Huron Chapter’s 2018 Creemore Classic 400 … Bowling Championship!

Ride report from Carey Chappelle:

The Huron Chapter Hosted the 2018 Creemore Classic Bowling Championship this past week-end! To officially compete in this event and have their name entered on this trophy, the Randonneur had to participate and WIN the Bowling Championship at 220 km, then successfully finish the Creemore Classic 400!

The Current Creemore Classic Bowling Champion…Chappy, knew he no longer had a chance to win, so decided to impress fellow bowlers with his juggling act!

Matthew McFarlane simply wore sunglasses to protect his eyes!

Brenda Wiechers had the best FASTBALL!

Darcy Haggith, was still smiling with one last attempt to WIN!

This year’s Creemore Classic Bowling Champion…None other than Richard Meloche!

Congrats Richard!

2018’s Creemore Classic 400 km Brevet Report

Congrats to the Magnificent Seven who were successful completing 2018’s Creemore Classic 400 km Brevet!

Chappy, Darcy Haggith, Matthew McFarlane, Richard Meloche, Tim O’Callahan, Paul Slavchenko and Brenda Wiechers.

The Windsorites came to Port Elgin Friday evening, 4 Randonneurs … Brenda, Tim, Darcy and Richard and 2 Supporters…Geoff Owen and Steve Tymczak. Tim rented a U-haul trailer to carry everything from bicycles, bicycle parts, energy bars, power gels, energy powder, water, cycling clothing, ultraviolet eye glasses…on and on and on!

Prior to leaving Chappy’s house to the start, Richard had everyone in tears laughing about the rain happening outside! Fortunately, it reduced a lot … at least for the first 100 km!

The Magnificent Seven left Tim Horton’s Saturday morning at 0530hrs. 30 km into this ride, we passed through Sauble Beach…noticing the wind and light rain!

Then on to Wiarton…where the rain had stopped!

We continued along the Bruce Peninsula, through Big Bay passing the Marina in Owen Sound.

Had our Control Cards signed at the Tim Horton’s then went to the Frog for a light snack, everyone still together!

This is where the Creemore Classic 400 introduces climbing! Everyone headed out knowing hills were going to separate us for a while. The next Control was the Top’O The Rock in Eugenia. A GREAT climb to get there! Paul arrived just as the rest of us were heading out and joined us for this photo. Check out the left side of this picture and you’ll see where our Supporter’s, Jeff and Steve were!

Brenda and Tim figured out they would need some cash and stopped along the way at an ATM!

Arriving in Collingwood, six of us had our Control Cards signed then went to Georgian Bowl to participate in the 2018 Championship. Here is a photo of this year’s Creemore Classic Bowling Champion – Richard Meloche leading us to Creemore!

All of the participants shared a dinner at the Old Mill House Pub in Creemore, well Paul just had a pint because he had something to eat in Collingwood prior to getting there.

Prior to leaving we all stepped outside for another photo!

Pedalling to the Village at Blue Mountain was 35 km, then everyone had their Control Cards signed at the Fire House Pizza Co., before heading out to do the infamous Scenic Cave Climb! I won’t identify who had to walk but there were 3 Randonneurs who simply took that advantage! Of course, the rain started shortly after reaching the top, so everyone put on some rain gear to stay warm on the descent! Descent? Yes, meaning we were fortunate enough to have to climb the Escarpment again, heading to the next Control in Chatsworth. Jeff and Steve (our Supporters) were at the Control, the 24hr Donut Shop that is not open 24hrs!

A few of us were out of water, knew we had 50 km to go, so were feeling upbeat knowing our Supporters had everything and more to get us through!

Paul Slavchenko blew a spoke between the Scenic Cave Climb and Walter’s Falls so was a little behind the main group, but successfully made repairs in the rain and made it to the finish successfully! Way to Go Paul!

Matthew McFarlane’s chain blew off between Chatsworth and the finish, so him and Chappy took a few minutes to repair it, then Matt let Chappy know he had to take a nap and did … 20 minutes or so and he was only a few minutes behind Chappy at the Finish!

The Windsorites…Brenda, Tim, Darcy and Richard…30 km average, staying together and taking turns up front…Awesome Cyclists! They take a little longer at Controls, but make up with their pace! And last but not least…the Ultraviolet Glasses were available whenever a Randonneur was falling asleep! In the past we would stop and nap at the BMO for some sleep, not this time! Check out the man with the Glasses!

What else can I say…


Japan Clover Hokkaido 1200

Ride report from Dave Thompson:

The clover Hokkaido 1200 was unique in a number of ways:

  • rushed by flying in on the 13th, check in on the 14th and then riding on the 15th, given the 13 hour time difference from Toronto
  • the predicted weather, rain for three days and then sun… yes, that’s how it was… oh yes, and cold to boot
  • as a ride, 4×300 km out of one location
  • completely foreign culture & food

The trip from Toronto went without a hitch.  The 13 hour flight was followed by sub-2-hours in Tokyo Haneda airport clearing customs and immigration, collecting bags, taking a shuttle to the domestic terminal, going through check-in and bag check and security and boarding the flight to Obihiro on the island of Hokkaido; 1:30 later landing in Obihiro, collecting bags and taking a taxi to our hotel.  I was totally impressed by the efficiency of the Haneda airport operation, in spite of the fact that these were separate flights, not defined as connections.  From noon on the 12th, Toronto-time, we ended up in our Obihiro hotel something like 9pm.  Around 18 hours from leaving Toronto we were a world apart and a day ahead.

