Newsletter - 2020 Archive

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Covid-19 Flatlander
Ride date: March 18, 2020
by Karen Smith

March 18
203 km (205 with detour)
10 hrs 39 min

With the Brevets cancelled till at least April 25th, I wanted to get the ride done before Permanents were banned. I am on month 11! Yikes!
I heard that in Italy only professionals were permitted to ride their bikes and in Spain no-one is permitted to ride. Could that come here…?
I was encouraged to hear that in San Francisco, bike stores were designated an essential service to support bike commuters.
These are strange times...

I thought if I was going to ride, I better not go into any establishments and keep my social distance. I would sign my own control card, bring my own food & water, and go to the bathroom at the side of the road.
I ended up using two washrooms (Birchwood Dairy and the Delair Park washroom). Both of these bathrooms were empty and I used my own travel wipes to touch anything.
I flushed one toilet with my foot.

Traffic was lighter than usual. But I did notice way more trucks, especially dump trucks. All day. Some singles, some tandems.
I had never seen so many dump trucks! Even on small roads like Stewart and Sand...
I also had a lot of transport trucks, or were they just more noticeable because there were fewer cars…

As I neared the border with the US, along Whatcom /Boundary Rd, I saw a brown RCMP Federal Patrol Vehicle. Never saw one there before.
There was also a helicopter in the air.
Then along Zero Ave, there were 4 US Border Patrol Vehicles, where I usually just see one. There was another brown RCMP vehicle camped on Zero, I have never seen one there before either.
All in all, if felt very eery.

The detour was still in effect on 272, no problem, up to 264th.
Then after my very brief stop in Ft Langley, there was a barrier across 240th. Last month they let Gary and I through, but not Eric the very next day. Today I had to detour.
I chose to go up 264th.
But I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t make it up! I had to WALK!
I know people say: I’ve never seen a hill that I couldn’t walk. But it did’t feel good to have to walk.
I have to get stronger! I’m only as strong as the hills I ride. And the hills I ride are on the "Flatlander”. That tells you something…

I saw a lot of helicopters today!
I didn’t count them, but I bet I saw at least a dozen, including one beside the driveway of a farm on Gibson Rd. The blades were rotating and the dogs were barking. It was an unusual sight.

It was a gorgeous last full day of winter!
But in the shadow of Majuba Hill and Vedder Mountain before 10 am, it still felt like winter. I froze surrounded by frosty fields until I got into the sunny Sumas Prairie.
Some wind, but not a lot. But my last 22 km from Popkum seemed tough and against the wind. Or was I just bonking…

No mechanicals, no flats.

ps. My Garmin won’t download right now, so I can’t see my average riding speed. That would have been embarrassing too….

Karen's control card
Using self signing to avoid human contact
(Final control signing "MR", Michel Richard)


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March 21, 2020