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Knight Crawlers Sydney 300
Vancouver Island Summer 400
Ride Date: August 2, 2020
by Gary Baker

*The 'Knight' Crawlers-Sydney 300 *6:30 AM, meet Rick Den D. at the Sardis McDonalds's in Chilliwack . Try not to disturb the homeless sleeping on the grass ( or enjoying some). 8:00AM meet up with Bob Koen at the Tsawwassen Recreation Centre; ride the 6km to the ferry terminal to catch the 9AM ferry to Swartz Bay with several dozen other weekend cyclists; 10:35AM ride 6km from the terminal to the Sydney T.H.start location. There we enjoyed some food, coffee/tea and off we went on what on paper and the GPS track looks to be an urbanish labyrinth of a route. When I considered doing this ride, I have to say I had real doubts. Was it going to be like Eric F.'s Vancouver 200 ( which I liked, tedious as it was) with a gazillian turns, stop signs, traffic lights, with no real continuous flow. Thankfully the reality on the ground, this time, was very different. Yes we crisscrossed through the Sannich Peninsula and the City of Victoria many times but I was enjoying riding on roads and through neighbourhoods, commercial and industrial areas I knew nothing of. Often, as it was cloudy and we couldn't see the sun I had no idea in which direction we were heading. I really like exploring new turf. I imagined Gord Litster pouring over digital maps, thinking of all the roads less travelled and then, piece by piece, putting this route together. To me doing this tends to be great fun, almost as much fun as doing the ride. Good job Gord!!! We knew that Ron S. and Maciej S. had started 2 hours ahead of us and discussed the possibility of catching them, but concluded that would not happen, would not be possible. The route finding proved to be very straight forwarded and the terrain very manageable, only few stinky hills until we found ourselves west of Victoria in the Metchosin area. Here the hills were more frequent and much more punchy. And this is where I had more excitement than I had wanted. Bob and Rick had pulled ahead of me and had disappeared around a corner on a VERY steep hill. The increase in the grade caught me a bit by surprise so I initiated a double down shift to my lowest gear ( the 36t cog). I've made this shift hundreds times with no issues, but this time the derailleur over shifted dropping the chain into the gap between the large cog and the spokes.The chain wedged tight and stopped moving ( as did the cranks). Speed dropped to ZERO, balance instantly compromised. At this point I didn't know what had happened but sensed I was going to fall over and tried to get out of the cleats. I got one out ( can't recall which one) before I clearly was falling over to my left into traffic. We hadn't seen a car for km, but I heard a car coming up behind me and as I went down I could see that it was just about to pass me...." Oh sh*t, this could go badly, first I potentially land on a sore shoulder and then get run over!". Thankfully the driver saw that I was in trouble and stopped a comfortable distance from me. I had a helluva time getting the chain out of the spokes ( the oily prints all over the CC are proof). This happened only a few hundred metres from the first control. It was a good 10 minutes before I reached it to find Bob and Rick lounging on the grass waiting for me. They seemed to have assumed I'd get there eventually. On we went, hither and on, left/right, N/W/E/S and at nearing the 200km mark we were back in Sydney (again). As we headed south, one more time, on the Lockside Dr. in the distance I could see a solitary tail light that we were slowly over taking. The rider stopped, as we passed it was Maciej. He explained that Ron was not enjoying himself and when the route was on one of it's northern loops he decided to head for home. So now we were a threesome. Maciej said our presence gave him a morale boost as we headed once again south to Victoria (along Beach Ave. and around the Jamie's Bay area) before the final push back to Sydney. At the finish, we checked in and again enjoyed some food and hot liquids at T.H. then lounged on some of the mall benches to kill time before riding to the ferry. While at T.H., Murray Tough rode up to start his solo ride. We wished him safe travels and then rode back to the ferry. This was a fun brevet. Thanks again Gord and Stephen ( who I know helped out).


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August 7, 2020