There was no time for jet lag.  The next day we were up (Sandy was traveling with me and we met Hamid and Shab at the hotel); I assembled my bike and rode to the ride hotel with Hamid while Sandy and Shab taxied with the bags to the hotel.  Shab stayed there for the duration, working as a volunteer; Sandy had a hotel in Obihiro, did some exploring, visited others at the ride hotel etc.

We had time for lunch and dinner, ride check-in and briefing, sleep and then a 6am start.  The ride briefing was where it finally hit home that the rain was real.  Potential re-routing was discussed in case of road closures.  Heavy rain could produce landslides.  The route didn’t change but the rain came and came and came.

I have to say that the first three days of this ride rank among the most miserable days that I’ve ever spent on a bike.  It was wet and it was cold and it didn’t stop.  Temperatures ranged from 8-12C most of the day; down to 6C at times.  I’ve never, apart from the 2012 BC Rocky Mountain Day one, worn my rain pants for an entire day.  My rain pants got more use over the first three days of this ride than the cumulative use in my entire randonneuring career (if you can call it a career!).  Leg warmers, rain pants, arm warmers, short and long sleeve jersey, heavy jacket, head covering, shower cap … I wished at time that I could cover my face as I was losing a lot of heat from the rain pelting my face.  On day 3, I even wore my heavy wool jersey.  It probably helped but I was constantly on the verge of being too cold.  We stopped at every opportunity for something hot to warm us up — ramen soup, coffee — warmth inside stores was short lived; the soup and coffee only slightly less so.

Day 4 made up for some of this. It was nice to end on a positive note. It started out clear and cool; the temperature dropped to 3C as we moved towards the coast; it then warmed up and finally, finally, I was able to pack away all the extra clothing … sun, glorious sun, how I’d missed you!

The scenery, (ahem … when we could see it), was pleasant but not not remarkable. It’s hard to compare the Hokkaido Island mountains with the Italian Alps. We were never above the tree line.  The coastline was pretty, but so is everywhere else. Rolling farmland is pleasant, some different crops to behold. But… unlike some other rides, it was never boring. There were parts of the Italian ride – endless rice fields, for example – that went on forever. I don’t get as bored with rolling hills, even when it means a long, long time between services.

The roads were reasonable, much better than the lowlands of Italy. Sometimes dodging a crack in the road; a couple of sections where there were annoying rhythmic breaks, but that was the minority. Many kilometers of tunnels, a couple over 5 km, broke the monotony (and the rain!). Those tunnels also cut into the ridewithgps expected climbing, often cutting the tops off those hills. A hundred tunnels? More? I didn’t try to count. There were some long-ish climbs but the grades were never punishing. I don’t remember a grade over 7%.

The services were mostly frequent; well stocked convenience stores with bathroom facilities. Only Day 3, with a pre-warned approximately 100 km with nothing, might have been a problem, but it wasn’t, due to the warning. Besides, I don’t drink much in steady, cold rain. Then again, I don’t eat much from my pockets in steady, cold rain :).

Convenience stores in the area mostly don’t have gas stations attached. 7-Eleven, Saicomart and Lawson are everywhere and many are 24 hour. They all stock Ramen Noodles of many, many varieties and hot water; a selection of sushi-like products and a place to sit. I ate more noodles and rice during those 4 days than I’ve had in many years.

The ride was extremely well organized. It’s certainly easier with the clover format. The menu varied from day to day. Rice was always available, of course; soup, salad items, breakfast items usually included eggs; there was enough protein, but certainly not as emphasized as in North America. Some of the wrapped rice items (in seaweed) were perfect for stowing in your pockets, and we did. Ziplocs helped :). Cheese wasn’t in short supply, rather it was non-existent. Even in the convenience stores, any cheese was more of the processed kind.

There was usually one car with volunteers out on the route, mostly stopped somewhere as opposed to cruising. I expect that they assisted some riders who DNF’d. Speaking of which, the DNF rate was 50% and would have been a little higher had the ride organizer not decided to add a couple of hours to the time limit. 75 riders started; 37 DNF’d. Several took advantage of that extra time.

The 4×300 format was interesting. We finished by 9pm (Hamid perhaps 8pm) on day 1, 9pm, 9:30 pm and got lots of sleep. I think that I got 5 hours sleep the first night, almost the same the second night and 3 hours the final night. The 4×300 format means that you need to leave yourself adequate time to crank out another 300 km that last day without running up against the midnight deadline.

