Devil Week 2017

Ride Report from David Hamilton:

Early in the winter, I circled the dates for the first International Devil Week hosted by the Huron Chapter and in partnership with the Detroit Randonneurs. Although there wasn’t much climbing on any of the rides compared to many of our Randonneurs Ontario routes, the wind is always a factor when you’re riding on flat, mostly farm land, surrounded by large bodies of water!

The Tour d’Essex 200 was the first ride and there were probably 20 riders out for it. The morning wind was moderate and out of the west, so the pace was good for the first leg to Tilbury and most of rode in a pack. The group began splitting up a bit after that. John and Ben hooked up with a tandem and set the pace. I rode solo for a bit, then met up with Sam from Ohio and Dave from Detroit. Most of the other riders stuck together.

I fell in with the pack again near Leamington and the joys of group riding were reinforced when, as a traffic light was turning yellow, some riders bolted through while others, like me, stopped. Henk tried to beat the light, but he was behind me, so instead of running the yellowish-red, he ran into my leg!

The route itself is spectacular. I’ve ridden it before and appreciate the changes to it around Amherstburg that took us off the Parkway and onto quieter paths and roads. We stopped at the giant Canadian flag along the Detroit River for a photo op before continuing on to the finish.

Day 2 saw a smaller group tackle the Erioh 300. I’m a slower rider so I set my own pace and let the pack go their way, but I met up with most of them at the first control. There was a massive tailwind for about 40km along the shore of Lake Erie and that was way too much fun to have on two wheels. I met up with Jerzy at some point along the way, and he and I “rode” together to Erieau, which really means, he blazed on ahead and I met up with him for a snack at the control.

At this point, the pack had fallen back, enjoying life at the controls and the fine weather. A smaller group of us left Erieau and headed north. Jerzy fell in with Ben and John, and I did my solo. The cross winds were horrific, and the traffic along some of the shoulderless roads was gruesome. At one point, John and Ben passed me and John asks “Having fun yet?” Oh yeah. Loads.

But eventually the winds died down a bit and the ride west along Lake St. Clair was picturesque and much less stressful. Not far from the final control, I ran into construction and the route road was an excavated pit. Hmm. I checked the sandy spots to see if I could track the others who’d been ahead of me but to no avail. A quick check of the smart phone revealed where I needed to be, so I found a way through a couple of trucking yards to the road.

I finished the ride about 20 minutes after the other three riders and was slowly packing my gear away when Sam arrived via taxi with health issues. He had to abandon his ride about 20km from the finish. The rest of the riders all finished up about an hour after my ride.

So, two rides down, two more to go!

The 400 began in Port Huron. Carey and I were going to share a room. Henk asked if he could join us, so we got a cot for him but it turns out Carey couldn’t make it so Henk got the extra bed.  Several of us went out for a massive pre-ride feed at the Golden Corral. This was my first time at a Golden Corral, although I recalled my son’s stories of it from the times he was in Florida for baseball spring training. It is something to behold. Words cannot do it justice. If you haven’t been, you will be at once shocked, overwhelmed, amazed and disgusted. Yeah, you just have to go see for yourself.

The ride itself up the Michigan “thumb” was fantastic. Again, the weather was perfect with not a lot of wind. Beautiful scenery. It didn’t take me long to find my legs and fall into a good pace. At the Subway control, I pulled in just as three Detroit riders were pulling out. We would see each other frequently over the rest of the route. I finished the ride in 20 hours, which was faster than I had planned but I think only because the wind wasn’t an issue, there were no hills, and I didn’t stay long at the controls.

On to Canton for the 600!

Despite my broken shoe, I was confident about completing the 600. I did look at a couple of bike shops in Detroit to see if I could find a new pair of shoes, but with no luck. In retrospect, what I should have done is pick up a pair of flat pedals and worn sneakers, but I wasn’t thinking straight.

As it turns out, the broken shoe was bearable but not a lot of fun. Shortly after the first control in Hell, I shredded my front tire. Tom the organizer had warned us that the route itself wasn’t overly difficult, but the roads were. He was right. Many of the roads had huge potholes, broken pavement, and several other riders also had problems with multiple flats and shredded tires.

Still, I was on a 20 km/h pace and happy with that but it did not last. My legs were giving out and I just couldn’t get them going again. By the time I rode in to Adrian around the 290 km mark, I was done. All three hotels there were booked, so I found a 24 hour Tim Horton’s (!!) and figured I’d refuel and rest there. Alas, it was all closed up, so I went to the Shell station, got what I needed, and hunkered down clandestinely in a stand of big shrubs near the Tim’s. Ah, randonneuring at its finest!

I woke in the morning and decided to follow the 600 route back to the control at 413 km which just happens to be the hotel where we were staying. I cleaned up at the now-open Tim’s and continued along the route. More potholes and messy roads, and this time some rain too. It was extremely humid but fortunately, the sun wasn’t out yet so it stayed relatively cool.

I pulled into the hotel a little worse for wear and was grateful to get out of my cycling gear and into civilian clothes and waited for the others to show up, which they did in the fullness of time.

All in all, I was pretty happy with my rides and really fortunate to have been around more experienced riders. John, Ben, Henk, and Martin taught me a lot about long-distance riding. Next year, I believe the Ottawa Chapter will be hosting the Devil Week and we can all expect a lot more climbing for those rides.

Much Ado 200 Permanent

Ride Report from David Hamilton:

I was going to be in London the June 24 weekend, so I arranged a permanent ride of the Much Ado 200k route. This is an enjoyable 200, basically heading north from London through St. Mary’s and on towards Millbank, then returning south through Stratford.

The weather for my ride was good. Lots of sunshine in the morning as I headed out from the Tim’s, and traffic was light. The first control is 95km in Millbank, so I stopped at a convenience store in St. Mary’s to rehydrate and snack before moving on.

While the skies were good, the wind was not. It was coming out of the west and northwest and it seemed I was going into it all the way up to Millbank. Unfortunately, I was also heading into it again on the return route! Lots of wind. At Anna Mae’s bakery in Millbank, renovations have taken place (I hadn’t ridden this route in a couple of years). It is now really easy to get in, grab your supplies, and get out again. I was tempted to buy some pastries but decided to keep going.

Worst part of the ride: I was heading east from Millbank and saw a beautiful dog apparently hit by a car, dead at the side of the road. I’ve seen all kinds of roadkill on my rides, but this was the toughest. Some family will be heartbroken.

Again, more wind as I pushed into Stratford. The Lakeside road that goes behind the theatres is beautiful and reminds me a lot of the Rideau Canal back home. Lots of people were out feeding the geese and swans and enjoying the summer weather.

