Newsletter - 2015 Archive

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Organizer Steve at the Velox Club
Photo: Stephen Hinde

Victoria Populaire Organizer's Report
Rided date: April 5, 2015
by Steve Mahovlic

Melissa and I discussed organising the 2015 VicPop when we discovered the workload Mike and Brynne Croy had taken on to start the randonneuring season. Mike and I had a brief meeting regarding his ideas to provide a venue to gather post ride. Dave Macmurchie's staggered start was adopted, a venue selected and we were off. Danelle Laidlaw's PacPop was to be our model as we had experienced an amazing uptake at the New Year's Pop and anticipated a similar surge for the April 5th date. Online CCN registration would be used to take the pressure off. The BCR executive once more gave us their blessings. The wild card was that it was Easter.

Having experienced first hand the caliber of the VanIsle 1200 volunteers, we chose to follow a similar, scaled down, approach. A small group of volunteers took on the preparations for the ride. Posters were drawn up, connections made to local bicycle clubs and media, prizes and funds were donated. Save On foods donated $300 of gift certificates towards the post ride refreshments. Cycles West, Velofix, Cottage Pirouette and the Esquimalt Recreation Center donated both time and door prizes. The new routes were planned and fourteen volunteers participated in the verification process. Two of them rode both, in spite of the rain on the 50 pre-ride. Press releases were sent out. Steven Croy's smile won us front page newspaper coverage. A final "working" meeting three nights prior to the event and we were ready for the anticipated 200+ riders.

On the morning of the event we gathered at the Velox Club at 7 a.m. Riders began to show up before 7:30. We had a 4' x 4' billboard with the safety notices and a reminder of the post event gathering. Velofix was kept busy as participants discovered small items they had overlooked. By 8:30 it was apparent Easter festivities and events had quelled the expected surge. After covering the essential safety warnings, 78 riders headed out.

A phone call from CTV came in, they were sending a cameraman for the start of the 50. He arrived with a few minutes to spare. 43 more participants filtered past his camera at 10 a.m. Brynne Croy gave an interview explaining Randonneuring and the Victoria Populaire event. Control teams went out to their respective locations. The last of the post event refreshments were picked up from two very generous Save On Foods locations. The Kopeck triple arrived for their pre-arranged 11 a.m. start.

There was a definite chill in the early morning that lingered in the View Royal and Esquimalt portions of the route. The sun was shining for the entire ride. For a route description read the pre-ride report. Only two 100 km riders failed to arrive at the Deep Cove Market control. Two more 100 km riders would call in a DNF before the day was out for various reasons. 119 riders would be arriving in shorts and jerseys. One gentleman rode the 50 in blue jeans on a commuter bicycle - awesome. 120 finishers, 4 DNF's, 9 DNS's

The post ride gathering was very well attended. With a cash bar, sandwiches, cookies, fruit, and door prizes; everyone went inside to chat with friends, both old and new. From 12:00 to 3:00 the venue was buzzing with tales of the road while a DVD of Paris Brest Paris played silently in the background. Cycles West, Velofix, Cottage Pirouette, and Esquimalt Recreation Center provided door prizes for a number of lucky participants.

The following quote sums up nicely the many comments we received as the Victoria Populaire wound down:

"Dave we had a great time on Sunday.
A super event very well run yet very relaxed approach for us participants.
What a treat at the end very nice spread and beer too! How good is that.
Please pass on our thanks to your colleagues. Excellent event great volunteers and of course beautiful day...for which you can claim credit!!!
Thanks again."

Victoria's Inner City Community Center, "Our Place", was ecstatic to receive our excess perishables. While the numbers were not what we anticipated, the feedback was amazing. Our volunteer photographers have posted over 300 images to the BCR Flickr site. The new format was bringing people together.

The first week in April always seems to be bicycle friendly, so I strongly urge a similar date for the 2016 event. For those of you who have been leery of organising a brevet, my experience is that we have excellent volunteers and a BCR executive that is very supportive. Take a chance on a very rewarding undertaking.

A very big THANK YOU for everyone's support.

Cottage Pirouette Control
Photo: Rob Scrimgeour

Go to: 2015 Victoria Populaire Results
Go to: 2015 Victoria Populaire Photos

April 8, 2015