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A Whistlin' Through Hell
I'm new to the club this year. I'm not sure how, but I stumbled upon PBP somewhere... and I was like "this seems like a good idea".
Anyway I reached out to Nigel sometime in late 2021 and I asked about getting into PBP..and he said "do a series + 1,000" or something like that.
"A series ??"" What's that about? Ahhh... OK...I get it now. So... as of October 2021 I set out to complete a full series this year + a 1,000 in order to get a good registration opportunity for PBP. Met some good people along the way in both Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
Because the Vancouver Island spring rides were one week earlier, I opted to do those ones... in the event of a mechanical or DNF for another reason, this would give me the optionality to do the Lower Mainland ride the following week.
The 1,000 is the one I was really looking forward to this year. The other distances I had ridden before and I knew what they were all about. 1,000 I did not.
Originally the route was going to be a Kamloops loop - I was really looking forward to that one, but understandably the #3 from Hope to Princeton is in grim shape, so a new route was devised. I was cool with this.
The new route would take me back to the S2S Highway. This was bittersweet for me. In August 2020 I was riding back from Whistler (I had just ridden Vancouver to Hope and Hope to Whistler via the Duffey LK rd). Halfway between Squamish and HS Bay I was struck by a pickup with a load of lumber dangling off the side of a pick-up. I was OK, but the driver seriously injured another cyclist that was 50 metres in front of me who I had met about 30 minutes before on the road. I watched the cyclist get hit, and thrown from his bike into Traffic. This is after I was struck, and my helmet was broken when I was hit from behind. This could have been much worse.
Idiot drivers are out there. Deal with it. Be prepared. I was vigilant before. Now I am even more careful.
A 1,000 km ride was a good reason to go back to the S2S.
The day started wet. Wet roads. Bit of rain. Things cleared up a bit on the way to HS Bay... I took off my rain jacket...so of course, it then started to rain more... put the rain jacket back on... It rained on and off to Whistler.
At Control #1 in Whistler I was soaked. Fully soaked / borderline cold but no deep chills. If I could move I could generate enough heat to proceed to Pemberton.
I convinced myself to go to Pemberton and if things got really bad I could always bail at a motel down there and warm up.
It rained more on the way to Pemby. There was a gravel race underway and there were a few riders on the highway as part of their race... I passed a few racers that were riding down to Pemberton (that was fun :) ). I was making myself work to generate body heat.
Turned around at the end of the Pemby Meadows road...and headed back to Vancouver.
I was running a bit slower than originally planned, but overall I was happy with my pace over Whistler.
I saw Murray Tough headed down to Pemberton - He looked like he was having fun.
The ride back to Vancouver was pretty uneventful. I gradually dried up. Gloves were less wet, etc... My plan was to stop at Control #4 in Vancouver/Burnaby for a more substantial meal and I did. I had one small flat, but the sealant in my tubeless tires held. Score 1 for tubeless.
Once I was back on the road, I was planning to ride into the evening and stay at the Sasquatch Inn in Harrison Mills. I had pre-paid for a room. I had stopped more than planned (pretty much all weather related) so I arrived about 45 mins later than originally planned.
30 mins to get to sleep - 4 hours of sleep - 30 min to get rolling in the AM.
I was now 1 hour behind my plan. I had planned to be rolling at 4AM I was rolling at 5AM.
I spent the better part of 20 mins trying to get cold tap water. Unfortunately all taps in my room were piped for HOT water. This was kind of gross but I had to make do.
NOTHING is open around there at 5AM. Anyway - hot water is still water.
Around 5:45 AM I was rolling past a robotics company in Agassiz - there was a guy in the yard loading up his truck, so I pulled in and I ended up using their tap for some cold water. Much better... on we go. Next stop (after the #7/#9 control would be Boston Bar).
I really enjoy the Fraser Canyon. I've ridden it a number of times. It's low traffic, challenging, and the road is mostly in good shape. Tunnels are cool as well. Hadn't been back since the November floods so I was curious how it would be. It is fine.
As a kid, one of my first memories on a bike is my dad dropping me off with my Norco Mountain bike and leaving me on the road to ride in the Fraser Canyon. He would stop ahead like 10KM... And I would rejoin them.
The weather was so-so. On and off rain which meant on and off jacket, gloves, etc...
When I arrived in Boston Bar Sunday morning, I went into Fas Gas to buy one of those disgusting microwaveable pizza subs (the ones you nuke in the bag). First one was 3 days / expired. Second one was a week expired. I left Fast Gas and went to the gas station across the street.
Now I was heading back. This was mentally a big deal. I had gone to the two "major" turns, and it was time to head home! (never mind that 150K I would have to ride after Vancouver... Got another tire puncture - this one was bigger but the sealant held - the rock / glass was still protruding from my tire, so I pushed it deeper into my tire. No plug needed. Sealant held. Score 2 for tubeless !!
Of Course I had a headwind the whole way back to Hope. Head Wind got worse as I got closer and the clock got closer to noon. By Noon I was around Hope heading back on the 7 to Harrison into a raging head wind. I knew this would happen. It could have been worse if it was sunnier out. Got to Harrison Hot Springs, and took some new roads in behind which was nice.
There was quite a bit of traffic heading back to Mission. The shoulder in Harrison Mills is in rough shape. I preferred riding on the road in the middle of the night.
The ride back from Mission was mostly uneventful. The Lougheed / Haney bypass was rough. There was a lot of traffic and the shoulder was crap. This would get the blood flowing again and wake me up. Also, there was so much traffic that it created that natural highway tail wind.
By the time I arrived in Vancouver early Sunday evening I had a nice tail wind. Weather was beautiful and I was in full strip-down mode. I got a few strange looks riding through Stanley Park with my rig strapped with so much gear...
Once I arrived in Marpole I stopped for my second major meal of this ride. At this point my plan was to continue riding through the night until it was done. The weather was nice and it wouldn't be too cold.
The Richmond and Delta portions flew by relatively quickly. Night riding is great. Bright Lights and ZERO traffic on river road.
There was a ferry that arrived around midnight just as I reached the Tsawwassen terminal. Thankfully most of the traffic cleared the road before I was heading back.
Once I crossed the Queensborough bridge, this is where things got slow. There were a number of bike paths and roads I had never ridden before. There was a LOT of up and down.
This section I probably averaged like 15k / hr. I was slow and I had to navigate so many turns.
Got to the final control at 3:53 AM Monday morning. I packed up my bike and proceeded to McDonalds for an Egg McMuffin... But NOPE... "Sorry sir, we reset our system so we can't sell you one..." I guess you need a computer to make an Egg McMuffin these days. Whatever... So it goes.
I was very happy to be done with this ride. It was a fun and challenging couple of days and my spring Brevet series was complete! Mission accomplished.
Kids... We are going to France! (Provided I get my series done next year).
I went home and got into bed without having a shower. My wife really loved that.
Happy Father's Day !
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June 23, 2022