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Peace June 200
by Erik Snucins

The recent brevet helped emphasize a dramatic contrast. I was in Calgary Friday morning before the brevet and was chased from the downtown core by rising waters. While I was able to leave before the worst of the flooding hit, I did observe some submerged cars, flooded streets and waters lapping at the top of bridge decks. Managing to book an earlier flight home , to Fort St. John, I was greeted with magnificently clear blue skies and sizzling hot temperatures. It made me appreciate how fragile our good fortune can be.

With Wim Kok being on vacation, and having no other takers, I set off on the summer solstice brevet. Daylight is obviously not a problem at this time of year, with the sun already having been up for more than 3 hours prior to the 7am start. The forecast called for hot and dry weather which I would normally not be a fan of. However, having observed the opposite on the previous day, I was more than happy to embrace the heat and lack of moisture. The route was a simple out and back to Cleardale, Alberta with 2 major river valleys to cross, being the Beatton and Clear . The temperature rose quickly and was already in the high 20’s by 9:30. For the steep climb up the Clear River Valley it was in the low 30’s. A moose watching my approach , standing in the middle of the pavement, lost his footing as he suddenly darted back into the bush. A black bear feeding on the lush green grass alongside the road had a similar reaction when my bike came opposite to him. Traffic was relatively light and I made it to Cleardale , arriving at 11:30 BC time.

The stop in Cleardale was welcome as it gave me an opportunity to stretch my sore back which had limited my riding for the past month. Eating my sandwich I was amused watching the local helmetless youth roaring by on motorcycles popping wheelies. As the one local gentleman commented to me “ it’s all good fun until one of them tips over “.

The return ride was not as brisk as the terrain trended uphill and the temperatures persisted into the low 30’s. Not being used to the heat and having had a light month on the bike, my average speed suffered. The return climb up the Clear River Valley was hot and slow. Sightings of whitetail and mule deer kept me occupied as did a coyote exploring the country trails. A stop in Goodlow to sign my control card allowed more opportunity to stretch. Climbing back on my bike the temperature on my computer indicated 34 degrees. My goal was to make it back to Fort St. John by 5pm in order to have time to give my girlfriend a ride to the airport for her 7:15pm flight to Winnipeg. It was probably in my best interest to try and not be late. I was starting to feel drained from the heat and sun. I managed to maintain a moderate but steady pace until the final climb out of the Beatton Valley. Here the heat took its toll in the sheltered and windless valley. I crawled up the 220m climb at a snail’s pace and realized I needed to pick it up in order to make it back for my self-imposed cut-off of 5pm. I made a final surge to arrive at Tim Horton’s for a finish at 4:59pm. Lots of time to make the flight….

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June 28, 2013