From Stratford back to London, I could see the skies darkening and showers appear in the area. I was pretty lucky, though. I pulled off the road and took shelter under a stand of trees while a shower passed over. Then the sun came out again and it was smooth sailing back to the city.

I finished the ride in 10:48, then the family went out to Spageddy Eddies for a massive noodle feed!

Carolina Spring 1200

Ride report from Carey Chappelle:

In the fall last year Chris and I headed to Carolina for the Taste of Carolina 1200.  Hurricane Matthew was waiting for us, so after declining Tony Goodnight’s route change to reduce our headwind from 130 mph to 100mph, we simply had our dinner and headed back home.

This year was different, Spring … new route … pedalling through Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head … we couldn’t get more excited!

I convinced Chris to take an extra day off work so we could get to the Start in 2 days not one. Then I made reservations at the Four Points Hotel in Charleston, West Virginia for Monday night. Last year we drove by Charleston, West Virginia commenting on how gorgeous this town looked! We’ll … we confirmed that this year!! Dinner at the Pies and Pints downtown …

Followed with breakfast at the Swiftwater Cafe the next morning before heading to the Start in North Carolina.

Once in Durham, NC we booked into the Comfort Inn Research Triangle Park and were in touch with many of the 14 other Randonneurs participating in this 1200, enjoying a great brunch provided by Tony Goodnight. We all knew the Start time was 0400hrs the next day, so many headed to bed around 1830hrs to get some sleep in the bank!

0400hrs on Thursday morning came early, we enjoyed a speech from Tony Goodnight, and an introduction to other volunteers helping us out, then OFF we went!

We could see the American Flag standing straight out with that strong East Wind, but knew eventually, that would be a strong West Wind! Sunshine thru the first day meant putting on Sun Screen early and we did! A first for Chris and me. The roads were in great shape! Many looked newly paved, SWEET! Many farm lands from the 1800’s were still standing and taking a picture or two would have been nice but we don’t go fast enough to take the time to do so! Chris and I were the last to leave the Henderson Checkpoint after having lunch at Subway. We didn’t pay attention to our route sheet, believed in our Garmin GPS to lead the way. At this stage, I felt like I had been on the bike for 3 days, blamed the heat for that one! So, following our Garmin we added 5km just pedaling in circles! We finally decided to head back to Subway and follow our route sheet. No problems then. Eventually we were able to get our Garmin’s working properly and I just told Chris it’s not the Garmin … it’s us, WE have to learn how to use them! Then we passed an interesting road sign … Carey Chappel Lane but again not enough time to take a picture!

Heading towards our next Control, Chris’s right knee started testing him. Many years ago, Chris found he had a cartilage issue that the Doctor’s said they wouldn’t recommend surgery to repair until things got much worse … two weeks before this 1200, Chris pulled the pin on the Bowle Buster 300km Brevet, 56km into the ride feeling incredible knee pain and wanted to minimize the problem asap. Chris visited some specialists and was given the go ahead for this 1200km event.

Once we arrived at the next Control, a store in Gaston, NC we discussed Chris’s issue with Tony Goodnight who CORRECTED Chris’s seat position and iced his knee. Right away Chris felt better and we figured the problem was solved! As a matter of fact, I began thinking I had a problem, couldn’t keep up on the hills with Chris (normal anyway) but couldn’t keep up on the flats either. Thankfully Chris was never far enough ahead I couldn’t see him. At 03:42hrs. Chris and I arrived at our sleeping Control in Elizabeth City, NC had our Control Cards signed and hit the hay. An hour and a half later we were back on our bikes to start day 2 of this event.

Day 2’s route was the section Chris and I couldn’t wait to see! Going on Google Maps many times before this ride had us very excited about pedaling down an island just off the North Carolina Coast! We were experiencing heavy rain and wind at this time, Chris suddenly pulled over to have a discussion … he had just received the WEATHER WARNING on his cell phone. A TORNADO WAS HEADING IN OUR DIRECTION! I suggested we keep going because we would be able to see a Tornado and pedal a little faster if needed! Better than a Hurricane!!  Heading out to the island meant pedaling across a 5 km bridge, then thru the town Kill Devil Hill’s to the next Control in Nags Head, NC. The first sign we saw on the bridge was a GUST WARNING indicating your vehicle could be blown across lanes if the wind was in that direction! OUCH! Fortunately we had an EAST wind and flew in the right direction!

Chris and I were surprised seeing 3 other Randonneurs entering a McDonald’s for a break around 10:30hrs when the Control in Nags Head, NC closed early in the afternoon. This stage had the toughest wind and rain that Chris and I had ever experienced, Chris was ahead of me and protected by some trees, I was in the area without protection and blown off my bike! I was able to hold on to my bike and was expecting one of the neighbours across the road to offer me their garage for protection! I guess they weren’t home, so eventually the wind reduced and I was able to catch up to Chris! We continued to the Control in Nags Head, NC against strong head winds and tons of RAIN! After getting our Control Cards Signed we headed to Taco Bell where we ran into the 3 other Randonneurs that we had seen at McDonalds earlier on … half done their lunch … Chris was so surprised he asked where they had passed us because we hadn’t stopped anywhere!

Despite the weather conditions, the SCENERY BLEW ME AWAY! My daughter, Erika and wife, Donna would LOVE the scenery!! Now on our family’s ToDo list! The horrendous weather was simply Gods message to me … family first! Or so I thought!

Leaving Nags Head, NC, Chris and I figured we were about to enjoy a tail wind, as we would soon be heading West the majority of the time! I even suggested we may not have to pedal the rest of the 1200! Figuring a head wind leaving the island to the mainland was not what we expected … a tail wind … not as strong as the tail wind heading out to the island but better than a headwind none the less! Once we hit the mainland it was OBVIOUS! HEAD WIND HAD CHANGED! NOW FROM THE WEST!!! OUCH!!!!

Chris and I were headed to the Control in Engelhard, NC. Going north was a break from the wind, I took the lead and over time noticed Chris was falling back. I waited for him and let him know that we had to do a minimum of 15km/hr to be successful in finishing this 1200. It wasn’t long before I lost Chris again, I waited for him and just looking into his face told me his situation. He suggested that I let him go, he was going to DNF at the next Control as he physically couldn’t finish the last 600km. So I took off figuring I’d get the Organizer at the Control to come back and pick him up. Well, this Control had no Organizer and our Cell Phones didn’t work! I walked out of the restaurant looked back on the route and there was Chris heading to the Control. He said he’d finish this 1200 come HELL or HIGH water! So I sat on the window sill as only 3 chairs and a table in this restaurant existed and had something to eat, of course we arranged a chair for Chris.

