Newsletter - 2003 Archive

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Breaking New Ground On The Sunshine Coast

Harold Bridge


A bunch of keeners from the Sechelt region tasted randonneur delicacies last year for the first time. They were keen enough to want to organise their own events where others had to take ferry rides instead of them.

In the route coordinator's ignorance he assumed there was only room for "Short Rides" when in fact the 150, 100, and 50 km routes they devised left a lot of roads unused. Just as well, the roads that were used included some miserable hills.

At the invitation of Loraine Proctor and Bob Irvine the Route Coordinator spent Thursday May 1 struggling round the 150 km route for almost 12 hours. They were very patient. That ride convinced the Route Coordinator that on the day of the events he would only tackle the 100.

Sunday, May 25 at 07:30 found a goodly crowd of Rando types, and non-rando types as well, heading out to sea on the good ship "Queen of Esquimalt". We feared for the security of the bikes as the old tub shuddered under the stress of turning. But every thing remained upright and we docked at Langdale on schedule at 08:20 with 40 minutes to get to the Gibsons start 5 km away.

The 3-distance format attracted 42 riders, a number that pleased Brad, Loraine, Dave Bates and Bob. Some careful navigation was required round the back streets of Gibsons but once on the highway the route was fairly straight forward. With all the detours on the seaward side of the highway it meant that left turns were required.

It would seem prudent to revise that so that the highway is used all the way to the top turns and use the detours on the way back to give right hand turns on and off the highway. However, there are reasons for the present lay out. They are to do with which hills we descend and which hills we climb and nobody wants that aspect to be any more severe than it is already!

As a poor hill climber the Route man was soon out the back with so many hills to climb. At Roberts Creek he found Madam Prez and Derek dealing with a flat tyre. On Flume Road the final pitch up to the Highway had him walking. A look back revealed the puncture victims about to start that climb and it was assumed they would catch him. But no, they didn't appear until "Routes" was having breakfast across the road from the Sechelt Control that was located at the "On the Edge" bike shop. Jack Sharkey was also pressing on at that time. All the others were long gone.

Approaching the climax of the 100 route "Routes" could see Frances and Derek further "UP" the road. At the left turn (for the 100 route) onto Mercer Road they were in deep consultation about the options; give up on the 150 and do the 100, or press on up the highway to Madeira Park and Garden Bay. As "Routes" made the left turn they had decided on the 100. Frances asked "Routes" what the rest of the 150 was like and learnt it was very nice. As they turned back "Routes" offered that the 21:00 ferry was a safeguard. That produced a rather sharp response from Madam Prez! But, back onto the highway they went, never to be seen again!

The delightful 2 or 3 km of Mercer Road ended back at the highway and the mid-point control staffed by Susan. "Routes" suggested that to return on Mercer Road would be nicer than the highway but was informed it would miss an uphill!

From there it was 21 km on the Highway back into Sechelt where a scrumptious feast awaited us, fruit, banana bread, cookies and coffee. I felt I deserved a rest and 15 minutes passed by very quickly. At that point, about 14:00, the "150" riders were catching me up and I left with Spicer, Richard et al and was near enough to see them glide away on the hill south out of town.

Life was becoming a struggle and the last 29 km into the back streets of Gibsons seemed to last too long. And were made longer by the sting in the tail; Gower Point Road, with but 5 km to go. That was the one reason I was wearing my un-cleated Duegi touring shoes instead of my cleated wooden soled sprinters' Duegis.

I finished back at Molly's Reach (complete with the ghosts of Relic et al) where Loraine Proctor was sitting enjoying the sun and the breeze as she signed my card at 15:31, just a tad too late to catch the 16:00 ferry. But it gave Wayne and I an excuse to go to the Pub for a late lunch, early dinner.

It was a tough ride, but the change of scene, the ideal weather, and the efforts that had been made on our behalf as well as the camaraderie made it a worthwhile jaunt.

Our thanks to Loraine, Brad, Bob and Dave for their efforts.