A 2400 km ride started a few days before our 1200 km and finished on the same day, same location.  That ride traced the coastline of Hokkaido.  Their weather would have been somewhat different, as we hit some rain that was localized in the mountains

I rode by myself the first day, as usual, the lanterne rouge for a long time. Hamid and I started the second day together and were sometimes separated and he finished just ahead of me. I opted to stop for 15 minutes about 30 km out as I was getting shaky, needed to warm up, figured that I’d have an accident otherwise. Hamid pressed on and had a silly sideways no speed fall, cracking his handlebars at the right shifter. He did another 600k on that cracked handlebar, but that’s another story …. The third day was togetherness in our miserableness all day long. The forth day was glorious and we finished together, many riders behind us.

We saw whales, yes whales, along the coast on the fourth day. One pair was likely a cow and calf and a loner not long after, all close to shore. That was unique!

I’d like to say that I had fun, as always, on this ride. Randonesia isn’t quite there yet. Give me another month or two to blend the entire experience in Japan together and I’ll probably say that it was fun, a good ride. Vinny from Seattle from loved it. He’s used to rain. I don’t have as much personal insulation. Rain only bothers me in as much as I’m on the verge of being cold and I was in that state far too long on this ride.

The terrain was good, the ride was well organized, the volunteers were helpful, the food was excellent, the format was interesting … and we had a little rain :). Let’s leave it at that.

Sandy and I flew to Tokyo the day after, as did Hamid and Shab.  We spent some time together exploring; some time apart.  They headed back to the US two days before us.  As I type this, we’re on the flight to from Tokyo to Toronto, leaving at 5:40 pm and arriving about an hour before we left, on the same day.  That must be quantum physics at work :).

The Tokyo experiences?  Hot as hell.  35-37C the entire time.  In spite of that we saw a lot, learned how to use the subway system (not as easy as you might think) and departed Japan hoping to come back … perhaps not riding … perhaps not in the heat of the summer.

To put this in perspective, Hokkaido is about the latitude of Toronto; Tokyo around Atlanta, give or take.  Several typhoons were affecting the weather; who knows what it might be like in Hokkaido or Tokyo in a normal year.  What is a normal year anyway?  That seems to be changing!

One more thing – Tokyo has two syllables.  Toke Yoh.  Not Toke Ee Oh.  See, I learned something :).


Huron Chapter’s Big Bay 200!

Ride report from Carey Chapelle:

The Huron Chapter hosted the BIG BAY 200 this past week-end. Congrats to myself (Chappy), Charles Horslin, John Maccio, Matthew McFarlane, Con Melady, Gwyneth Mitchell, Tim O’Callahan, Liz Overduin and Brenda Wiechers on successfully finishing this scenic brevet and enjoying the 1300 meters of climbing!

Everyone arrived at Tim Horton’s early and thought they were ready to hit the road!

Strangely enough, the 9 Randonneurs pedalled through an intense FOG hoping that moving inland from Lake Huron things would improve!

Thankfully it did! Not just a clear sky, but new asphalt!

We all arrived together at the first Control, the Variety Plus Store in Chatsworth, had our Control Cards signed, grabbed a few snacks and sat down for a photo. You won’t see Chappy because he was the Photographer!

Con, Matt, Liz, Brenda and Tim couldn’t get closer together! Charles and Gwyneth stood close by while John was busy shopping!

Chappy let everyone know that staying together for the next 25 km was going to be unlikely (some good climbing ahead) and that everyone should stop at the General Store in Walter’s Falls to regroup and take some photos.

Once everyone arrived, we took a break from the SUNSHINE!

We then headed down to the Falls for a photo or two as a few of the Randonneurs had never been there before.

Interestingly, a model was standing under the falls having her picture taken and a couple of us were thinking about heading down simply to cool off but decided to enjoy the scenery instead!

Having completed 75 km, everyone was back together and looked forward to having a lunch in Owen Sound. We would simply get our Control Cards signed at the Tim Horton’s Control then head to the Mexican Restaurant, Casero for FUEL. Con and myself knew how busy this restaurant usually is and just hoped we could find room for all of us … and we did!

A big surprise happened next, my daughter Erika and a few of her University friends were out touring the Falls in Grey County and decided to go for lunch at the Casero! We had to take a photo for proof this happened!

All 9 of us headed out together for the last 97 km, going through Wiarton, Sauble Beach and Southampton before reaching the finish in Port Elgin.

On our way to Wiarton, along the Big Bay Peninsula, we passed the Cobble Beach Resort and noticed some carving on a tree!

Having taking the photo, Chappy fell a bit behind the riders and met them at the next Control, the Big Bay General Store in Big Bay where everyone enjoyed some Ice Cream before heading to Sauble Beach for a quick refreshment!

Being 30 km from the finish, we all enjoyed the scenery, the people and quite simply the fun we were having staying together on this brevet!

5 of the 9 riders decided to stop in Southampton at the Outlaw Brewery to try the infamous Blueberry Beer before heading to the Finish in Port Elgin.

A few of the Randonneurs had wondered why Chappy’s wife Donna didn’t do the ride then learned of the BBQ she had put together for everyone. We spent a few hours together, along with Erika and her friends, enjoying the dinner and each other before calling it a day!

Tim and Brenda stayed in town and decided to take a Tandem for a 50 km Cool Down the next day. And yes …. Brenda did finish the Crossword Puzzle on Tim’s back!