Newsletter - 2006 Archive

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Cariboo Loop 1000
by Melissa Friesen

The Cariboo Loop 1000km has now been successfully completed by two courageous BC randonneurs - Eric Fergusson (62:11) and Scott Gater (64:20). This ride had claimed 4 riders in DNFs on previous attempts (all on the first day, I think). This route did add rookie Jeff Mudrakoff to its DNF list who was riding strongly, but succumbed to sleepiness and a couple bad flats in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Jeff made it too Clinton just after the control closed, but was able to catch a few hours of sleep at the hotel before catching a Greyhound back to Vancouver.

The "curse of support" on the ride is also officially over. Beyond the challenging terrain, one of the challenges is the long sections with no services. So I was out on the course providing food stops on the first day at Joffre Lake Recreation Site (~196km) and Marble Canyon (~307km) and on the second day set up a secret control between Kamloops and Merritt - to confirm that the riders took the easier of the two routes between the two cities (he he). I also coordinated the hotel and food for the sleep stops (Clinton, Merritt). This ride would be challenging to do without support and while possible, would require lots of preplanning to ensure hotel room and food could be accessed, especially on the first night when no services were open in Clinton (~365km) after 11pm and the next possible services were in 100 Mile House another 75 km down the road. Did you know that you can aggravate your Achilles tendon with long driving periods when the car seat is a little too far back?

Beyond the challenging terrain, the riders encountered several bad road construction sections. An 8-10km grooved pavement section was ridden in the dark on the first night. They had an 8km shuttle in a pilot car on the second day where the road was closed to cyclists - they still rode at least 1010km excluding that section. The worst of the construction sections had to be on the Coquillhalla climb, where there was a long section of the climb with only one lane open which was very sketchy to share with the large trucks.

The weather was for the most part fine. Very short rain showers between Whistler and Pemberton. A short hail storm around mid-day Sunday. Moderate headwinds throughout the course. Unfortunately, they had a major downpour on the Coquilhalla climb. That descent that left Scott slightly hypothermic and desiring of his cycling tights that were left in his drop bag which passed him 1/3 down the descent without stopping. Sorry Scott, it's not a control. Scott used his creativity, however, and took an exit off the descent where he rode up and down the exit ramp until he warmed up.

Doug, Susan, and Deirdre were encountered riding strong between Barriere and Kamloops on the Interior 1000km route.

Eric, Scott - Great job done on a difficult route.


June 20, 2006