Victoria Populaire 100K

31 03 2011

Sean ready to ride...

The day of the BC Randonneurs Victoria Populaire started overcast, blustery and cold. The forecast was for light rain which in Victoria is usually a lie, but the skies looked like they might open up for real. I got up early and rode over to Sean’s place down in Oak Bay. We did some last minute futzing and made our way up to the University of Victoria starting point for the ride. We were early – very early and that meant we were cold – very cold! Next year we’ll roll up about 0945am for the 10am start. The upside of getting there early was meeting some nice folks I chatted with online, but never met in person. That was fun. We also got to check out a whole lot of cool rando rigs. I’ll post a bunch of photos in a separate post.

So far besides being cold and so windy the sign in booth nearly went flying a few times it seemed like the rain might hold off. I was stoked…=-)

Paul showed up for the 50K and it was good to see him again since we hadn’t managed a ride together since last spring.

Photo: Mikael - BC Rando Site...

The start was a bit chaotic so I hung back and just rode steady not making any fast moves. It didn’t take long for the group to get split up by lights and I lost Sean to a group further up the road. After a few tense moments with folks doing silly things I decided it would be safer to be riding on my own so I got ahead of our group just in time to fly through an intersection as the light changed. I was happy to see Paul was with me as well as someone on a Surly LHT. I was happy to be riding by GPS as the first 15km of this 100K had more turns than a 300K ride in Alberta! Things were going pretty well until we hit the ocean. At that point a howling crosswind caused a lot of mayhem.

I lost Paul behind me and could see everyone was struggling to stay together. I was feeling a bit bad that I had lost Sean since I convinced him to come out so we could ride together. It was obvious I wasn’t going to be able to keep going slowly and finish the 100K in a decent time so I hit the gas and pushed on alone. Ultimately I ended up riding just behind Sean the rest of the way to the 50K turn around point and I didn’t see Paul again. Apologies to both of them – the best laid plans don’t work out sometimes!….=-(

Although my GPS was working okay a few wacky directions made me lose 100% confidence in it so I started using both the route sheet and the GPS. When they agreed I was solid and when they didn’t I knew I needed to take a second to make sure I made the right move. After one wrong turn a nice rider stuck with me for a while to make sure I stayed on track…=-)

When I did catch up with Sean he seemed in good spirits, but ready to make the run back to UVic. It’s too bad we didn’t get to ride together, but I can tell his stoke for doing some more road riding this summer is in full effect…sweet…=-) BTW – Sean was the fastest 50K rider at 2:20hrs….nice job.

Cruising up the east coast to Sidney is becoming a familiar experience as it’s a great cycling route. I was following a couple of guys when we hit a dirt MUP and with my 40m tires I just kept rolling while they slowed a bit to accomodate their narrow rubber. I was feeling pretty good as I rolled past the 50K mark nearing Sidney. I decided to stop in town for a cup of hot tea and a muffin as well as use the washroom at a cafe.

You may call me the Plumpkin Randonneur...=-)

My clothing choice for the day was working well:

  • wool 3/4 tights
  • wool leg warmers under tights
  • wool socks
  • wool thermal zip neck
  • medium weight wool jersey
  • fleece gloves
  • ear warmer
  • neck warmer
  • rain jacket [in bar bag]
  • rain gloves, rain chaps and boot covers [in bar bag]

The only issues I had were that the gloves I brought had a lot of holes in them!! and my sunglasses wouldn’t stay in place with the ear warmers on. I’ll use different ones next ride.

After my tea stop I worked my way to the last control before the run home down the west side of the peninsula. I ran into a few familiar faces from earlier in the ride and we all left together, but I didn’t have the legs to stay with them for long. Given my lack of training I really need to start out slower and not do foolish things like pulling a pace line along the ocean in a headwind! I was smart enough not to kill myself to stay with them and since the scenery of these quite backroads was so nice I was happy just to roll along on my own. To my surprise I found a couple of those faster riders waiting for me 15kms down the road. That was nice of them for sure.

Sadly the last 15kms or so into town I was a lot slower than them so they had to really soft pedal and wait for me the whole way. I had to work harder than I would have on my own to do my best not to hold them up anymore than absolutely necessary. I’m not sure anyone had fun that last bit, but it was very kind of them to shepherd me in.

Sean on the road...

In the end it was a great day of riding without any rain. In fact in got sunny at points during the ride and made me happy to be on the Best Coast [BC]…=-) I was really happy to see so many rando types in one spot and ride with them. The turn out was 50-60 riders which is about 6-10 times what it would be in Alberta for a brevet [no populaires in AB!]. My fitness sucks, but at least it can’t go anywhere, but up.

