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Burnaby Maple Falls
Permanent #55 Report
by keith Nichol

Well Ryan was here at 6:30 sharp and off we set down the Central Valley Greenway to the start of the Burnaby Maple Falls permanent. Ryan was grumbling that it was too long, but I assured him the scenic route made up for it, little did we know. We got our cards signed at the Starbucks on Kensington and promptly lost all that hard earned altitude. It was a very familiar route out of town so we were on auto pilot. There were patches of blue sky and very little wind, in fact the sun came out when we were going down King Edward and it briefly hit 9 degrees. We were thinking of taking our jackets off at the Campbell store control but the wind was picking up and the sun had by now disappeared.

Zero Avenue did not disappoint, there was a head wind and I made Ryan take over at the front, he was not charmed. There hadn't been much bird life until this stretch with ducks in the flooded fields, a solitary heron scooting along with a tail wind and lots of honking geese. Then as we got close to the border a murder of crows trying to get a rise out of six bald eagles taking a break in a tree. The eagles were of course were totally indifferent to all the attention they were getting.

We got to the US border and a guard disappeared with our passports. What seemed like half an hour later he came back and said have a good trip. I'm not sure if there was any significance but we saw four border patrol vehicles between there and Maple Falls, then we confused them by coming back a different route! It had been spitting up until the border but now the rain started in earnest not to let up for the rest of the day. I missed a turning or two heading towards Everson, what are a few extra kilometres when you're over the distance anyway? It was around here we had the funniest sight, a field with lots of regularly spaced poles, each with a crow on top. We had just started climbing South Pass Road when Ryan got his first puncture, ironically right at the gateway to probably the the only bike shop in the vicinity. Number two was just as we were approaching Maple Falls. This is when Ryan discovered that his second spare tube was not a spare, luckily he was carrying three tubes.

A cup of coffee and a sort of cinnamon bun with lots of frosting helped thaw us out and then it was back on the road for the return leg. The roads still have a lot of winter crud and it's hard to avoid it with the narrow shoulders. I must admit the drivers in Washington are way more considerate and on the whole gave us a wide berth. Reese hill was descended at a very sedate pace, what with cross winds and slippery surface. Coming up to the Cherry Street stop sign I warned Ryan I was stopping and sure enough there was the cop car across the street keeping an eye out. When we came across the border that morning we had seen a large contingent of Canadian border guards hanging around checking cars before they even got close to the border. Luckily they had gone and we were through pretty quickly, I think the border guard pitied our drowned rat appearances. We now started the wiggle wobble route back home.

The wind was out the South East so we had a head to crosswind going out and now coming back, there were brief spells when it was a tail wind which was a pleasure. Somewhere along here it was my turn to get a flat, I booted the tire and off we set. As we turned on to Allard crescent Ryan had puncture number three. The tire boot we'd put in had curled and chewed through his tube. He tried to patch a tube but with the general dampness and cold nothing stuck. I gave him my last tube and we both hoped that was the last we'd see of the p$%^@e f&!#s for the ride. Of course it stopped raining the moment the tire was fixed.

The light was going now but at least the route from here in was pretty straight forward. Over the Golden ears bridge and then the standard slog along the Lougheed Highway with traffic whistling by. That hole after the Pitt river bridge is still there. We were both looking for it luckily as it was cunningly disguised as a puddle this time. How many times do you have to report these things before they do anything. My back wheel is going in for a new rim as it's got a flat spot and I'm going to try to ding them for it.

As we started the climb up the Barnett Highway it started to rain again, just to show us whose boss. At least we could smell the barn. Mind you it was still a ten km ride home from the start, small beer at this stage. Eleven hours and fifty minutes after leaving the Starbucks that morning we got our cards signed and Ryan rushed off as they had guests coming at eight.

Well on that soggy note I earned my first year round pin, it certainly made me work for it. Now I must go and fix all my tubes from the last few winter rides. Here's the ride route and elevation,

Ride date: February 13, 2010
Go to:
Route 55 (223 km)

Go to: Permanents results


February 14, 2010