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Once Over 300
Enticement Report...
by Steve Mahovlic

The Once Over 300 is a shortened Southern Coast 400. The Malahat north is my prefered way to ride as I dislike the Southern drop into Goldstream. You will start the ride shortly after daybreak, avoiding the highway overpasses by travelling down the Galloping Goose MUP out to Langford. Bike lanes expose the revitalized core of Langford before you cross over the "Bridge to Nowhere" and return to the highway and drop into Goldstream park.

After climbing 90% of the Malahat, the ride heads over to Shawnigan Lake, taking the scenic rollers on the West side of the lake before you start the long descent to Cowichan Bay. On your way to Maple Bay you will shortcut with a small but pleasant climb. Enjoy the farmlands through to Crofton and again onto Chemainus. There will be a manned control as you circle through Chemainus.

Finding Richards Trail on your way South will pose a navigational challenge as you get caught up in the beauty of the farmland. Pay attention to your milage. Once found keep an eye to the right for Jackson Valley Rd. that will take you to Mays Rd and the hidden jewel Saison Bakery. A South Island secret. The climb to Lake Cowichan is steady and if the day is warm you will need to ensure hydration is looked after. Fuel up and ensure your water supply is full before leaving town as there are no services until Port Renfrew.

Descending to Renfrew is a beautiful forested run. Do keep your eyes on the chip sealed road as potholes show up in the unlikely places. This stretch alone makes the ride worth the effort. The Coastal Cafe is closed so you will be stopping at the TOMIS coffee shop. Late riders may find they have to go a little further to find an establishment to sign off their cards. From here you turn around and follow the Coast Highway to Sooke. Again there is little in the way of services, lots of trees though.

Arriving in Sooke there is a grocer and multiple food outlets. Though it does dwindle the later you are. Gillespie and the dreaded Rocky Point R. climb have been swapped for a quick Kangaroo hop and a little less Metchosin. Depending on when you end up on Ocean Blvd. Royal Roads has arranged for a Fly Past as part of their anniversary celebrations. It may be a little busier than usual. A couple more short climbs and you will return to the Gorge and our humble abode to finish.

The route has serious climbs, though they are shorter than the rewarding long descents. Take the time to enjoy the scenery and ensure you are well stocked for the journey. With luck you will have tailwinds from Renfrew to the finish.

Go to: Once Over 300 Event (Registration) Page

April 21, 2015