Newsletter - 2005 Archive

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Around the Bend Trio ... A Fantasy
by Ken Bonner

CRASH!! BANG!! THE GROUND SHUDDERS! Huge bolts of lightning blaze amongst the dark clouds scudding across sky .... were-wolves, eyes flashing in the dark, teeth dripping blood from their fresh kill, bay into eternity. Wait, there are lights in a cabin nearby, and the innocent cry of a newborn is heard ... hope for a fresh, new world!

By extreme coincidence, three of our hard-working, behind the scenes BC Randonneur members were born on such a night (different years, mind you). Destined by their birth environment to roam the planet as randonneurs, unconsciously searching for the perfect ride, but eternally reliving the circumstances of their birth.

Who are these "driven" innocents? Let me introduce you to "CH-E-R" (note:not a brevet!):

Cheryl Lynch, former bicycle racer, is the Club's official bike helmet-tester ... give her your expensive helmet and she will test it to see if it protects your head. Cheryl is now working on her 5th helmet having found that the previous 4, although meeting the SNELL standard, crack very easily. The "Cheryl Test" for determining cycle helmet safety is not based on theoretical engineering considerations ... she goes for practical-testing hitting pavement, car or other hard surface with her head in the helmet!! *(see end of article for details)

This does have its rewards, as she now rides a shiny new titanium LiteSpeed (the result of her last helmet test). However, there are downsides to this method of helmet-testing .... it can affect the functioning of the brain! In Cheryl's case, the first symptom has become an obsession with numbers .... the Club quickly took advantage of this peculiarity and for a number of years, Cheryl has been the Czarina of the Club's data-base, keeping track of everyone's brevets, corresponding with her French ACP counterparts and generally carrying out her under-cover duties for CSIS. The second symptom has developed into a compelling urge to compete in triathlons ... to the extent that she is passing up the opportunity to ride LEL again this year! However, dear reader, we know the circumstances of her birth will lead her back into the dark world of randonneuring .... she cannot escape her destiny!

Eric Fergusson, former lay-about tennis player, plays support person to Siân's marathon performances. In exchange for this undying love and attention (and his charming way with words), Eric pursues his birthright with great energy and a certain "joi de vivre", racing (oops! participating in) brevets with high hopes of relaxing with the perfect cup of espresso/latte & a croissant at the next control (which always turns out to be an "AM/PM"; or 7-11).

In 2004, Eric had a close brush with common-sense. Riding in the dark, on his "umpteenth" Fleche Pacifique, through the traditional freezing "Fleche rain", he was influenced by past President, Michel Richard, and came in out of the rain and spent a most unrandonneur-like evening sleeping in a warm bed and eating a nourishing breakfast upon waking. As a result this past year has been full of angst for Eric. Sleepless nights, tossing and turning ... destiny cannot be thwarted. This year, Eric chose both to ride a tandem; and with tandems. Tandem riders are tough. You, dear reader, will be over-joyed to learn that Eric with the help of Team Tandem came through, and now feels at peace with himself!

Even with the "monkey on his back", or maybe because of it, Eric has blessed the Club with an incredibly detailed, creative, informative and changing web-site as the Club's webmaster. The Club even officially recognized Eric's contribution to the Club!! Be careful when riding with Eric ... he carries a Blackberry (or is it a Blueberry?) on his bike, (ostensibly for emergencies) as he is prone to enter gossip on the Club's website while riding. This can be found under "Instant Replay" on the Club's website .... sorry .... I forgot ... that part of the website is only available to special people who pay Eric a "little on the side" .... ever notice how Eric always rides a shiny new bike that he says he built from used parts .... just little perks of the job!

Robert (Bob) Marsh, you know him, the guy with the big, booming voice who always seems to emerge out of the rain, or when you are in a funk, with a jovial, uplifting presence, often with his wife Patti in tow. Got a problem? Bob will help out ... Patti will give you something to eat and Bob will give you the shirt off his back -- don't take it if he's been riding!! Bob is still working on persuading Patti to join him in the joys of his birth destiny ... he's managed to get her on a tandem for fun-rides, and he is gradually introducing the concept of "real-fun" rides (brevets) .... so far, his tales of forever tail-winds on pleasantly-warm sunny days are not quite doing the trick.

It is reputed that Bob's garage is over-flowing with bikes and bike parts, so if you break-down on a brevet, just phone Bob and he will have you on the road again ... of course, you need his phone number. Unfortunately it is unlisted. He has received threats of further bodily harm by some folks from Surrey who threw some party-ice at him during the 2004 Fleche Pacifique -- unfortunately for Bob it was a block of ice! The good part was that a police cruiser came by and Bob registered his concern. The bad part is that the Surrey "fun-lovers" did not like the police interference. Bob avoids Surrey .... well, not all of Surrey, he has been testing the waters with South Surrey and things are working out o.k. ... no ice there .... just cold water.

You will have a chance to meet Bob and Patti at the upcoming Cache Creek 600 brevet. At the Start, Spence's Bridge and at the Finish! You will see what a great team they make in making you, the rider, feel more optimistic as you over-come the adversities of the ride.

Like Eric, Bob has been having some sleep-deprived nights as he has eased off on his brevet riding this year (could it be the block of ice incident?). Apparently he is spending a lot of time channel-surfing in the wee hours of the morning, dreaming of slogging through yet another cold rainy night. On occasion, Bob has experienced bouts of "sleep-riding" on rain-soaked nights, but Patti has caught him in the driveway before he made it to the street. It is rumoured that PBP 2007 may be in the cards, so Bob should settle down soon as he gets back in the saddle again.

So there you have it .... star-crossed randonneurs who contribute to making the wheels and gears of the Club run smoothly.

*p.s. from Cheryl: "helmets DO crack quite easily.... One was cracked after overlapping a wheel on a training ride, basically falling over going quite slowly! One was when I crashed in a crit and broke my pelvis (my first crash, road rash everywhere but the helmet felt like a pillow under my head as I skidded across the pavement), one was on a Saturday AM ride when I ended up with a whopper of a black eye after some guy's front quick release quickly released in the middle of the pack, probably needed a new one after going through a rear windshield of a hatchback on Broadway in the rain when the guy stopped right in front of me to get a parking spot, definitely needed one after the fateful 400 finish in 2002. Ah.. the fond memories of past crashes... I guess it is like childbirth, they don't seem so bad in hindsight!

May 24 2005