We left the Engelhard, NC Control around 19:00hrs with three other Randonneurs and headed towards the next checkpoint in Belhaven, NC. The best part of this section was BLUE SKY AND SUNSHINE! The head wind still pummeled us and the sun went down early so we were simply trying to stay in line and on the road in the dark. Everyone’s km/hr was around 11 not 15 and there was nothing we could do about it for a good portion of this section!

Chris and I had been on the road for 32 hrs with 1.5hrs sleep. I was looking forward to getting a Cappuccino or two at the next Control just to stay awake during the night.

Of course we all think about LIFE at different times and this was my time! Chris was a little ahead of me, pedalling like he had no issues. It was between 12 and 1am Saturday morning. I figured we would get no more than 2hrs sleep before heading out for the 250km section Saturday and a few more hours sleep before finishing the 150km section Sunday … I thought how much more I would like to be in my bed at home with my wife Donna or visiting my daughter Erika in Toronto, then pedalling here.

My wife, Donna had surgery on Friday (during this 1200), her secretary took care of her, taking her to and from the hospital in Owen Sound. Why … I wasn’t there. Donna told me not to worry about it, so I tried not to. I was able to touch base with her before and after the surgery, but no one was home with her for the 24hrs needed. Of course she was on the phone continuously with neighbours and friends wanting to make sure everything was OK. I thought of the time my wife spent with me when I went through the Herpes Encephalitis scare in 2005 (and that happened during the March to the Marsh 600!), then the blood clots in my lungs after flying home from 2011’s PBP and then when she was successful doing the Heimlich maneuver on me in a restaurant in Paris, France after the 2015 PBP. The restaurant manager witnessed the event and dropped by to ask if we needed any help … my steak had landed on an Egyptian Lady’s plate and I had gone over and asked her if she wanted Steak or Fish … my wife said you will sit down, eat or drink nothing for at least 10mins … then she asked the manager to drop off a can of Coca Cola saying I needed that right of way. After the Coca Cola and 10mins of not eating, I finished my dinner, my daughter’s dinner, my daughter’s friend’s dinner, my wife’s dinner and the rest of the Red Wine!

OK … I added the story about the Egyptian Lady’s plate but everything else is true!

So, continuing on to the Belhaven, NC Control, 666km into this event I decided I was officially going to DNF, call it a day and tell Chris to continue on. So as we pulled in, Chris let me know he was going to DNF …. so after a couple of minutes I let Chris know that I personally had made the same decision just earlier on and that he WAS NOT the reason why. One of the Organizer’s was there, so we let him know, loaded our gear onto his vehicle, shook hands with the 3 Randonneurs left at the Control and wished them all well.  Chris had a physical reason why and I had just lost interest in finishing.

Chris, the ride Organizer and I headed out to the next Controls before stopping at the Sleep Control in New Bern, NC. The Organizer told us a Great story about this female Canadian Randonneur named Liz who finished three 1200km events in 2013 with the last one being the Taste of Carolina and that it had twice as much climbing and stronger winds then this one. After a half hour or so, I asked if her last name was Overduin, then wondered if I could hide in the trunk!

You’re famous Liz!

This is my only DNF in 20 years of Randonneuring, but I am 54yrs old and know what’s important in life. I will continue Randonneuring when I know that my family has no issues during these incredible rides!


Big Bay 200 & Bowle Buster 300

Ride report from Carey Chappelle:

Unbelievable Week-End! Huron Chapter hosted the Big Bay 200 and the Bowle Buster 300 this past week-end. Six Randonneurs successfully completed the Big Bay 200, they are Carey Chappelle, Chris Cossonnet, Con Melady, Terry Payne, Johnathon Syroid and Robert Woodhouse (likes to go by Woody rather than Robert!).


During the 200, 5 of the 6 Randonneurs hoped to participate in the next day’s Bowle Buster 300. By the end of the 200, Terry’s pain made it clear he wouldn’t be joining us and he left for home after dinner at the infamous Elk and Finch in Southampton. He described the accident he was involved in, last year on his bicycle … flying over the window of a Yellow Volkswagen Beetle and landing in front of an 18 wheeler and after the 18th wheel went over him he was so angry with the comments made by the Beetle owner got up to simply let him have it!


Johnathon rode with everyone up to Chatsworth, then pulled back and continued to be only a half hour behind everyone else at the finish. He had mentioned he would join us for dinner at the Elk … but he arrived a half hour later than the rest of us and we watched him limp up the stairs just to give us his Control Card. Said he loved the ride but experienced some right leg PAIN …none of us would have been able to climb those stairs if we were in his condition. Great accomplishment Johnathon!


Friday night, Woody, Chris and myself went to bed around 9pm, tired from the 200 we just accomplished and knew we needed a good night’s sleep before attempting the Bowle Buster 300.  At 10:30pm, my wife wakes me up and hands me the phone. I discussed Outage issues with a Bruce Power Manager for half an hour before getting back to sleep. At 02:30hrs, my wife wakes me up again … she had been chatting with my daughter on the cell phone and suddenly had no contact … she was heading to Toronto to find her. She had a shower and I got dressed to join her. Then we decided to call the Condo where Erika lived and were confirmed by Security that she had arrived at 02:06am. NO LONGER AN ISSUE. So, back to bed I went. 0530hrs came quickly, Chris, Woody and myself were on the road by 0700hrs. Saturday was much better then Friday weather wise! Blue Sky and sunshine! We all stopped in Hanover for Cappuccinos, Tea and some snacks then headed out after putting on some of Woody’s Sun protection. 10km later … Chris’s knee pain was OBVIOUS! We stopped and Chris decided to call it a day, wanting his issue to be resolved before our 1200km event next week. Hope everything works out buddy!


Woody and I headed out on our own arriving at the Leeky Canoe in Meaford around 1500hrs. Another GREAT Brunch, a Creemore and then off to Bowle Hill. Woody couldn’t believe we would have a 7km downhill run … until he did the climbing beforehand! We both loved that section of downhill. Woody had never done a downhill run that long in his lifetime. Approaching Bowle Hill, I let Woody know I’d be taking off my jacket, arm warmers, gloves and head warmer before attempting this one.  We both had no problem making it to the top and then we were off to Flesherton for another Cappuccino at the Bicycle Café. Neither of us were hungry so I let my wife know what pizza’s we would like upon are arrival home, thinking 11pm would be the latest. Approaching the turn to Dornoch, the gravel road section, Woody was approaching the top of hill just before the turn and I wished I could have taken a picture … THE SUN was dropping to his right and with the colours of the sky … UNBELIEVABLE! This is what makes this sport SECOND TO NONE!


