Newsletter - 2002 Archive

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"Winter" Peace Populaire

E. W. [Wim] Kok


There are some who suggest that one can tell that spring in the North has arrived judging by the number of cyclists on the road. Well, there were cyclists on the road on April 7, 2002, but that's about the only sign of 'spring' in the Peace region. The long-term forecast called for below normal temperatures for March, April and May. Those forecasts are certainly coming true. In addition, we have been blessed/dumped on with two significant snowstorms. The first one occurred during Easter, when we a full-fledged blizzard left some twenty centimeters of snow; it was Christmas come early or late: take your pick. Then, this past Friday we had an other one of those spring storms moving through, leaving yet another trail of seven to eight centimeters of the white stuff behind. Jack Frost remains active, or for the Europeans among us King Thialf reigns (or should it be snows?) with an iron fist. It certainly makes spring training for cycling a challenge. Just wondering, if one shouldn't start thinking about a different sport, like baseball in the majors. Gosh, spring training in Florida, mmmm..........something to contemplate.

Notwithstanding the above, seven brave and dour souls appeared at the start for the 25 km and 50 km Populaire. Some just participated in it for training, and because they love cycling. Hmmm? Cloudy conditions with temperatures hovering at -12 0C. Add a northerly headwind at 15-20 kph, and you have a wind chill of -19 0C. The skies looked like it might snow on us again, but that it did not. So off we went with four riders opting for the 50 km, and three for the 25 km up the Alaska Highway. Incidentally, the road was clear and dry. As we rolled north, a couple of snowmobiles zipped past us on a deep snow covered right-of-way. Oh what fun it is to ride........! Pickup trucks with firewood came out of the bush and were heading south to town. Did they know something we did not? By the time we hit the turnaround at MP 64.5 our water bottles were filled with mini-icebergs. When we arrived at the finish line, some riders had ice in their beards.

Aside from the dramatics of the cold conditions, the ride went well. Being dressed warm makes all the difference. Three riders finished the 50 ride in 2:15 hrs, and one in 2:23 hrs. The 25 km riders completed the ride in just under two hours, the third rider being rescued at 21 km with a flat tire. This is the stuff that makes a good story, as one reminisces. Ah, time to put another log on the fire.