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Parallels with Latitude
Vancouver Island Summer 400
Ride Date: August 21, 2021
by Rob Nygren

First of all thanks to Stephen for another great route, and I love the name.

This was only the 2nd brevet that I did not have to get a hotel for, and the first where I could start and finish close to my house. Great route planning.

I was up and out the door early. I left at 4:01am according to my wahoo. It was cool but not cold out, and the ride started with 2 police cars pulling over the only other car on the road. As I passed I didn't see anything nefarious, and nobody was asking my opinion.

I continued up Comox hill in a very pleasant frame of mind, but then I felt as though I was wandering a bit. I stopped to check for a rear puncture. (Yup.) I found a nice spot under a light and replaced the tube and then I was off to Singing Sands to check out the angles.

The ride to the 50th Parallel was great--no issues other than it got colder as the morning went on. I found the answer to the control question quite easily and was on the return trip to Courtenay. The chip seal on Tsolum River Road was loose at first, then was compacted fairly well for the balance. I found my mailbox number on Greaves Cres. and headed back to town. There was not a unfamiliar road on this first section for me, so no stress or worries about getting lost.

At kilometre 105ish I took a slight detour to my house. There I made a fresh cup of coffee and had a bagel and chips. I also got to use my own bathroom and changed into fresh kit. I was fed, caffeinated and cleaned up. I rode back to where I turned off and continued to Cumberland--now I know how far it is to the museum from 4th and Dunsmuir.

The ride down Royston road is great. I love the climb and descent of Boulder Hill and I can remember when it used to be 2 hills (prior to the new Highway). Going down the hill I passed Fallen Alders Hall--this is where I first played little league baseball 53years ago. But more importantly it is where I met my wife....not on Saturday but 42 years ago (it was actually a Saturday).

So down to Royston--this is where I grew up as a kid. When I got to the light to make the right turn there was a car there with its 4 flashers ways on. This reminded me that there had been a Red & White Store there when I was young, and that 3 different vehicles drove into it, the last being a big truck. So they tore it down.

The Royston Hall across the street is where Ann and I had out wedding reception... oh ya, about the ride.

I rode the old highway for almost 40k and stopped at one of the 3 little concrete buildings where I had stashed some bottles of water. At building #5 I had some homemade Pizza (an idea from Michael Tilitzky). From there the ride was good except for Cross Winds and the Shit Show that is now Qualicum Beach...I've never seen so many people dogs and cars. The Shell was full and I was well, so off I went. And after a few minutes of gravel and chaos I was riding quietly off to Parksville.

I rode to and through a busy Parksville and really liked the Industrial Way--not one moving vehicle for 1.3k (yes I had to look that up). Being an experienced man I was looking forward to another Pee break at the info Centre around the corner. But it was closed mid-afternoon on a Saturday, It’s been closed now 4 times that I have stopped to get water and use the bathroom......What is the definition of insanity?

Northwest Bay Road is one of my favourites; would it be too much to have a control at the Pub?

Nanoose to Lantzville is the reason to tear up the tracks and pave the Island Corridor from Courtenay to Victoria...But I digress.

The Wahoo got me through the little tunnel to Tim Hortons, and when I parked my bike I wondered Y was I here?

Oh Ya! For a big ass coffee, grilled cheese sandwich and an apple fritter of course, and two large bottles of warm tap water.

The wahoo was confused on leaving so I brought out the paper and soon enough I was on the E&N 2 hours earlier I was hoping they would build it and here it is.
So far so good. No incidents or accidents no hints of allegations....

Riding through Wall Street and past the Hells Angels clubhouse the temperature remained quite comfortable--never got too hot. The ride through the Cedar area was up and down and not much traffic. I stopped and took a picture of the Forest Fire, but it looked like a lot of smoke. It seemed like a quick trip to the 49th Parallel, and it was a great control. An open porta-potty, a nice lawn to lie on and take a rest, a Tim Hortons and a convenience store. Is this Ranndoneur Heaven? Ladysmith kinda reminds of a small town in Oregon.

It was time to turn around and head for home. I was still on schedule for my goal of 22 hours, maybe a little ahead. Back through Cedar and to Nanaimo--very interesting what I see from Rando Riding like the improvement happening on Haliburton, and how nice the downtown core of Nanaimo is getting. Back by the Timmy's, where the other riders start and finish, the Wahoo congratulated me again for finishing, but I kept going, and it got me out of the parking lot and on to the Lantzville-Nanoose express way. Where are all these cars going on a Saturday night?

At 300k I was feeling pretty good--now I was thinking “next PBP I am going to do the 84 hour route, ya that's the ticket". At 310ish I was riding to Beachcomber thinking this that is a nice area with lots of good quality homes. I couldn't see much of anything cause it was dark--I am sure it was nice.

Going into Parksville I was thinking 21 hours, but then there was a wall around 340. A slight head wind picked up and it took me an hour to ride 10k. Riding through Qualicum Beach was a breeze compared to earlier in the day. I like it again. There were a lot of vans, campers and a few tents, but around the corner was the wind again.

I was getting sleepy and started yawning, it felt good to yawn but I hear this not a good sign. I struggled for a while until Qualicum Bay where I had more bottles of water stashed behind the big wall. There was no wind behind the wall so I hung out for 10 minutes. I hit the road again: now I was questioning whether I could do PBP. Shoes loosened off, my butt was bitching at me, that long cable (much too long) that was plugged into the Wahoo from the battery was bugging me. I didn't want to stop and move so I held on to it. I trudged on knowing it will be over soon enough.

I finally reached Fanny Bay, only 30k to go. But I needed a nap. My 21 hours plan was gone, and my 22 hour plan was gone. It doesn't matter--it is not a race. I lay in the grass and nodded off and I woke up 30 minute later. I was on the road again riding comfortably. By Union Bay it all went bad again; tired and slow I started counting down the streets, not the towns, to help keep going.

In Royston I saw a couple headlights and yelled " Are you guys Randonneurs?"

"Who else would be out here at this time of night?" was the reply.

I felt bad later, I didn't have the juice to walk across the street to say hi or take a picture. We wished each other good luck and rode off, not knowing who they were. I had only 6 k to go--they had a hundred.

At this point it was pedal, stand up and coast, then sit down, grimace and pedal, stand up and coast, until I hit the bright lights of Courtenay. I was soon home, grabbed a beer, some olives and chips. The first thing tomorrow I need to get some shorter cables.
Maybe 84 hours is to ambitious, I'll probably do the 90 hour start.

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August 25, 2021