Of course the General Store in Dornoch was closed, so we put our reflective vests on, marked up our Control Cards and continued on our last stretch, 60km to Port Elgin. I convinced Woody to wear my arm warmers as hand warmers knowing how cold it was getting. Shivered and Shook all the way back! Once in Port Elgin, the Tim Horton’s was closed but we had a Gentleman asking us what the hell we were doing, sign our Control Cards. Got back to my place, showered had a few Great Pizzas from Rosina’s, a glass of Red wine for myself, water for Woody …. Who then drove home because his flight to Arizona was first thing in the morning!!!


PS: I’ve already had contact with Woody, he and his wife are happily on vacation in Arizona!

Rouge Ramble 60 km Populaire

Ride report from Stephen Jones:

Toronto managed to get the first ride of the season in on March 18 despite some questionable weather. Erin, Joey, Brian N, with new-comers Max and Leland braved the rain and wind to enjoy scenic urban Scarborough. The route generally follows the Waterfront Trail, and navigation can be quite tricky, especially where the trail cuts through parks. This time of year, there’s always a concern that trail sections in parks will have snow and ice on the path. But, other than one short section, our roads were bare and wet (so very wet).

We had our first major mechanical of the season when Joey’s rear derailleur cable snapped, dropping his chain into the smallest cog for the rest of the ride. It had the effect of ensuring he was the first up every hill though.

As we got closer to the section along the lake, we could hear what sounded like a train passing by. Once we cleared the last dune, all we could hear was the wind and surf pounding into the beach. Surf isn’t something we get to see a lot of on our rides, so it was pretty cool. The somewhat less than ideal weather did mean we had the trail mostly to ourselves.

The ride was an excellent demonstration of the mantra that there is no bad weather, only bad clothing. I think our newbies went shopping for shoe covers right after the ride.

The plan is to keep offering this ride every spring. If you haven’t done it, you should make the effort to come out as it’s a real change from our typical countryside routes.

2016 Club Awards Presentations

Outstanding Performance on a Brevet – Tim O’Callahan

Awarded to the club rider who has:

Demonstrated significant fortitude, courage, or generosity on a brevet ride.
Demonstrated physical or mental abilities beyond the usual in the conduct of a brevet ride.

Jock Wadley Award (Outstanding Rider)Bob Macleod

Awarded to a club rider who is outstanding in one year or over several years and has:

Shown interest in the club and has provided support and assistance
Helped on rides or helped other riders.

Beryl Burton Award (Best Female Rider) – Erin Marchak

Awarded to a female club rider who is outstanding in one year or over several years and has:

Shown interest in the club and has provided support and assistance.
Helped on rides or helped other riders.

Coronation Cup (Most Improved Rider) – Charles Horslin

Awarded to a club rider who has at least one previous year riding with the Randonneurs Ontario, and has:

Shown consistency in appearing and in cycling;
Demonstrated improvement either in cumulative mileage ridden from previous season, or in brevet finishing times over the previous season.

Rookie of the Year – Joey Schwartz

Awarded to a club rider who has:

Joined the Randonneurs Ontario in the year of the award or who rode their first brevet in the year of the award;
Shown ability in the year & shown interest in the club and in other club riders.

Half Wheel Award – Jerzy Dziadon

Awarded to a club rider who has consistently forced the pace of the group during brevet rides.

Best Fleche Team – Huron Flèche-Air Fiends 421.5 km

John Cumming
Carey Chappelle
Chris Cossonnet
David Pearson

Awarded to the members of the fleche team who record the most kilometres on the club’s fleche ride in the year of the award.

Organizer of the Year – David Thompson

Awarded to that person(s) who has:

Provided support to the club’s riding events in the year of the award or over several years.
Demonstrated care for the wellbeing of the club’s riders.
Consistently taken on the task of organising and supporting club rides.

Special Recognition Award – Guy Quesnel

Awarded to a club rider who has:

Completed a cycling event in the year of the award that merits commemoration.
Made contributions to the club that merit commemoration.

Dan Herbert Memorial Award – Tim O’Callahan

Awarded to a member who has in one or more years:

Benefited the club by mentoring one or more members (generally but not necessarily new).
Mentoring is to be defined as encouraging, educating and assisting riders to achieve their full potential as bike riders and club members.

Long Distance Award(s)

Awarded to the rider(s) who has:

Completed the highest number of Kilometres on:

Randonneurs Ontario Brevets – Jerzy Dziadon  4800 km
All ACP Brevets – David Thompson 10578 km
Randonneurs Ontario Permanent Rides – Carey Chappelle 3500 km
Highest km Female Rider – Gwyneth Mitchell – 800 km

Creemore Classic Bowling Champion – Carey Chappelle

Cracker Swamp 1200 October 13-16, 2016

Ride Report from Dave Thompson:

This turned out to be the very definition of a slow, rocky start, for me.  We raced back to Florida from Ontario, arriving mid-day Tuesday and surveyed the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.  Ugh, with missing shingles, soffits blown out, insulation all over the yard like cotton, it was a matter of getting the house in order, quickly, so that I could head off.  The mess wouldn’t go away; I might as well go for my bike ride.

Besides, I had a part to play in this ride.  I’d handled all the swag — engraved glasses, embroidered hoodies and medals; played behind-the-scenes reviewer for Paul Rozelle and now I had to manage Trackleaders.

Matthew Lee at Trackleaders was swamped himself, figuratively with lots of rides and physically as he was also in the hurricane’s path.  He got the 80 SPOTs out to FedEx by 8:30pm. on that Tuesday, which were delivered to me before noon on Wednesday, just in time for me to head to Tavares, 1:15 away, for rider registration.

Dick Felton gave me a hand setting out all the SPOTs on a picnic table, getting them all turned on and registered and then installed on riders’ bikes.  Unbeknownst to us at the time, there were 16 that didn’t register, failed in their satellite connection.  I found that out from an email from Matthew at 1:30am prior to the ride.

Yikes.  We raced around trying to find the riders at 3:30am before the 4:00 start.  I also had a flat, a hotel room flat, didn’t end up having anything to eat and rolled out myself a little after the last rider.  The lanterne rouge rides again!