My speed was 22.5kph on the bike and I spent about 38mins not moving for a total ride time of 5:05hrs. My distance ridden to and from the event was ~40kms for a total of ~140kms on the day. I was carrying my full brevet load [incl spare tire + 2 tubes and full rain gear] rather than striping down the bike for the shorter ride. I can ride up to a 600K [I think] with the same load by just replenishing food/water.

Victoria Populaire results are here and photos are here.

Paul coming into the 1st control...Photo: Jim - from BC Rando Site...

Lessons learned:

  • Going to Mexico kiteboarding for 6 weeks and then going away for work for another 2 weeks just prior to the rando season is not ideal for cycling fitness.
  • I’m going fast enough and I am comfortable enough to complete the 200K next weekend.
  • I’ve got a few minor tweaks to do to my cockpit in terms of bar/stem/saddle.
  • My white Oakleys don’t work great with ear warmers – wear a different pair next time.
  • The last bit of the 200K next weekend will not be fun.
  • 80% of the time when the forecast is for rain in Victoria it’s a lie.
  • The roads and scenery around Victoria are awesome for cycling…almost makes me glad I am going slower so I can appreciate them…almost…=-)
  • I need to start out a bit slower and build my energy output towards the end vs. the other way around.
  • I need to eat more at breakfast, but my on the bike eating is fine.
  • I will open energy bars and split them up so I can eat more easily on the move.
  • I want to pack a sandwich I can eat along the route. The weather is cool enough to keep it fresh and I prefer real food when possible.
  • I mixed my second  bottle of sports drink way too strong. However, I may do that again for the 200K so that once I am done the first bottle I can buy some water and mix two fresh bottles from the strong second one.
  • I will use the cue sheet as well as GPS for the next ride as I don’t completely trust my GPS.
  • Too late to do much training, but I’ll go out for some night ride action on Wednesday and then just do my normal about town errand cycling.
  • I really like riding a rando event with more than 4 other riders on the course!

Map, control card and cue sheet...

Up Next Spring Islander 200K

  • the route looks sweet with long dirt/gravel sections to and from Sooke [ideal for 40mm tires!]
  • I love the quite rusticness of the Galloping Goose Trail when it heads west out of the city.
  • So far the weather looks good on Saturday…nice…=-)
  • I only have to ride 7kms each way to start…=-)
  • I’ve swapped in the new cantis and levers – what a PITA!
  • So I need a test ride [Wed PM] to confirm all is good before Saturday.
  • GPS has been programmed.
  • Spring Islander 200K Info

Dave Horton: Fear of Cycling

30 03 2011

At least she's wearing a helmet!

I came across this interesting discussion of how fear plays a key role in keeping people off bikes via the Los Alamos Bikes Blog. Both links are worth a read if this subject interests you.

Read the full article here:

“Cycling has formed part of UK society for over a century. For much of that time, the bicycle was the most numerous vehicle on the roads, a major means of everyday mobility (Alderson 1972; McGurn 1999). But the amount of cycling in the UK has fallen dramatically and more or less continuously over the last half century; it accounted for 37 per cent of all journeys in 1949, but accounts for only around one per cent today (Department for Transport 2002). The number of cycles bought has never been higher, yet the number of cycling trips made on UK roads has never been lower.

Across government, cycling is now seen as ‘a good thing’. But despite growing pro-cycling rhetoric and policy in the UK, many people appear remarkably reluctant to ‘get on their bikes’. Why? Discussion about impediments to cycling tends to concentrate on lack of good cycling infrastructure, such as cycling routes and cycle parking. Seemingly insurmountable barriers, such as hilly topography, high levels of rainfall and cold winters, are also considered influential. But what about emotional barriers to cycling?

Numerous studies have shown fear to be a significant barrier to cycling (British Medical Association 1992; Davies et al 1997; Gardner 1998; Gardner and Ryley 1997; Pearce et al 1998; Ryley 2004). One study based on quantitative and qualitative research, Barriers to Cycling (CTC et al1997, 7), concludes ‘the most prominent practical barriers perceived to be deterring potential cyclists were danger and safety’. The UK Department for Transport (2007, 2) reports that 47 per cent of adults ‘strongly agree that “the idea of cycling on busy roads frightens me”‘. Nor is fear of cycling confined to the UK. Gary Gardner (2002, 76) reports how, in ‘surveys in three U.S. cities in the early 1990s, more than half of respondents cited lack of safety as an influential factor in their decisions not to cycle’. This fear of cycling impinges on cycling promotion; for example, one person who tried to encourage colleagues to cycle to work during National Bike Week notes that: ‘Several people have criticised my efforts as irresponsible as cycling is “Dangerous” and by encouraging it we are putting employees at risk’ (email to cycle-planning discussion group, June 2004).”


