Newsletter - 2002 Archive

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100 Mile Challenge - aka - the Harrison Ford 200

Danelle Laidlaw


On Saturday, September 15th, seven of us gathered at the Hills Ranch at 108 Mile House to start the last big ride of the year - the 100 Mile, on/off road 200. Adrian Messner, the local organizer was on hand to explain the route to us and to bid us bon voyage. As we stood in the parking lot, a herd of horses galloped around the cars and past us - we knew right then, this was going to be an exciting day. But the fog was clearing and it promised to be sunny, and that it was.

As we headed down the gravel road from the Hills towards the highway, these same horses decided to run with us for a while. This was fine, until one cut right in front of the tandem. The emergency brake just about had me over the handlebars. Then another horse decided he would like to see what we were doing and charged right at us, turning away at the last moment. Whewww - it felt good to reach the highway in one piece.

From the Hills, the route takes you north to the 108 Ranch Rest Area where we started around 108 Mile lake on a pathway. Maintenance had recently been done on this pathway and new gravel/sand had been put down. Susan Barr called it the "knee-deep" sand and with our hearts in our mouths we muscled our way through this stuff, occasionally coming to a wobble, wobble stop. One of these, thankfully one well away from the water did have me over the handlebars - the landing was soft though. Roger Street did the same thing, and we all ended up walking a good chunk of this section. This made our time for the first control a bit tight. The lakes were just lovely to ride around (despite the sand). The mist was just rising off of them and the scene was idyllic.

The route goes around 108 Mile Lake and Sepa Lake (about 10 km) and then joins the road through the subdivision and out to the highway at 108 Mile to head south, up the 103 Mile hill (no, it is really less than a kilometer) and through 100 Mile House. After climbing the hill out of 100 Hill House, we turned off at Highway 24 and into the first control at Lone Butte. Because of the sluggish start, Harold Bridge and Keith Fletcher both missed the first control on time, but had a great breakfast at Meline's and headed back to 100 Mile via the back road. The rest of us, skipped breakfast but enjoyed coffee and cookies supplied by Sharon Street and headed off towards Green Lake. By this time, it was already getting hot and even Susan Barr had bare legs and bare arms - that must be a first.

Adrian was at the second control (a secret one) at the Watch Lake Lodge. Here we were back onto gravel down the side of Watch Lake and Pressy Lake. Before we got to the Pressy Lake Recreation Area, we encountered another "raiders-of-the-lost-ark-like" obstacle - a herd of cattle this time right across the road. We were on the downhill at the time and expected them to scatter but the cows were having none of it, hurry not being in their vocabulary, but rather just turned to stare at us. John and I were the first on this scene and managed to slow enough to dodge through them. We decided to pause and catch the others on film. Susan Barr's comment - at least it was the cows and not their fresh droppings!! Roger then coined the name - the Harrison Ford 200! It was turning out to be a real adventure.

Both Adrian and Sharon were at the Pressy control - just shortly after we arrived. John and I had brought a stamp in case we had to sign our own cards. But again, juice and cookies were supplied. We continued on a very decent gravel road to the end of Green Lake, then headed north again along the side of the lake (which is indeed green). Our lunch stop was to have been the Lost Horse Restaurant, but they closed just as we pulled up, so we carried onto Meline's and had the best fries in the Cariboo.

This stoked us up for the gentle climb up to the top of the hill, the amazing descent into 100 Mile, the gentle climb up, the descent to 108 Mile, the wicked rollers around the subdivision - back onto the lake trail. After significant whining and whinging to Adrian, he altered the route slightly, so that we could avoid the sand section - we exited onto the road to avoid that part of the route and headed back to 108 Mile Ranch. Even the gravel road up the Hills, did not hold any surprises for us on the way back.

John and I took advantage of Adrian's invite to meet his dogs (he has a dog sled team) and soak in his hot tub. It felt very good and was a great finish to the last ride of the season.

Thanks Adrian for putting on a great event; thanks Sharon for the great support; and thanks to Larry Voth, Susan Barr, Roger Street, John Bates, Harold Bridge, and Keith Fletcher for attending.