Newsletter - 2002 Archive

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Naniamo Populaire

Stephen Hinde


Great weather, despite forecasts and recent experience, greeted 33 riders for the Nanaimo Populaire. Of these, 28 would complete the 100 km distance, and 5 the 50 km option. All this in addition to the 6 riders who rode the organizers ride the previous day. Definitely a banner performance for the earliest ride of the season. (OK, Mike Poplawski captured that honour on New Year's Day, but I consider that to be still last year!)

Tim Horton's in Chase River again hosted the start/mid-point/finish controls, and what a wonderful location it is--lots of parking, comfortable seating, and lots of munchies. Special thanks to Jim Kirby who manned that control--mind you, he single-handedly increased TH share value. After touring through the old mining district of Harewood, the riders emerged into the views of Departure Bay, and soon descended into Lantzville, where Carol Hinde was manning a "secret" control. Considering there is a secret control in the same location every year, it must've been no surprise to the many repeat riders as they consumed Tim Bits, bananas, and water. All went well, except for a couple of riders who didn't realize they were at the northern end of the route, and decided to head for Port Hardy (well, a little ways, anyway).

Flats--at least the bikes have them, because the course doesn't. Brad Maguire, on his recumbent, took dubious honours with 7 for the day.

Remember the recent Olympic figure skating fiasco? Keith Brown took a try at the gold, but came up short with a 4.3 for technical merit, and a miserable 3.5 for artistic impression. Next time, moan and writhe a little, eh? Besides, that was melted ice!

After the mid-point (and welcome end for the 50 k'ers) the route climbs up to Extension, another old coal mining community. Another secret control for all but the fast pair of Chris Hofstrand and Michael Brinsmead. Anyway, they were going too fast to enjoy even more Tim Bits and bananas.

After a small detour up and around the airport, the rider's again checked in with Carol at the southern end of the route in Yellowpoint. Only 3 small hills later, and an easy 20 km ride back to Nanaimo, but for a few stragglers, a little rain. Oh, and Frances Caton, who managed to wrap her chain I don't know where, and had to be rushed off for minor (bike) surgery, fortunately finishing with just enough time for another Tim Bit.

Everyone had a great time, and I know they're pumped for the 200 km, which is only moderately rolling.