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Wack Pack Report
(3 x 200km)
Ride dates: September 19-20 (21), 2014
by Gary Baker

The ‘Wack Pack’ based in Chilliwack was a set of two rides linked to the Fort Langley Flatlander. Thus three 200km rides over a three day period. The concept was modelled on the ‘Six Pack’ that was such fun in 2013, based in Kamloops. This format is a great way to experience the challenges of a multi-day ride and proved to be a very ‘social’ event as riders rode, hung out, and ate together. We got to know one another outside of our role as randonneurs.

The local Chilliwack riders (Rick den Braber, Karen Smith, Michel Richard, and I) planned two new routes, the Chilly 200: aka ‘_hilly 200’ and the FVRD 200 to demonstrate that the upper valley (pardon the pun) had hills and riding the back roads this time of year was akin to riding through a corn maze. We also wanted to stay away from roads that we have traditional used for brevets that pass through the area… easier said than done when constrained by a river to the north with mountains and the U.S. border to the south. Where we had little choice but to use the same roads we tried to at least follow them in the opposite direction.

The Chilly 200 was first up. We know that some riders like to ‘hammer’ the Flatlander and to ride the Chilly the day before would take its toll. The weather forecast didn’t look very promising and it wasn’t as the riders experienced heavy rain and showers throughout the morning hours. Six riders left Wave’s Coffee House to immediately face the 40km climb (600m) to Chilliwack Lake. The number was reduced to 5 only 300m from the start when a miscue put one of the rider on the deck, HARD….moi. I was hurt but with adrenalin masking the pain I made an attempt to start riding again. Within a few bike lengths it became apparent that the bike had been damaged as well, it would get me back to the start but my ride was over (at least on that bike). I did have the option, as my car was at the start, to drive the 5km home (at Cultus Lake) and grab another bike. Any thoughts of doing this quickly evaporated as I was riding back to the Café; adrenalin can only mask pain so long. The fact that I couldn’t lift my right arm up and it hurt to take deep breaths did not bode well. It was pure serendipity that two paramedics had stopped for coffee at the café. I approached them, told them what had just happened and asked if they could check me over. By the time I got to the ambulance I was literally shaking from the pain. Off to the hospital I went. Not only was my ride over, I wouldn’t be doing any riding for quite a while.

The Chilly is a ‘hilly’ route with one long gradual climb (of 40km) and a series of shorter (2-4km) much steeper climbs. One such climb of approximately 3.5km has an average grade of over 10%. This beast was made all the harder being in the last quadrant of the ride. The finishers all had good things to say about this route. It will be posted as a Permanent. The fastest time was just over 9 hours, posted by Rick. He would like to see how fast ‘real’ climbers could do this route. At 6’4” and 210#+ he doesn’t see himself as fitting the profile of real climbers.

Following the ride we got together at Karen’s and Michel’s for snacks, a hearty meal and a few glasses of ‘adult’ recovery beverages.

Next up (on Saturday) was the FVRD 200, This route headed east to Hope, meandered back through the corn fields to Abbotsford and back to Chilliwack. This route makes the Flatlander look hilly. There was really only one hill of substance. Several riders thought including it on the route was completely out of context. It was included to pass a food store and to get the required mileage. On reflection I now realize there was a flat alternative that would have worked. Next time.

While the riders were out I went and found some freshly picked corn and Sheryl prepared an incredible fruit and greens salad and vegetarian lasagna (Thanks Sheryl). Everyone headed to K&M’s back patio for a wind down get together. IMO, more brevets should finish with gatherings like this!

The big question now was who of the FVRD 200 riders would ride the Flatlander. Only Cheryl and Nigel made a firm commitment to ride it. The others were all waffling.

As I was definitely not riding the Flatlander I called Ron Steward and volunteered to help staff one of the controls. I would join Larry Voth at the new Tim Horton’s at Popkum. Why was it not a surprise that everyone who rode the FVRD 200 rode the Flatlander? That’s what Randonneurs do, right. So the mileage tally for the Wack Pack riders was:

1 riders rode 1 X 200
3 riders rode 2 X 200
3 riders rode 3 X 200

To the Metro Vancouver riders who ventured to the distance burbs , thanks for coming out. Hopefully you got to see and ride roads of the Upper Fraser Valley that were new to you. We enjoyed hosting you. Perhaps we can do this again sometime in the years to come.

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September 23, 2014