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The Inaugural Vancouver Island Tsunami Brevets
July 16, 2005
by Raymond J. Parker

After a month or more of preparation and a pre-ride the previous Saturday, the July 16th Vancouver Island Summer Brevets rolled out of Cook Street Village, Victoria.

Seven riders turned out for the inaugural Tsunami 300: Islanders Jim Fidler, Robert Frankham and Michael Fibiger-Crossman were joined by Mainlanders Michel Richard, David Lach, Melissa Friesen and Scott Gater, while no-shows whittled the 200 kilometre field down to new member Kevin Card and Island route co-ordinator Stephen Hinde.

Both brevets shared a route out to Sooke, via the uncommonly scenic, albeit steep, Willis Point/Ross-Durrance Roads and - another first for Island brevets - Barrow, La Bonne and Liberty Roads, bridging Kangaroo and Rocky Point, through a forested valley.

From there, riders tackled E. Saanich Road, then Gillespie Road, which drops into beautiful Roche Cove, crosses narrow bridge across the inlet, then, alas, climbs steeply back up to Sooke Road.

From control #2, 300K riders continued out to Port Renfrew, on the challenging West Coast Highway. It was here that David Lach fell prey to the atrocious state of "paving" on the final approach. One of many potholes jumped out of the shadows and ate David's front wheel, bringing him down hard. Accordingly, Carol Hinde and Jaye Haworth sprang into action as the official B.C. Randonneurs Nursing Station and Towing Co.

If there is such thing as luck in such circumstances, it can be said that David sustained only bruises and abrasions. While his bike suffered a destroyed gear shifter, David's sense of humour, I must report, seems amazingly resilient.

I routed the final leg over Humback Road and back to Saanich, via Prospect Lake, finishing up on the renowned Seaside Touring Route, where those fast enough were treated to a crimson sunset over the Olympic Mountains.

Early morning showers gave way to blue skies and sunshine - perfect weather for any ride.

Thanks to everyone - volunteers and riders - who made this first running of the Tsunami brevets a great success.

Naming note: How did I settle on the ominous Tsunami nomenclature?

On a weekend in mid-June, Amanda Jones and I drove out on a mapping/camping trip. We arrived in Port Renfrew on the 15th - the day after the Alaska tsunami warning system had issued an alert, following an earthquake off the coast of California. Residents had scrambled for high ground, before the warning was cancelled. Not surprisingly, this incident was the talk of the town.

Fairy Lake, our favoured camping spot when we visit the area, contains sediments deposited there by the wave that inundated the west coast of Vancouver Island on January 26, 1700. Besides native oral legend, the event can be dated precisely from a Samurai diary, which recorded the devastating result to east coast Japanese fishing villages, caused by the tsunami that rolled west across the Pacific from the earthquake.

We are reminded by recent tragedy on the Indian Ocean, of the cost for awesomely beautiful geography such as we enjoy on this coast. We live on a restless crust of earth. Yet it is our playground and our inspiration. We can honour it with art (as did the great 19th century Japanese artist Hokusai), and/or by testing our puny sinews on its corrugated back.

Ride Results  -  Photos

July 24, 2005