Newsletter - 2002 Archive

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Happy 135th Canada!

Harold Bridge


I think the Canada Day Randonnee benefited from my decision that I should ride it! That meant that someone else was organising and we all benefited from that! There wasn't a green banana in sight! But that wasn't the reason I fobbed off the job onto Ian Stephen. My plans for this year included doing a lot of riding. But, as it turned out I need more time for recovery than I used to do. As a result by the end of June I was only at about 5,500 km for the year. Of course that season we loosely refer too as spring (wring?) didn't help.

Whether or not the usual gang were around by then I was intent on starting at the opening of the start control at 08:00 and with Norm Brodie set out sharp on time. I was relying on the old adage: "Rain before 7, fine by eleven" and sure enough that nasty introduction to July cleared up and we had a dry ride, albeit a rather drafty one.

I was the leader for about 3 km at which point an aerobar ensconced young rider glided past to be followed by even more rapid riders. The route along 72nd Av, down 256th St and east on 60th Av is so familiar that my front wheel didn't need any guidance from me. Crossing 264th St avoids the somewhat busy intersection at 56th Av close by the Freeway and is an improvement I think.

Soon after crossing over from Langley to Abbotsford 56th Av drops fairly steeply to cross Nathan Creek with a deceptive left hand bend at the bottom. To catch the inattentive rider unawares the municipal road maintenance people leave a large gap in the road surface on the right hand side just before the bend. It's been like that for several years, we should complain.

Changing onto the 37" bottom gear (39x28) made more sense than my initial plan to stay on the 45" (39x23), I'm not going to break records. As I pedaled sedately up to 58th Av Ted Milner drew up alongside to discuss the August 600 route. And then he was gone, in a flash, only to pass us again before turning onto Olund Road. The slight detour involved in using Olund and Bates Roads is worthwhile I think, as it avoids that narrow, and busy stretch of Harris Road into Matsqui.

Both Norm and I found it advantageous to stop in Clayburn to make use of the porta potty thereby giving a more comfortable climb up to Straiton. As predicted Norm glided away and did so with my blessing. He was beginning to feel his tights were superfluous and I suggested he get to the control and take them off. Susan Barr looked very comfortable as she spent a few minutes in conversation before she too glided away into the distance.

Norm was still disentangling his legs from the tights when I got to the Control where Bates and Laidlaw looked like Colonial Estate managers enjoying the shade of the plantation's bungalow verandah. A quick bite into a date square and we were away almost with the Street / Richard gang.

On the descent I sat up a bit too soon and the computer recorded a mere 69.9 kph. Round the bend into Kilgard I was wondering how many people missed the turn onto Indian Road and went round 2 sides of the triangle. Confusion! Indian Road is no more. In an attempt to be politically correct it is now Kilgard Rd and as Norm and I approached North Parallel Rd we saw the Street / Richard gang cross the end of Kilgard after their diversion.

The ease with which we sailed along Keith Wilson Road found us reluctant to make full use of the conditions with thoughts of the ride west and south from Vedder. At Vedder Sharon Street and David Blanche had everything under control. Five minutes of food, drink and a laugh or two found both Norm and I anxious to get to the public facility in Yarrow. In fact, why don't we move the Vedder control to the Park in Yarrow, right by the toilets?

Despite our misgivings about the anticipated tough ride beyond Vedder there were some surprisingly easy and fast sections. I can only put it down to the mountains deflecting the air currents. However, Vye Road was tough as we were clear of Vedder Mountain.

More food and chat with Shackleford and Caton at Huntingdon. Another control that could be, with Canada Customs approval, moved to the border facility for access to toilets without an unplanned detour. Once on Huntingdon Rd we knew we had 12.9 km into the teeth of a strong wind. But again, the first part was surprisingly easy. Once we had turned north the wind was right behind us and as we approached the hill down 264th St it seemed that a ride inside 6:30 was possible. But at River Road, despite the 74.6 kph down the hill, we were a few minutes shy. But the actual 135 km point was possible and with no distance concerns left I put the hammer down and Norm hung on. 135 was inside 6:30 and Mrs Stephen signed us in at the finish at 14:33.

A good day out.