It got worse.  Not too long afterwards I had another flat.  What the heck?  It was right on the inside, by the valve stem, but everything looked ok.  Perhaps it was a bad tube?  Never so lucky …  I had another flat; same place.  Ok, this is getting tiresome.  The lanterne rouge was falling even further behind.  Everything looked ok with the rim tape and the valve hole, but I laid down some electrical tape at that point, installed another tube, now getting worried about running out, and rolled on.  It didn’t last…

OK, drastic measures are now called for.  I didn’t have a roll of rim tape with me and I’m not sure why the valve stem hole is piercing the tubes — actually it’s a couple of cm from the hole — but I came up with a solution — I used one of those Park Tool stick-on tire boots, poking a hole in it and actually booting the new tube.  That got me a long way down the road…

I called Sandy.  The first Control after the start is actually only a few miles from our house.  Can you bring some tubes?  Bring six.  OK.  She met me at the Control, a gas station / convenience store and handed me three boxes, asking how many tubes were in a box … uh … one.  Oh well, that should do me.

I rolled off ahead of one rider, not quite the lanterne rouge any more.  That did change; I had more flats, installed my spare tire, moving that boot from tube to tube.  I did have more flats over the course of the ride but they were puncture flats, not inside the rim flats.  I guess that’s a good thing.

All told, I think that I had 8 flats that first day, including the hotel room flat.  It was slow going at times, as I rode along checking on the progress of the SPOTS, texting.  The roads were clear, untrafficky.

That first day, we rode basically to the coast, before that first Control.  Riding along Maytown Road, there were miles of utility poles snapped, huge oak trees down, wires buried in the brush.  New poles had been installed — less than a week after the hurricane and people had power.  We’d see more hurricane devastation over the next few days but that was the worst.

The first day was long, especially for me.  Once out of the “flat zone”, I did start overtaking riders, eventually coming in with Geof Simons, Vinny and a few others.  From a 4am start, I had a 3am finish, 437 km behind me.

I had a quick meal, into bed, got 1.5 hours of deep sleep, left at 6am.  It did get better.  I had a 5+ hour stop the next night and a 7+ hour stop the last night, finishing just under 80 hours.  I always consider a 5 hour stop pure luxury, so 7 was amazing.  I didn’t really need 7 at the time but was concerned that I might hit the first real fuelling stop before it opened.  I need not have worried, but it all worked out.

I finished up the ride with Hamid, he, Mark Thomas and Victor S catching up to me at a Control that last day.  I’d lingered for 20 minutes, figuring quite rightly that they were probably a little behind me starting.  I spent another 20+ minutes waiting for them and we rolled on.  Mark rolled off from us at one point and finished first, from our little group.

Jerry C ran into knee problems and had to throw in the towel.  Marion Kusters also had a knee problem; still has.  I’ve got a lingering issue that developed with the inner tendon on my left leg.  I guess that’s what comes of such a flat course — about 14,000 feet of climbing in 1200+ km.

The first day was a big loop to the coast, south and back to the starting hotel in Tavares, north of Orlando.  The next two days were about equal in length, 300 km or so, and loops back to Tavares.  The last day was a 200 km loop back to Tavares.  The logistics of having one hotel, no drop bags, rooms before, during and after included in the price — it really made things easy for riders and organizers.  There are lessons to be learned.  Just as we run a brevet week out of one locations, we could do a 1200.

Paul did an amazing job with the food.  He and his neighbours did all the prep and then the neighbours cooked at one of those trailered grills for the three nights.  Chicken the first night, pulled pork the next and steak at the end of the ride — I’m missing something, as there’s another night in there?  Oh well.

He also brewed the beer and had bottles of single malt, the latter mostly imbibed at the end-of-ride party.  The DNF rate was low, as you might expect.  After that first day, some riders didn’t really need lights; doing most of their riding in daylight.

All in all, it was a great ride, a great experience — it was very interesting being a part of the organizing and then also riding the “main event”.  There are things that could have been done differently, but that’s always the case.  The rider experience was great; that’s the important thing.

September 17, 2016 – Chenaux 200 & 38s

Ride Report from Dave Thompson:

What do they have in common?  Read on…

Stepping back a bit, prior to the Manitoulin 1000 I changed out my bag setup, opting for a new frame bag that I’d bought and carrying a waterproof stuff sac on my back rack.  For all the other rides of the season, I’d had a conventional cycling bag on my rear rack and also had a largish bag on my handlebars.  That provided plenty of room, plenty of wind resistance and I carried a ton of stuff on the mountainous 1200s.  I wanted to change that for the Italian Miglia 1600.  More climbing and warm weather; surely I wouldn’t need as much storage space.

The new frame bag worked well — it is suspended front to back from my top tube.  It isn’t huge but it did the job for tools and misc stuff.  Clothing went into the stuff sac at the back.  The only thing that I was missing was a readily accessible top tube bag (on top of the tube) for wallet and minor things.

So, I knew what I wanted to carry, bag-wise, on the 1600.

I also wanted to try new tires — Grand Bois 38s specifically — that I’d bought prior to Manitoulin, but decided at the last moment not to use them. Before heading to Italy, I mounted the 38s; never having ridden on them.  I gave them a test ride of a few km the two days before the 1600 and put 28s — my usual tires — in my drop bags “just in case”.  The 38s felt good, albeit something like riding a full suspension bike.  With pressures between 50 & 60 psi, that might be expected.  These are also very supple walled tires, further exacerbating the “bounce” or, if you will, bump absorption.

Those 38s were wonderful in Italy.  The roads were very rough and they just ate up the bumps.  I had no problems whatsoever; I absolutely love the tires.

The day before the AGM Chenaux 200, just before I left for Ottawa, I realized that I should really mount my fenders as it was supposed to rain.  Clearances were tight, so tight that I had to reverse the bolts in the front fender so that the screw heads were inside the fender vs the screw end/nut.  Was that too close?  Nawww…

Starting that 200, I hadn’t been on the bike for almost a month.  My bike rode in the car, packed in its case, the entire time that Sandy and I travelled in Italy.  Lots of driving, a little walking, not much exercise.  Good food, good wine, I put on, as I figured it, about 5 pounds of mozzarella!

We started the ride at 8am — Guy, Dick, Alan, Bill, Bojana, Peter, Vytas and me — and I soon dropped off the back.  I always do that.  My time off the bike was catching up to me.  I was really dragging.  I figured that if this was what a month off the bike had done to me, this was going to be a long, long day.

It got worse.  I decided to stop and check my wheels.  The front wheel would barely turn.  Assuming that it was the brakes, I checked those — nope.  Then I realized that it was the front fender.  The front light had slipped down a little pressing the fender down (they’re both attached by a common bolt) and that few mm caused the tire to rub on those screw heads at the crown.  Luckily I had the necessary tools — Allan and box-end wrench — so I moved the light and fender up and away I went.  Great!