Sean’s Bike with Crud Roadracer MK2 fenders…

28 03 2011

Sean on the move...

I installed a set of Crud Roadracer Mk2 full coverage plastic fenders on Sean’s road bike Saturday. They went on in about 15mins without any hassles and fit well. They look like they’ll provide excellent protection for a quick attach fender although it didn’t rain on the Victoria Populaire yesterday so I can’t confirm that yet. They run quietly and don’t move around a ton. In terms of first impressions they seem like a nice option for bikes with minimal clearance that would preclude a more traditional plastic/metal fender. They look pretty nice as well.

Sean's ride...


Surly Saturday…

27 03 2011

I loves me a Surly day of riding...=-)

No Promise of Safety…

27 03 2011

Photo: No Promise of Safety

Someone [sorry I’ve misplaced the person’s name!…=-(] posted this website’s URL in the comments section of my blog. I’ve only scratched the surface reading about their exploits, but so far I love it.

Here is what they say about No Promise of Safety:

“Most of us enjoy the benefit of living in a safe society. We live within defined and defended borders. We sleep soundly under the ever reaching umbrella of government protection. Our food and water are monitored, our consumer products tested. Cups of coffee are sold with warning labels, “this is hot.” Seat belts are required on most roads in most developed countries.  The benefits of this recent rise of safety cannot be denied. Infant mortality is down, life expectancy is up, and more and more people are gaining the material markers of a so called “modern world.”

But what of the detriment they have caused? Adventure has become a packaged commodity. One can take an afternoon course in skydiving, or a pre-planned six day trip to Jerusalem. Even Everest has become a tourist trap. Rich men and women shelling out six figures for a guided treck up the mountain. The danger has been minimized for the convenience of the consumer; the difficult planning already done.  These adventures are not adventures at all. They are vacuum packed, sanitized bastardizations of an original independent spirit.

The things described on this site are not “safe” in the way that modern society has come to understand safety. We are not experts in our field. We don’t always use tested and accepted equipment. We don’t always go where it is deemed safe for us to go.  The risks are plain and clear to all involved, but we face them and weigh the options. Climb that crane and take a slight risk of death or incarceration? Or stay home and watch another uninspiring television show? Rather than pursue solely the recreational products and services offered to us we choose to follow our own aims.

Want to summit that skyscraper? No need to jump through hoops trying to arrange a guided tour. Just use your own head and get up there yourself. When you abandon the child-parent relationship between yourself and society and start to act and think for yourself a whole new world will open up. The consequences truly pale in comparison because, lets face it, what we do is not that dangerous and a night in the cells is really not that bad.

Don’t approve? Hey at least we don’t kill innocent people.

Photo: No Promise of Safety

No Promise of Safety is Vikapproved…=-)

Weekend Projects…

26 03 2011

Time to get to work...

I’m happy to be home again and I’ve got a few projects to take care of this weekend.

  • my Boulder Bicycle All Road needs the v-brakes/levers pulled and cantis installed. The v-brake on the front interferes with the Nitto M12 rack. It’s been at least a decade since I last setup up some cantis so I’ll be referring to Sheldon Brown and Park Tools online expertise!
  • Most of the folks I had hoped would ride with me on the Victoria Populaire have dropped off for various reasons. But, my friend Sean decided to give it a go. He was worried about his road bike’s lack of fenders and asked me to help him install some Crud Roadracer MK2 fenders on his rig. I’m stoked about that because I wanted to check a set of these out, but didn’t have a bike that they made sense on.
  • the Victoria Populaire takes place on Sunday so I need to upload the route into my GPS. Now that I know what a limited route mapping ability it has [50 waypoints for turn by turn navigation] hopefully I can massage the route so that  it works without any road side edits or cursing on my part! If this doesn’t go well you’ll be seeing a new GPS review on this blog next week….hahaha!
  • I’ll be riding the 100K route and Sean will tackle the 50K route. Kurt may come out and ride the 50K or 100K route.

I heart helmets…=-)

26 03 2011

Mtn biking I fall off my bike regularly...

