Newsletter - 2008 Archive

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Surviving Canada Day 2008
by Harold Bridge

Working back from 08:00 I allowed a bit of time for this & a bit of time for that & set the alarm at 05:00. Intended to leave the wagon at Albion & ride down Glover Road to the Lions’ Hall. Thinking in terms of regular traffic I left home about 06:15 & got to the Albion Ferry about 06:40, just as the single lane of waiting vehicles was moving onto the ramp. I didn’t even stop, I drove straight onto the boat. As a result of all this cooperation I was parked at the Lions’ Hall an hour before start.

Promptly at 08:00 I led the charge east on 88th Av thus giving myself the opportunity to share commentary with, or be ignored by, the passing crowd. The climb up 240th & to Telegraph Trail was comfortable as the temperature was yet to cause difficulty.

As last year, I decided to ride my “Fast “ bike. Stripped of all encum-brances, except a rear light, it floats over smooth roads & climbs much better than my heavier touring bike. Thus the 48/34X14,16,18,20,22,24,28 gear range is good enough for the grades on this route. If 7 blocks were still available with the facility to choose sprockets I would prefer 14,15,16,17,19,23,28. But that block was worn out. With a lower gear than 32” I would pedal faster but go just as slow.

Sumas Mountain from the west is a nice climb I think & it was there that Nigel left me after we had shared a few kilometres. His 72” fixed geared track bike needed to be kept moving on that grade while I bar-conned my way down to the 37” gear. Bob Allen, like me a 1927 baby, roared past on this climb while telling me I needed a lower gear. I told him I was saving one for the “s” bend that tilts adversely before the top.

Going down the other side of Sumas I held the speed down below 70 & the group ahead appeared to be doing the same. A jovial crowd were at the Sumas First Nations Hall enjoying the wealth of tantilizing goodies being displayed by Sarah & John etal. My control card says I was there at 10:17. The time I left there fell through one of the rust holes in my brain. As I had installed a new Bontranger 23 in place of a partly worn Michelin 23 I wasn’t taking too much notice of my odometer. As every one knows, Michelin millimetres are bigger than other manufacturers’. Going by the time of 10:17 I was averaging 19.49kph to that point. As that includes the route’s major climb I was content with progress.

We were then treated to a “Float” along North Parallel Road that I decided should not tempt me into rushing madly eastward. Instead, I used the tailwind to get me to the Vedder Control as easily as possible. Enroute, Luis Bernhardt had a chat before his 70” fixed took him off in the distance. I missed the Vedder control! I got all the way down Tyson while looking for the control. At the crucial point I was looking on the left, not the right. An extra Kilometre for C-KAP! I got to the control at 11:38.thus averaging almost exactly the same as Control #1 – 19.51 (ignoring the extra “K”). Bob & Patty, as well as Roger were very busy at a new, to me, facility. Another quick snack of tasty carrot cake & melon & I was away.

I have mixed feelings about the “De-Militarised Zone” at Vedder. It means more traffic as we are not yet provided with suitable transportation or, I imagine, enough local business to save the commute into the Lower Mainland. Be that as it may, once on the Vedder Bridge I imagined a difficult headwind ride through Yarrow. However Vedder Mountain itself deflects the air currents so that stretch is no so bad. But once clear of the mountain one is fair game for the wind & I put my mind back in the fifties & my main road time trialling days. Thinking in those terms (albeit at about 60% speed) helped me punch a lonely furrow toward Birchwood Dairy.

But all of a sudden I was no longer alone, the Boonstra-Arscott tandem with LePage, Allen & Latornell in tow went past at about 28s. An effort on my part got me tagged on. But that is not good. Pacing tempts me into using the slingshot effect to go out front. It is one reason I was never much good at bunch racing. That put paid to company. Anyway, a long time ago I learnt there is no point in a crowd arriving at the control in a lump, Instead, take it a bit easier & arrive to get one’s card signed without lining up. I was signed in 13:07 – average down to 18.92 KPH. I should have lined up for Birchwood ice cream, but after thanking the Willoughbys I was away as I guessed the next stretch would be worth giving some time to.

I have developed an aversion to climbing busy roads alongside a curb and that describes Vye-Huntingdon. However, it is difficult to avoid without moving the control & Birchwood is too good to miss. The tailwind up 272nd St was a relief. But the “Hot Foot” I was developing was not, I had a difficult time and yet felt I was close enough to the finish I didn’t want to stop to deal with it.

I got clocked in at 15:33 for a time of 7:33 – down to 18.70 kph. Receiving the pin from Gary helped allay the hot foot!

I then found another use for the small bottle of hand sanitizer I carry. It did a great job of curbing hot foot. Cleans tubes ready for a patch as well!

I may be mistaken, but I think I should have been the last finisher (except our sweeps). However there was a group who I noticed were frequently stopping & they finished after me. Was that the plan?

We had 181 entrants on the day plus a further 5 who pre-rode the route. There were 4 non-finishers.

Thanx Roger, Ali, Bob & Patty and the whole crowd of help. No Jokes about green bananas eh?


July 3, 2008