I soon caught up to others and was able to enjoy the ride.  We all finished within an hour of each other — first ones around 5:45 pm.

This is a very pretty ride; I highly recommend it.  Yes, we did get rain.  We also got incredible views of the Ottawa River, crossed over to Quebec, took a ferry trip back — I had my $3 fare ready — and finished up in Kanata.

It’s relatively flat, a perfect AGM ride.  Controls are nicely spaced.  The penultimate Control, just before the ferry, is a bar info-control.  The question is “what is the price of a quart of Molson Ex”.  Not to be outdone, Peter Grant had to prove the price by buying one and consuming.  Dick shared and made a shandy which didn’t quite go down well … probably the beer by itself would have been better!

Guy was a perfect organizer, giving us lots of tips before the ride covering services along the route and ensuring that we all had our $3.

This is a ride that I’d definitely do again!  I would love to do it in better weather — wouldn’t you know, Friday and Sunday were sunny; Saturday we had rain.

Oh yes, there was a nice section of heavy gravel that had been “added” within a few days of the ride.  Bill Pye had done the ride a week earlier as a Permanent and the gravel wasn’t there.  Of course my 38s ate it up!

So, how does one add excitement to rides?  Well, use a different setup for each one.  You’ll never get bored.  New bags for the 1000.  New tires for the 1600.  Add fenders for the 200.  What next?

There is a postscript.  When I got home, my front tire was flat.  It had a significant hole on the inside, not on the tread-side.  I couldn’t figure out what caused that, and after all, I’d done the 1600 in Italy with the same tires and tubes and had only deflated and inflated them in between.  Not finding anything, I remounted with a new tube; perhaps it was a fluke.

Sure enough, yesterday, after riding the day before, the tire was still inflated.  I’m sure it was a fluke.

This morning that tire is flat … back to the drawing board!

Miglia Italia 1600 km 2016

Ride Report from Dave Thompson:

This ride was not without drama …

The ride turned out to be more difficult than I expected.  It wasn’t the length, it was a combination of the routing changes and the heat.  Some complained about the rough roads, but I’m sure that they didn’t change much.  What did happen is that the more onerous climbs and the heat slowed us down, pushing our best laid plans aside …

We queued up early to get out early.  Given the planned way of releasing the cyclists, we could have been leaving close to midnight but instead were rolling at 8:30 p.m.  Our little group was comprised of me, Jerry, Hamid and Victor from Colombia.  As usual, Hamid clung to the back of one of the groups and left us behind.  I needed to stop for a second as my light connection had come loose.  That happened a couple of more times until I hit a Control and was able to use my pliers to fix it for the rest of the ride.

We planned to get to Vallombrosa the first day.  While the distance seems long — 562 km — the first 400 km being flat and windless (night start and night time riding), makes short work of that first 400.  I’d used 2010 as my baseline and that year I’d made Dicomano, just over 529, by 5:30 p.m., having started around 9pm the previous night.
We did get away before 9pm and I fully expected to be a little slower, but the heat got to Jerry during the day and the climbing to Dicomano was much more difficult.  As a result, we didn’t get to Dicomano until after midnight; crashed for an hour at that Control (spending two hours there) and then did the 34 km to Vallombrosa.  That climb from Dicomano to Vallombrosa was also more difficult than 2010, further pushing us back.
We didn’t get to Vallombrosa until daylight and we then got another hour’s sleep at our hotel. Hamid was with us at that point; he snoozed in the lobby.  With everything pushed forward by at least 6 hours, that set the pattern for the ride.    Instead of having dinner in each town with an early start the next day, we were getting in late and having breakfast at the hotel.

Following that pattern, we checked into our hotels in Bolsena around 4am, San Gimignano after 4am, Deiva Marina at 9am.  Instead of finishing Monday evening around 120 hours, we finished Tuesday noon at 135, against the 140 hour time limit.

We pushed our luck in several places.  We got to the Deiva Marina Control right before closing, 8am.  Jerry was wiped.  He could hardly walk, let alone ride.  The combination of heat the day before and climbing doing him in.  With the heat, he couldn’t eat much, further slowing him down.  He couldn’t even ride 5 km downhill to the hotel let alone continuing on without sleep.  I let him sleep at the Control for a bit and then we rode to the hotel.  I made a strategic decision that he needed more sleep and we left there 3.5 hours after the Control closed.  As a result, we missed the next Control close by about 1/2 hour, which is OK in RM rides as long as you make it up later, and were basically back on track by the next Control.   We did leave that next Control 1.5 hours after it closed, giving Jerry some time to catch a snooze on the grass.

Shab and Hamid were at the hotel.  Hamid was about to head out.  Shab helped us, making sandwiches and later carrying our bikes and us back uphill to the Control (that’s legal, it’s a Control).

At one point during that hot afternoon Jerry was ready to throw in the towel, close to heat exhaustion.  I talked him into continuing — “Jerry, eat some more grapes, pour that water over your head vs drinking, let’s go a bit further”.  I knew that once it cooled down, he’d be OK, and he was. Having had to leave him behind at PBP the year prior due to an Achilles problem, I didn’t want to leave him again.  I’m very easy on my water and at one point we were riding side-by-side and I was pouring some of my water on his head.

However, those delays almost did me in.   I’m very susceptible to the cold and I’d left my heavy jacket and other cold gear with Shab, at Deiva Marina thinking that we wouldn’t have to ride the night through.  Besides, I hadn’t had to use it to this point anyway.  That was a mistake.  By the time we got to Castelania, close to midnight, I knew that I was going to be in trouble.  There wasn’t going to be anything open until 6am and we still had a hundred or so km to go.

We stopped a couple of times and I broke out my silvery exposure blanket and we slept on the grass.  It was the only way that I could retain enough heat.  A couple of hours before dawn, I knew that I could make it through and we continued, welcoming the dawn and quickly shedding our clothing as it heated up again.  We lost at least 4 hours at that point, perhaps 6.  We should have easily made it by dawn.

I was disappointed in the ride on several levels.  First, my recollection was that it was easier than PBP.  I believe that the 2010 routing was easier than PBP.  On that basis, I had talked Jerry into doing the ride.  The routing changes made it more difficult and the heat compounded the difficulty.  That messed up my well laid plans for night stops.

On the other hand, both Jerry and Hamid finished.  Hamid finished around 2am the night before and was there to welcome us at the finish along with Shab and Sandy.  He had a great ride.  It was a tough ride for Jerry; I’m sure that he was cursing me at times; but at the end he was happy that he’d checked that box.  If anything, it was memorable!  When we left Controls late I knew that we ran the risk of a DNF.  That didn’t worry me so much — I’d already checked the Miglia-done box in 2010.

