The two biggest challenges in successfully completing this ride were:
- getting out of bed at 4:30am on a freezing cold morning with no Rando Buddy waiting to shame me for sleeping in.
- the last 50kms where my lack of training put the hurt on me big time.
When my alarm went off Saturday morning I wasted 10 valuable minutes pondering the existential dilema of riding the 200K or staying in a warm bed. I had prepared just about everything the night before including 2 cups of tea and breakfast. So Getting out the door wouldn’t be too hard. The forecast was for warm sunny weather which was helpful. The route was through a lovely area of Vancouver Island which got me stoked. Even better the start was at a bakery and the finish was at a pub. How could I say no?!
Even with my preparation the night before I got out of the driveway 15mins later than I had wanted to. That meant driving very fast the whole way to the start at Chemainus while hoping the police had some crack dealers to bust at 5am on a Saturday rather than set up speed traps. I got to Chemainus with about 15-20mins to spare before the ride started. I rode leisurely over to the start only to find it closed. Hmmm…the ride started at The Dancing Bean last year and I guess I hadn’t read the ride page closely enough to pick up the change…=( I slowly rode around town looking for signs of life and men in tights! It didn’t take too long to spot the start at the Utopia Bakery and some familiar faces.
My first problem showed up around this time when I powered up my GPS and tried to load the route. My lame-ass Garmin tells me it can’t navigate the route because there are more than 50 way points. For the love of God! My phone can hold the entire contents of the Great Library of Alexandria and my GPS can’t sort out a 200K route? I had forgotten how pathetic the Garmin operating system was since last year’s rando season. Oh well – I loaded up the track of the route that I had put on the GPS and used that instead. A track is basically a trail of dots showing where someone had gone before. Not as nice as turn by turn directions, but it was better than a punch in the head!
The 20 odd riders rolled out onto the course in very chilly temps. I was starting to doubt my clothing choices as it was a lot colder than I had expected, but I didn’t want to stop and put on a jacket because I’d lose the Rando Train! As it turned out my wool layers were ideal for the cold to warm weather we ended up with. I was trying to stay with a slower group that wouldn’t kill me on the ride. I tend to go out too fast and then suffer at the end. I settled into a larger group that was going my speed on the flats, but they really slowed on the climbs. I had to decide if I wanted to push on to a faster group that climbed at my pace, but that would probably go faster than I would like on the flats or stay where I was. I didn’t want to ride alone so I needed someone to stick with. I ended up leaving the larger group and finding a smaller group up the road.
That group got whittled down to Jeff and I. He was going a fast pace that I could manage in his draft, but I started to feel guilty after a while. I wasn’t sure how long I could wheel suck before I went from Rando Buddy to Rando Jerk. Eventually Tobin rode up to us and we were three. This 50km stretch to the first control had a lot of climbing in it. [You can click on the route map at the top and get an interactive ride map.] I was climbing pretty well and managed to hang on on the flats. I did take a turn at the front to assuage my wheel sucker’s guilt, but it was tough enough that I knew that wouldn’t be happening a lot on this ride! We eventually caught up to John [who as it turns out is a blog reader] and he motored along with the three of us in tow to the first control near Lake Cowichan at around 50kms. It hadn’t warmed up much to this point and we started to doubt the forecast for sunny skies.
I was keen to keep my stops as short as possible on this ride and the first control set the right tone for me:
- put some food in your mouth
- get control card signed & put away
- eat some more
- adjust clothing
- adjust bike [leather tension on my saddle]
- eat some more
- get rolling
- Total distance = 202kms
- Total ride time = 9:30
- Avg speed = 22.9kph
- Riding time = 8:49
- Time off the bike = 41mins
- got out of bed at 4:30am!…=-)
- great weather
- great route
- enthusiastic friendly club volunteers at the controls
- ate and drank well
- good folks to ride with
- no bonus KMs
- finished middle of the pack
- no flats or mechanicals
- wore the right clothes for weather conditions
- bike was comfy
- 650B tires were ideal for all the rough pavement and gravel patches
- shifting needed tweaking
- saddle needed tightening
- GPS route didn’t work
- lots of rough pavement needed my full attention [especially when drafting]
- low energy on the last part of the ride
- didn’t take many photos
- nothing! – sweet…=-)
What I should do different next brevet?
- check out the bike a little more carefully [shifting, saddle, ect…]
- turn on GPS at home and load route to ensure it will navigate
- pack food that’s easy to eat on the bike [open some packages in advance]
- train hard – hahahaha…yeah right!