Newsletter - 2005 Archive

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Tour of the Cowichan Valley
Vancouver Island 200 km - April 9, 2005
by Stephen Hinde

To celebrate the 20th running of the Tour of Cowichan, 31 riders assembled at the Dancing Bean Café in Chemainus for the pre-ride registration and breakfast. According to one rider “it was just like France: a café full of cyclists, half asleep, with only the smell of coffee preventing total collapse.” It was cold and clear outside. Ken Bonner, who left his warm bed at 2 am to cycle over the Malahat to the start, said that his thermometer (only one of many instruments on his machine) read a steady 0 deg C the whole way. Organizer Stephen Hinde made a few last minute announcements (critical missing road signs etc.) and then pronounced the likelihood of rain as certain in Youbou. With such an auspicious announcement, the brevet was rolling. Most riders stayed in large groups until the first control in Shawnigan Village. After a quick chat with controller Carol Hinde, most were off to circle the lake. It was here that the first black clouds were spied. As we approached the second control in Glenora, the 2 100km riders pealed off for Duncan and Chemainus, and everyone else headed west. Distant clouds were gathering. Controller Nancy Munro helped riders through and on to the westbound leg. It is a real slog from Duncan to Lake Cowichan—steady uphill, no services, not much scenery, headwinds, and you’re tired. 2 riders ran out of energy, and turned back to Duncan for a reviving meal, and then took the direct route back to the start. The 27 remaining riders made it to Youbou, just in time for a light rain shower. Carol Hinde again checked the riders through, and with the promise of tailwinds, most hit the pavement in short order. Of course, the winds had to switch for a short while just to reassure everyone that you really do get headwinds in both directions at Lake Cowichan. After a fast ride back to Chemainus, it was back to the ‘Bean for more coffee and food as Nancy Munro checked in the finishers. All in all, almost perfect weather, almost no mechanical problems, and almost no one off course. Peter Stary, on his first Island brevet in his 20 year career, commented that “an unusually high standard” had been set for future rides. Peter went on to say that all rides on Vancouver Island are wonderful when compared to the Lower Mainland smog and congestion.

Results     Photos

April 12, 2005