Those routing changes bypassed some of the scenery that I was expecting but perhaps we were simply hitting some of that scenery at a different time of day.  The ride-supplied food was cut back, not as good, but again, perhaps it was the dinners at the overnight destinations that I was missing.  The ride support wasn’t as good — in 2010 the ride support motorcycles were everywhere, not so this time.  My perception is that the organizers cut costs significantly, but that might be just my perception, as I was in a different place in that spread out peloton.

As it was, there were only 10 people who finished the ride after us out of 310 or so finishers.  Of course that’s not counting the DNFs, about 80.  Another 90 had signed up for the ride and were DNS.  That’s a lot of money left on the table!

While I was doing the ride, tired and with rough roads, I told myself that I wouldn’t do this one again.  Of course that’s now changed … I’ll be back!

Italy is offering three other rides in the next three years – one from Rome south to the Amalfi coast; one that takes in the islands and one hitting all the highest peaks in the Alps… I don’t know about that last one but the other two are intriguing!

One more note — I took a chance and rode with Grand Bois 38s on this ride, rather than my usual Continental 4-season 28’s — I loved them!  They really helped on the roads.

Colorado High Country 1200 – July 11-14

Ride Report from Dave Thompson:

The Colorado High Country 1200 starts in Louisville CO, close to Boulder, altitude 5300 ft, climbs into the High Country (8,000 – 11,000 feet) after 67 miles, and returns to 5100 feet for the run back to Louisville.

The first day’s ride is dominated by the 57 mile ride up (yes up) the Poudre Canyon, from 5100 feet to 10,300 feet.  That’s a very pretty ride, never very far from the river, a little undulating but varying from perhaps 20-50 feet altitude over the river.  The grade is moderate at the lower reaches and increases as you get further into the climb.  At those lower reaches the canyon is narrow and twisting; at the upper end, wider with long straight stretches.

The run up the canyon starts at mile 67.  While there’s some rolling hills in that first stretch, it’s mostly flatish and fast riding.  Leaving at 4am, it’s not memorable, but it certainly is on the return trip in the heat of the afternoon!

There’s whitewater rafting in the river; buses full of people pulling trailers piled with the large rafts.  Most of it looks pretty tame but I’m sure that it’s fun. Vegetation is sparse in the canyon, some of that due to forest fires.  In fact, vegetation is sparse for the entire ride!  It’s quite a bit different than riding, say, the Rocky Mountain 1200k in BC where a large part is heavily forested.

Apparently typical in the canyon, we had a mild tail-wind as we climbed.  That changed dramatically after the Control at 98 miles, with the wind becoming a headwind, increasing in velocity as we approached Cameron Pass.

That headwind was brutal.  Some estimated it at 50-60 mph.  A few times I had to stop, gripping my brakes and bracing myself into the wind to avoid being blown back down, left or right.  Once I had to walk a hundred yards to get around a curve, finding that the wind would abate after the curve.  I certainly looked forward to that headwind switching to a tailwind after Cameron Pass!  Apparently the ride has never experienced this kind of wind before … lucky us!

There was no tailwind from the top.  The headwind continued.  Cameron Pass is at 125 miles and we still had almost a hundred miles to go to our night’s Control at Saratoga.

Typical on these rides, I found myself not quite in the back of the pack a few miles after starting.  By the Control in Rustic at mile 98, I’d caught up with a crowd and was somewhat middle of the pack.

From Cameron Pass we had to fight our way to Walden, a Control that we would hit several times, fighting the wind, that is.  Walden is at 8100 feet and should have been a nice descent; it wasn’t.  From Walden it’s about 70 miles to Saratoga at mile 221; we had entered Wyoming at mile 178.  The wind had died somewhat, thank goodness!

There was a large forest fire in the distance burning in WY, only about 5% contained.  The smoke was never very dense but you could see it like fog in the distance and it burned my eyes.  The WY terrain is open with long, long moderate rollers.

I arrived at Saratoga, altitude 6791, at 12:30 a.m.  I wasn’t the last rider, indeed there were many who finished in that 11-1 timeframe.  8 riders out of our starting 43 threw in the towel due to that wind – 19%!

From Saratoga we go back to Walden by a different route and again we had strong headwinds.  I left at 4:25 and got to Walden at 6:20 p.m.  In between we had some wonderful riding through the Snowy Range, hitting the Snowy Range Pass at 10,847.  That was the high point, altitude-wise, of the ride.

So far the altitude hadn’t really bothered me.  Per John’s rider briefing material, the grades are manageable and I wasn’t finding much effect from the altitude … yet.  The wind, however, was killing me.  I don’t do well in wind and these two days had sucked a lot out of me.  We lost another couple of people in Walden …

I hung around Walden for almost 2 hours.  That’s highly unusual for me but I considered it necessary.  I knew that the wind would die down in the evening and that would really help me.  I needed the recovery time.

By this point, John was relaying to the riders that all Control deadlines were void due to the conditions, other than the final Control time, that is.  That took the pressure off and people managed their time based on how they felt.  Without that, we would have lost many more.  I only made Walden barely ahead of the deadline.

Walden is 138 miles into that day; in between we’d hit Laramie WY.  These names that you recognize from John Wayne movies are tiny little towns, their reputation larger by far than their population !

Earlier that day, pulling into one little town, a number of us had a good hot breakfast.  The waitress’s t-shirt said population 100.  The sign coming into town said population 270.   I queried that population explosion and laughed with one couple that the larger number included the “greater metropolitan area”.

It’s “only” 56 miles from Walden to Steamboat Springs, mile 194 on the day.  Leaving Walden at 8:13 p.m., it took me almost 7.5 hours to get to Steamboat Springs.  Ok, the altitude was finally hitting me and my breathing whistled a little, sounding like exercise induced asthma.  It was in that stretch that Larry Midura abandoned, not wanting to take a chance on that same condition.  I stubbornly pushed on … it’s not the first time that my idiocy showed through.

Ok, I was now the lanterne rouge, many dropping off behind me.  I arrived in Steamboat a few minutes after two riders from Brazil.  They’d passed me at the top of the descent into Steamboat Springs.  Knowing that 7 miles at 7% was going be a cold one, I’d stopped to don my rain pants and loved every minute of the descent.  Wheee!!!

Another rider abandoned in Steamboat Springs, didn’t start that next morning.  So many smart people, so many smarter than me!

