & there were visions of flaked out bodies to be collected on those long open stretches across Sumas Prairie. Then the weather persons annouced the arrival of Cloud! Great! That was followed on Friday by predictions of showers! Bad! Summer showers during a ride have some benefits, but complicate protection of the paperwork at the start & at the controls.
The day dawned with high cloud cover & barely a zephyr to disturb the sign-on sheets. Despite a lack of direction from the organiser his volunteers, Maureen Mol, Crystal Dalyce & Keith Fletcher, kept things rolling so that the majority of the 71 entrants got away by the 09:00 start time. In compliance with municipal requirements to avoid large enmasse starts we allowed some of the newcomers to get away early. The first away were Cheryl Lynch & Keith Nicol who had volunteered to staff a control but wanted to do the ride as well. So they got away at 08:00 to give them time to open up Straiton Community Hall at the first control at 38.8 km. Later, Ian Faris arrived with a copy of the start sheet & took over the control from them.
Once over Sumas Mountain it was virtually billiard table time all the way to the 63.8km control at Vedder, in the shadow of closed down Canadian Forces Base, Chilliwack. There, Bruce Mol & Thomas Johnson were doing a roaring trade in water, bananas, & muffins at this, the turn around point. The inevitable result of riding east is that one has to turn round & face the wind for the run home. Although flat, there are enough turns to keep riders on their toes with regard to route directions into the back of Huntingdon. There, right by the border customs control, Nobo Yonemitsu and Doug Cho were relaxing in their chairs awaiting the hungry, thirsty hordes. They also had an excellent view of the long line of car bound folk intent on spending the Canada Day holiday in the USA.
Strictly speaking, there should have been a control at or near Aldergrove Lake Park @ 111 kms. But the threat that there MIGHT be one was good enough. With the finish control opening at the Fort Pub at 13:13 there was a possibility that Ted Milner would get there ahead of the forward sweep vehicle. But fortuneately, he had gone off course & had a flat so it was a few minutes after control opening times before he appeared.
His arrival at the Fort at 13:24 opened up a 5 hour session on the covered patio in which food & Guinness (others chose lesser brews) got intermingled with signing cards, writing down names & handing out pins. Once Bobs Bose & Bailey arrived the decorum went down & the noise went up. Don't be fooled by their white hair! It was probably the noisiest finish control we have encountered, everyone was in high spirits despite having to share the patio with smokers. About 17:30 Cliff Green, who spent the day driving "Sweep", arrived to announce that the last 2 riders on the road, Bob Marsh & Wes Sheldon, were closing in on us. They duly arrived at 17:49 to finalise the finish control. Wes confirmed that the route is a long tough one for someone who hasn't been riding a bike very much!
With the paperwork & one or two imbroglios sorted out, it became evident that there were 68 finishers. Neil Jorgensen we knew about, he had to quit due to a back problem. But his wife & son completed. A phone call to Roger Amy explained the other 2. Roger had taken that tricky descent on 56th Av, at about 16km/hr, too fast & finished up doing a face plant in the bushes on the bend. That was no problem, but he folded up his front wheel. His companion, Roy Neifer, went back for his vehicle & took Roy home. Missing rider problem solved.
The anticipated rain did not materialise & the temperature appeared to be ideal. The most difficult climb, from Clayburn to Straiton, about 5kms up the west side of Sumas Mountain was a struggle for some. But it is such a beautiful ride, largely through the trees, that no one complained. We have to enjoy it while we can, before real estate interests take over.
As we drove the 1km or so to the Albion Ferry enroute for home it started to rain. The Sun does certainly Shine on the Righteous!