Newsletter - 2002 Archive

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Mike Pop's Pop On New Year's Day


How To Make 100 km Seem to be a Long Way

Harold Bridge

I had already decided I wanted to ride this event before I found out it started and finished at a Hostelry! Christie's Carriage House Pub were very cooperative and put on coffee for us and allowed registration to take place inside while the staff cleared up from the previous night's festivities. Of course, they expected I suppose, to get some trade from the somewhat bedraggled participants at the finish. They did!

There was a complication for me in that a friend had invited me to visit him at his Mayne Island home during the holiday. My plans to leave truck at Tsawwassen were dropped when Mike Poplawski asked for signage and pins and I thought I would be taking them to Vancouver Island. But I wasn't able to collect the signs Friday night at "Spinning" and I was to be on my way at 06:00 on the Saturday morning. However, given the variable weather I think it was prudent to cough up the vehicle fare ont’ fry. I'm sure John and Danelle think so too. We would have all been very miserable riding back to Swartz Bay on Tuesday, Jan 1st, evening. But Mike got his signs. John and Danelle were able to lash them onto their single wheeled trailer they use instead of panniers.

Mike had e-mailed the route info to me so that I was able to rehearse the route in my mind with the aid of a map. Then, on Monday 31st I arrived at Swartz Bay from Mayne Island with all afternoon to use and I decided to drive the route even though most of it I knew from previous exposure. But with over 80 lines of route instructions it is a big benefit to know where one is to go and I was able to ride the whole route without referring to the route sheet. In the pouring rain that is a plus!

Staying at Mike's place had the advantage of being within sight of Christie's and so with my registration being dealt with the night before I was right ready to go at 10:00. Others from the Mainland arrived ont' 07:00 Ferry were Wayne Harrington, Larry Voth, Frances Caton and Derek Shackleford. We all agreed, I think, that this was going to take between 5:30 and 6:00.

I'm not sure why but the first few kilometres were ridden alone. It seems others were reluctant to start. But it wasn't long before the crowd was swishing by. On such a convoluted route that twists and turns, both horizontally and vertically, my progress was quite erratic and apart from Ken Bonner spending a few kilometres with his brakes on during the early part of the route and the Bates/Laidlaw tandem likewise impeded into Victoria I rode very much alone.

About 25% into the route the drab conditions let go and at Island View Road's crossing of Hwy 17 it was time to don my rain jacket. Watching the average speed function on my Cateye, I was working on getting it to read 19 instead of 18. But as soon as I stopped it slid back and my efforts to improve upon it were constantly thwarted by another hill. The long, flat few kilometres into Sidney helped a little until I came upon a rider walking a flat tyre. I stopped to see if I could help. He had used his one spare and had no patch kit. In those conditions roadside repairs are seldom successful. The only thing I could have done was leave him with one of my spare tubes. As a great believer in Murphy's Law I was reluctant to do that. He'd got a wife to phone anyway.

After I had used the 7/11 in Sidney for control purposes I found the lady staffing the official control a few metres up Resthaven Road. In the meantime Larry and Wayne also went into 7/11 followed by Frances and Derek. As I left the official control I saw, to my surprise, John and Danelle going into the 7/11. Either they weren't taking this event seriously or they were on their second lap!?

The ride round Land's End, despite the rain, was a delight. This was mainly due to the lack of traffic. Earlier on I was quite surprised that on the morning of New Year's Day there was so much traffic on the roads. Just before the left turn onto Downey (Uppey?) the tandem sidled up to me and I had the chagrin of watching it glide away up that grunt toward West Saanich Road.

My CBS is equipped with a 50/39 double ring and a 14,15,16,17,19,23,28 block. With minimal luggage and Michelin Axial Pros tyres I find that a 37-inch bottom gear gets me up most hills. But I wasn't looking forward the worst one coming as it does at 96 km into this route. More of that later…
The ride south on West Saanich seemed to go on forever and I had the feeling I had missed the turn off for Interurban. However I found it and shortly thereafter the Control at Colquitz. At Sidney my computer jived with the official distance (36.4 v 36.6). At Colquitz I was slightly under 80 whereas the control was 80.5. Here I joined John and Danelle in the Subway and the hot choc and muffin helped restore me.

I now have to make an admission. As I checked my route sheet for distance just now I realised my memory has let me down. At 67.4 km I was supposed to turn right on Wallace and re-emerge on West Saanich at 73.3 km. That explains why the ride to Interurban seemed different to what I drove the previous day. But distance wise, despite the Wallace loop apparent on the map, I didn't seem to lose any distance. But I guess I'm disqualified. I wonder if the knowledge there could have been a secret control down Wallace might have spurred my memory?

From this point on the ride becomes an urban drag into Victoria. But it was quite impressive as the wind whipped the Juan de Fuca Strait into a frothy cauldron along Beach Drive. By the time I got to King George Terrace my legs were complaining as I dropped into the 37" gear. I stood on the pedals to no effect and a short walk was in order. About 15 minutes later I finished with 102.3 km on the computer, the same as the official distance.

We thank Mike Poplawski and his band of helpers for laying this event on. I think it should be a regular feature of our season. Albeit, there will be some year's when it gets cancelled due to weather conditions. I trust Mike will add a list of riders and helpers for the Newsletter. Whatever, some of us have started the New Year RIGHT!