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Summer 400 - 2002 (August 10-11)

Harold Bridge


The late Spike Milligan, of Goon Show fame, set out to record his war time Royal Artillery experiences in a "Trilogy". It finished up as 4 books. What do you call a 4 book trilogy? (it is like a 3 wheeled bike). Whatever it is I feel I should complete mine about my 13th Super Randonneur Season.

I wrote about the April 20th 200, the May 4th 300, and the August 24th 600. It suggests I should write about the August 10th 400 to complete the "Quadology " The basic route concept was the same as we first used in 1988. Out to Yale, turn round and through Hope to Huntingdon/Sumas and onto Bellingham before heading north back to Burnaby. But this time our intrepid route coordinator found us some new roads to use, late in the day. For the slow pokes that meant route interpretation in the dark!

I am lucky, I can get on with plod without bothering if I have company or not. Just as well these days, I'm slow overall, even if I'm quick in short bursts (and they are getting shorter). The first obstacle, Fell Rd, straight up from the start, had me out the back right at the start and at that point I wasn't about to put in one of my bursts.

Along 7A (aka Barnet Hwy) I passed a rider, who I later got to know as Benjamin Lewis, dealing with a flat tyre. At Mission a coffee and muffin seemed in order and Tim Horton's are but a block off route. By that time Benjamin had re-passed me and I was the last one at the Kilby control staffed by my friend Sandra. I got there to find Wayne Harrington fighting both a flat tyre and the mosquitoes. His mini pump gives him 60psi and he needed 80. My old-fashioned frame fit pump provided that. By Woodside Wayne had vanished and again I was "Lanterne Rouge".

As I climbed the ramp up from the end of Hwy 7 to join Hwy 1 I saw Eric sprinting through the "bear left" into Hope with the sound of an approaching semi's horn in his ears.

It was a surprise when, between Lake of the Woods and Yale Benjamin caught me. The abbreviated route instructions indicate 41 km on Hwy 7 from Kilby to the junction with Hwy 1 at Haig. To the unsuspecting that is a trap. At Agassiz Hwy 7 makes a definite right turn where it joins Hwy 9. Distracted by the charms of some of the "Bikeathon" riders that was taking place Ben had managed to get all the way to Harrison Hot Springs before finding out he was off course!

At Yale there was no sign of Wayne and I assumed he was across the road in the restaurant, although I couldn't see his bike. I left Ben to his sandwich with the excuse he would soon catch me. It was a tough solo ride all the way to Hope where Wayne, who pulled in just behind me, said he had been about 100 metres behind me all the way with Ben a bit further back.

I was pleased with progress to this point, I was on schedule and, with the headwind ride to Chilliwack in mind, took a few minutes respite again. Mountains do strange things to airflow and the headwind/tailwind trip wasn't as bad as I had anticipated. At Chilliwack Wayne, Benjamin and I were together and remained so the rest of the trip. While Wayne and I repaired to the Tim Horton's next door Ben made do with 7/11 fair not realising there was a TH right there!

At the border it was close to lighting up time. But the initial ride was on well known roads as far as Sorenson Rd where we ignored Goodwin Road's groove to the south and continued west into unknown territory. I had equipped the bike with a McGuire owned 4-D cell pack designed to power the Cateye Micro Halogen. I also had a Cateye LED and of course my Union halogen headlamp powered by a Union BB generator.

(Today, 2003-March-19, I found the above in my "routes" file. As I excused the submission by stating at the top I had written about all the events that led me into my 13th (and final?) Super Randonneur season I felt I should complete and send this to Madam Editor. I don't think the event got another report).

Completing this after about 6 months means I have to dig deep into what passes for a mind. In Everson I found that the generator was playing up. But it only needed a tap. Night time navigation on rarely used roads slowed us down and there was a detour or 2 when I lead the others astray through thinking I knew where I was going. Once on State Route #542, Mount Baker Highway, I thought my troubles were over. However the left turn onto Britton Road was a lot further out of Bellingham than I had assumed. But Wayne gallantly chased me down and turned me back to where Ben waited for us.

We arrived at Denny's, Bellingham in time for a control at 23:53, giving us a 3hours and 18minutes margin on dead line at what is claimed to be 317.8 km. We felt justified in sitting back and enjoying a relaxed meal before hitting the road again, which we did soon after 01:00.

The roads through Bellingham have been used often enough that there was no navigation problem until we got to Ferndale. There we had to tread carefully to find our way onto the worst bit of road in North America, Portal Way. That 9 km of broken and unshouldered road seemed to last forever and we stopped at the Texaco more to get off the accursed road than for the coffee.

The control was to be in the Canada Customs at Pacific Highway, #15. But when we got there the Customs man was standing outside waiting for us! From there a series of zig-zags, where pieces of Croydon Drive featured on a regular basis, took through Surrey. Were we got as far west as 132nd St.

After descending what will henceforward be known as "Blanche Hill" to the Pattullo Bridge, we (I, anyway) struggled up that brutal little bank to Queen's Park. That left us with nothing more to do than follow New Westminster and Burnaby back streets until finally at 07:32 we were welcomed by at the finish by John and Danelle.