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Gary's December Permanent... Two Tries
Permanent Brevet #90, 204 km
Ride Date: December 12, 2018
by Gary Baker

Karen Smith and I usually plan to do our monthly Permanent ride together. She really likes doing P #18. It's not my favourite for two reasons: 1) it starts with a 7km leg up to the Tractor Grease Cafe towards Chilliwack Lake where COLD headwinds confront one during the winter months and the road is often very frosty; and 2) there is a section of 272 St. just off Zero Ave. that had ( notice the choice of tense...:-)) to be the roughest kilometre of pavement in B.C. I could never seem to get to the end of it without having to detour into Aldergrove Regional Park to find a biffy. The good news is that section has been's wonderful now. All this said riding a Permanent with Karen is oh SO MUCH fun!

We had decided to head out on Dec. 6 at our usual departure time (7AM) and it was COLD, really cold but there had been no frost during the night and the road up the valley was reasonably dry. We stopped at TG , noted the time and turned back. The cold valley wind was at our back and would likely by so for the next 50+km. The joy was short lived though. We went about 1km and I flatted...%$^&. No big deal, those of you who have ridden with me know I'm one of the Boy Scouts of randonneuring...I'm usually ( the operative word here) for everything. I always (?) carry three spare tubes. Guess, how many I had on the bike?.....nada.....I couldn't believe it. Remember it's freezing cold. No big deal, I'd patch the tube, but could we locate the hole, nope. Karen and I both use 650b wheels but different sized tires; she uses 32mm ( or was it 35mm) tires. We put her tube in my 42mm tires and started pumping; try as we might we could not get that tube to inflate in a way to 'seat' the fatter tire. My ride was over at 11km. Karen wisely rode on alone finishing in 11hr 48mins, I think. That tailwind she had at the beginning became a headwind from Fort Langley back to Popkum. Strong headwinds across Sumas Prairie are no fun, particularly alone. This brings me to my second attempt to get in a Dec. permanent.

The weather forecast was not looking all that promising but a window of opportunity to get a ride in on Dec. 12 was opening up; temps in the 5-7C range with showers. I'd take it. I was on the road at 6 AM to ride one of my favorite rides (#90), no Chilliwack Lake Rd. on this one. I was dressed for the cold and equipped for serious rain just in case. It was cold (1C) but the roads were dry and there was no hint of rain, not in the usual spots at first. It can be dry leaving south Chilliwack only to hit a patch of rain along the Vedder Mtn. Rd., between the Vedder River Bridge and Yarrow. As I headed west ( into a light headwind) across the Sumas Prairie it lightened up and the skies were clear. This was looking very promising. I made the designated controls at 8th/176th and at Fort Langley in good time where I wolfed down one of my sandwiches and spoke with a patron in the Deli at Lee's who told me he enjoys riding our club populaires and was saddened by the death of Arno Schortinghaus ( a real lose to the Vancouver cycling community).

When I exited Lee's it seemed darker, and it was as the skies had clouded up...oh, oh. I didn't get far, as I started up the hill on 248th St. the skies opened up. It poured for the next 2 1/2 hours. It stopped as suddenly as it had started as I was waited for traffic lights on Sumas Way. I had a nice tailwind crossing Sumas Prairie to my control at the Yellow Barn. Getting back to the bike I noticed that my front tire looked soft, it was and I pumped it up and off I went. But, by the time I reached Old Yale Rd. between Dukes Pub and the Truck Service stop it was clearly going flat again. I know the truck stop has a nice warm lounge and I was cold and soaked, a perfect place to fix a flat. I had the wheel off in quick time, but getting the tire and tube off the rim was another story. Usually I can pop the tire tires off without levers, not this time and when I finely got one 'bead' clear of the rim the tube would not separate from the tire, it was like it had been glued to it. I had to tear the tube from the inside of the tire. On inspecting the tire I found a small piece of a staple embedded in the tread. I installed the new tube, made sure it and the tire rim were seated cleanly, inflated the tube, put the wheel back on the bike, packed up and started to ride off. I made it about 10m when the same tire/tube went flat...%^&%$.

You know the routine. Wheel off, tire off, tube out (It had split wide open.' no bang, how strange), all while in the warm truckers' lounge. Being in such a comfortable place must have dulled my mind. What the heck why not patch the first tube. This is something I normally only do as last resort when I've used up my spare tubes. Patch it I did, installed it, remounted the wheel and proceeded to ride off. I think I made it about 15m this time when I could here air leaking from the tire, the patch had failed. The clerk at the counter must have been wondering what I was up to as I made my third trip into the lounge with my wheel, tube and tools in hand. At least I was no longer wet and cold, I was only wet. I had been there over one hour. Success, off I went. As my route took me through downtown Chilliwack I detoured off route and bought some new tubes and a new patch kit for good measure.

The Chilliwack Cycle Coalition was hosting a beer and pizza night at a local brew pub, that evening. I finish the ride and rode straight there. Two pints of a very smooth lager was a great way to finish the day. My wife met my there and drove us home. What a fun way to finish a ride, with beer and friends.

Go to: Permanent Results
Go to: Permanent #90 Event Page


December 15, 2018