I own several helmets and I do wear them.


Fast road riding...

I think they are great pieces of gear that can be very useful. I don’t wear a helmet 24/7. I put a helmet on when I feel the activity warrants it.

I'm a fall waiting to happen on a mtn board!

I use a few guidelines to determine if I should wear a helmet:

  1. am I likely to fall/crash?
  2. if so how fast am I going and what can I hit?
  3. is the activity more dangerous than taking a shower or driving my truck?
  4. special conditions [ie. sickness, icy roads, fog, etc…]

I was going to keep going with a logical analysis of how I used helmets to back up my whole rationale safety post. The problem is when I looked into my helmet use more closely I discovered to my dismay I am not very logical about when and why I wear a helmet…=-(

Kiteboarding helmet & impact vest for 30' high crashes!

I don’t wear a helmet at home in the shower even though it’s pretty damn dangerous:

“Nobody ever expects a home accident to happen, but a slip down the stairs or a kitchen grease fire can happen in the blink of an eye — even with careful homeowners. In England alone in 2007, nearly 2.7 million people were injured in a home accident. In the United States, injury is the leading cause of death among children and young adults and nearly half of these accidents occur in the home, according to the National Safety Council. That same group states that in 2002, there were more than 33,000 deaths and 8,000,000 disabling injuries that occurred in the home. That makes one death every 16 minutes and one disabling home injury every four seconds. When it comes to injury and death in home accidents, the leading culprits are falls, toxins and suffocation by ingested object or smoke inhalation.”

I don’t wear a helmet in my truck even though driving is pretty damn dangerous:

“Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among those age 5-34 in the U.S.1 More than 2.3 million adult drivers and passengers were treated in emergency departments as the result of being injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2009.2 The economic impact is also notable: the lifetime costs of crash-related deaths and injuries among drivers and passengers were $70 billion in 2005.”

Watch out for the trees!

Now I could just put on a helmet the moment I woke up in the AM and then keep it on until I was back in bed that night. However, I’m a wild  man. I jump into the shower each AM and lather up without a care in the world. Sure the bathroom is competing with the kitchen for most deadly room in the house, but I am so bold that I not only don’t wear a helmet in the shower I add liquid soap to the mix just to make my footing less secure. No seriously I do! If that wasn’t enough I then pad over to the kitchen [again with no helmet on] and get something to eat. Like bacon, eggs and toast with no body armour or eye protection – let alone a skid lid.

I suppose because of this crazy reckless attitude I’ve become immune to fear and after breakfast I’ll climb into my truck and get this…not wearing even a baseball cap…I’ll drive through rush hour traffic to get to a meeting.

So when it comes to sports I weigh the risks up against the crazy death defying deeds I do every AM. If the activity is more dangerous I put on a helmet and possibly some other protective gear. If not I don’t.

Now before you leave me a comment I know what someone will say…“…are you nuts you can easily slip in the shower and crack your skull open!…I wear a helmet in the shower and in the kitchen…It doesn’t bother me and if I do fall I’ll sure be glad I had it on…” This is all very true. The bathroom is indeed the most dangerous room in the house for falls and car accidents are the #1 cause of brain injuries. So I cannot deny that it’s possible I could fall and hurt myself or dent my brain in a car wreck.

And yes you are also right that it’s a bit silly for me to wear a helmet road biking when I’ve never even fallen off a road bike once in my life – yet I’ve slipped in the bathroom several times and I’ve had 4 or 5 car crashes. So why no helmet where it really matters? I’m a kook. I’ll admit it. I don’t want to look like a geek driving around town in my truck. Sure after the shower it’s the most dangerous thing I’ll do that day, but at some point you just gotta stop worrying and crank up the tunes…you know?

One of the most dangerous things I do all day and no helmet - WTF?

I’m a bit torn – my cavalier attitude aside. I mean I know a guy whose cousin’s wife’s uncle slipped in the shower at a hockey rink after a game and would have died if he didn’t still have his hockey helmet on. I guess it was cracked right in two where his head hit the water temperature knob. OTOH I’ve slipped in the bathroom, but never actually hit my head on anything. I had a full on tumble on the stairs between my kitchen and bathroom last year. I went from walking to BAM! on the ground laid out…not sure what happened and I didn’t hit my head, but I could have and it was over so fast I didn’t have time to protect my melon at all.

I guess I have to decide if I want to take risks at home and in the truck for the sake of style and convenience or be safer and wear a helmet as soon as I get out of bed. Tough choice frankly!