Rolling again at 6:12 a.m., I was feeling far from spiffy.  The altitude effect was cumulative; phlegm accumulation causing some whistling in my breath, anaerobic exercise can’t go on for long.  I knew what was happening — legs felt fine for a short time but then they weren’t getting enough oxygen to do their thing.

Day three of this ride is, without a doubt, the worst day that I’ve spent on a bike … or off the bike as the case may be.  I spent much time during the day cursing myself for stubbornness, not having quit earlier.  Still, I continued riding.

The really smart people had abandoned before or in Saratoga, spent a couple of days there or in the hot springs and rode back the last day.

From Steamboat Springs at 6700 feet, we traverse another couple of passes in the mid 8000 and mid 9000 range, eventually doing a leg to Grand Lake and reversing direction, heading back to Walden via Willow Creek Pass.  From the turn to that pass on highway 125, I had about 20 miles before I could start the descent to the overnight in Walden.

I dithered.  I had cell phone service at that point.  Can I do this?  Is there enough time in the world for me to get to that pass?  I hit a couple of downhill sections, rode out of cell phone range.

The climbing started.  I walked.  I rode short distances, mostly on downhill stretches.  Uphill or even level stretches on the bike didn’t last more than a hundred yards before I had to stop.  My legs weren’t getting any oxygen and neither was my brain.  I was quite unsteady, fell down once at zero mph, cursing on the ground with the cleats still attached.  What an idiot!

I finally decided that I’d never get there from here.  A car would come by every 15 minutes or so and I’d stop walking (yes, it was all walking at this point), but no one stopped.  I hoped that a support car would come by; none did.

Finally someone stopped — “are you all right ?” — “no”.  I finally figured out that they weren’t part of the team and he agreed to call one of the support cell numbers once he got to an area with service.  I told him that it wasn’t a 911 situation, I was warm, lots of clothing, I was walking, don’t worry about me.  It’s a lovely night for a hike pushing a bike.

The miles wore on, albeit very slowly.  I counted them off with my Garmin, which by now with the slow progress wasn’t even charging from my Schmidt hub and was complaining “batteries low”.  I kept walking.  There was really nothing else that I could do.  Sitting at the side of the road wouldn’t accomplish anything.  There was no guarantee that anyone would ever come.  You get that “alone in the world” feeling.

A car approached.  He was obviously looking for me … Scott was his name.  “What can I do for you?” he asked.  Well, says I, I don’t think I can make it.  He said that it was only two miles to the pass … I didn’t say anything but I knew that was an optimistic number unless the cue sheet was incorrect, it had to be more than three.   He had some soup and he had a warm car.  I sat inside and got my breathing under control.  I agreed to continue and he would wait at the pass.

An hour or so later, he approached again, acknowledged that it had been more than two miles, but I only had a mile or so to go !  Right.  Plod on.  Are we having fun yet?

Finally, finally I got to the pass.  With relief, I started the descent only to find that it’s not a straight descent, in fact there are about four climbs during the descent.  Not only that, but my back was killing me.  I’d walked so many miles pushing the bike that I couldn’t get myself comfortable even riding downhill. I had to keep stopping to straighten myself out.  It was 30 miles from the pass to Walden, a long ride even with a drop in elevation of 1500 feet.

Arriving in Walden at 4:30 a.m., I squeezed in a half-hour sleep and left at 6:25.  Normally I’m more efficient than that but every minute off the bike was recovery time.  Recovery was more the issue than sleep.

It was a new day.  The sun was up.  The end was in sight, sort of.  Onward!

A few miles into that ride my addled brain told me that I’d miscalculated.  There was no way that I could make Louisville before the cut-off. This was all for naught.  I’d have to average 15-16 mph to make Louisville on time even if my stops were incredibly brief. I decided that I’d text Scott later and ask him to pick me up on the way to Louisville.  I might even be in danger of missing my flight!

A few miles later my brain cleared somewhat and I realized that I only had to make 10 mph, not 15-16, and as long as I made the top of Cameron Pass in good time, I’d be ok.

The wind picked up … oh oh …but didn’t become a factor.

It was 30 miles from Walden back to Cameron Pass.  I knew that somewhere in there I would run out of steam, riding wise.  I wanted to make the Pass by 10am, figuring that would leave me lots and lots of time to get to Louisville.

Sure enough, around 9000 feet as the grade increased, I couldn’t ride more than a few feet before the muscles burned.  Oxygen, what oxygen?  The grade wasn’t more than 5-7%, usually not a problem at all, but without oxygen to the muscles … well, it was no go.

I made 10am, just.  I now had 12 hours to finish the ride.  120 miles to go and 12 hours, this should be easy.

It was.  Finally.  Remember that there’s now a 57 mile descent … Sandy was watching my SPOT and figured that I’d abandoned.  She thought that I must have been in a car, hitting 40 mph at times.  It was wonderful rolling down the canyon, and when we hit those undulations at the lower reaches, suddenly my legs felt fine.  They weren’t tired at all!

Out of the canyon, it was hot.  I’d started the day with light jersey, wool jersey, heavy jacket, leg warmers, winter gloves, you-name-it.  Long before I got to Cameron Pass I had removed most of that, regretting that I didn’t have any throw away clothes as I’d now have to carry it all.

It was likely mid 90’s out of the canyon, back close to 5000 feet altitude.  I had oodles of time and didn’t push myself.  I stopped under shade trees.  I soaked parts of myself in sprinklers. I had a couple of cold drinks.

Rolling into Louisville with almost 2 hours to spare, I met up with John and we agreed that you’re supposed to ride these things, not walk.  I can’t even imagine what it would have been like with road shoes vs mountain!

Believe it or not, there were three people finishing a little after me.  There were 16 abandons out of the 43 starts.  That 43 includes two 1000k riders.


The ride was well organized, great volunteers, services in all the right places, vistas of mountains, open ranges, the canyons – Poudre and the Colorado River – definitely a tough one though.

The wind had made it a war of attrition.  A combination of the wind and my body made it very difficult for me.  No, it was more than tough.  I can take solace in the fact that it didn’t take much to convince me to carry on, but the fact is, I had decided to quit.  I’ve had tough times on these rides, but nothing like this.  Had that passerby not stopped or Scott not showing up, I’d have made it on my own; no choice.  I owe much to Scott for his words of encouragement; being there for me.

I’m still coughing; feeling the effects, even after a couple of days at sea level.  I do need to get back on the bike soon; yes, it’s back together and ready to ride.  Tomorrow.  My back is still very tight on the one side.  I’ve got a chiropractor appointment in Sudbury today!

These things certainly do call into question your physical conditioning … and your sanity!!