Newsletter - 2014 Archive

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The Ryder Hatzic 300 – Spring Scenery and New Friends
by Jaime Guzman

Was it hard? Yes! Did it have a lot of climbing? Of course! Was I fast? In my dreams!

On writing about this year LM Spring 300 Km brevet, I thought of all the events of the day and how to recount them, but at the end I decided to write about the two things I will remember after the pain, the exhaustion and everything else gets forgotten: The green hills and the cherry blossoms; and meeting novice and experienced randonneurs.

I like hills. That doesn’t mean that I am good at climbing them, or at descending them. It just means I like them, and the views of the hills in the Ryder Hatzic ride were breathtaking: pine hills, bold hills, moss-covered hills, just-starting-to-bud hills, and proper cloudy mountains in the background!

It is spring in BC, which means a few showers here and there (a nasty one in the last 10 Km of the ride), a few sunny breaks, clouds of all denominations and fresh winds that change direction. I started my ride with a firm plan: “Do not go as fast as you did in the Populaire and the first half of the 200: Smell the roses.” So I got into a comfortable pace in the middle of the pack with Jean-Francois, a new randonneur attempting his first 300. Those were about 90 Km of camaraderie! He asked if he could join me, so he could ride with somebody with experience. Funny, I never thought of myself as an experienced randonneur, but I guess you could call me a “mid-career” randonneur. No problem, I said and we tackled all those rolling hills to Buntzen lake and along Dewney Trunk Road (some were not that rolling). We stopped for a sandwich at the Stave Lake Dam, not at the general store (that would be a waste of scenery). Thanks Jean-Francois for the enlightenment about the meaning of stave!

At the Dam we crossed paths with a not-so-lucky novice randonneur who had to cut the ride short after falling pray to the dammed rails on the dam. Later, I found out that Laith also had a too-close encounter with the dammed rails on the dam, but his bicycle was not damaged. So, in true randonneuring tradition he carried on to the end with an injured thumb and road rash.

At about 90 Km Jean Francois decided to turn back due to a painful elbow. So that in true randonneuring tradition he had enough energy to cycle back to Vancouver! So, I enjoyed the hills by myself for about 10 Km before catching up with Roy, who had stopped to put on rain gear (first shower of the ride). He is a real experienced randonneur so I asked if I could join him, so I could ride with somebody with experience. It was a terrific 200 Km of hard work, chat and stopping here and there for espresso and soup! All and all a very well spent 16 hours and change!

But hold it, there is more…

Throughout most of the day we were playing tag with Barry, who was embarked on a solo challenge and powered ahead of us after he had a flat. I can respect that. And, just before the Golden Ears bridge, Laith and Lucas caught up with Roy and me (I swear they were ahead, I have no idea how we managed to pass them). Obvious to say they could have said good bye and carry on (20 years of age differential do make a difference!), but they didn’t. Instead we rode together: they helped navigate the Mary Hill Bypass / United Boulevard mess, and Roy and I helped with “proper” randonneuring lights.

About 10 Km to go: another spring shower, a nasty one. It was the end of the ride, I was done. Roy and I told Laith and Lucas to go ahead so they could sprint to the finish and get dry. But at the end they waited and we caught up with Barry too, so we all “punched the clock” together. That’s what randonneuring is about!

As I said, when all is said and done I will remember two things about the 2014 Ryder Hatzic 300: the hills being reborn and the new friends I made.

Stay well and remember: Enjoy the Ride. Never Quit.

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April 28, 2014