By Carey Chappelle
The Huron Chapter hosted the Beaver Valley 400km Brevet this past Wednesday. Scenery – Drop Dead Gorgeous! The Route – CHALLENGING! The Weather – NASTY!Congratulations to John Cumming (1), Charles Horslin, John Kieffer (2), Matthew McFarlane and Tiago Varella-Cid on successfully completing this 400!!Chappy, Charles, Matthew, John 1 and John 2. Photo taken by Tiago at the Start!
The original Start time was 0400hrs., the Randonneurs showed up at 0330 and enjoyed the Rain, Thunder and LIghtening for the next hour and a half. No one even considered heading out until 0500hrs when things started to look better! You can see me (Chappy far left) checking out the weather forecast for the day … I simply wished everyone WELL and headed back to bed!After 4 hrs of sleep, I double checked the weather forecast for the day. It hadn’t changed. Temperature to feel like 39 deg C, Occasional Strong winds from the SW at 100km/hr, along with Thunder and Lightning to happen in the evening and into the night! It wasn’t hard convincing myself I had made the right decision to provide SUPPORT!Heading NE, the participants enjoyed a decent tail wind until Matthew Mcfarlane experienced a flat tire! Quick fix and everyone was back on the road heading towards the first Control – Dundalk (114km). When Chappy arrived, the only Randonneur he could find was pedalliing in circles … John Kieffer (a new Randonneur) had refuelled and was having trouble getting back on route! Chappy was able to get him in the right direction!
Now heading out of Dundalk, roads were closed but cyclists were able to stay on track. I had to detour but eventually was back on route. Another road closure left me wondering where everyone was. Headed through Flesherton, down into the Beaver Valley then up towards the next turn, then decided to message one of the Randonneurs to see where everyone was. Heading back to Flesherton, Tiago Varellla-Cid was in the middle of the climb and low and behold … the new Randonneur … John Kieffer wasn’t far behind!
The stretch from Kimberley to Owen Sound took a fair amount of fuel from everyone’s tank! I Stopped and filled some water bottles along the way … much needed of course! Touching base with the Randonneurs, I was able to make reservations at the Casero Kitchen Table and order just ahead of their arrival. Tiago and John (2) arrived earlier, when I was having lunch at the Mudtown Station in Owen Sound and gassed up at another restaurant. I ordered meals ahead then waited in the Tented area for everyone. HOT? I had a difficult time not sweating under the tented area in the SHADE! Checked my GPS and the temperature was 41 deg C!! With over 20 yrs experience Randonneuring I knew the effect these conditions can and will have on every participant. I hung around waiting for the last rider to refuel and saved their leftovers for later in the ride. Leaving Owen Sound the ride basically headed SW. Into the Wind. Dark Clouds were moving in our direction, keeping fingers crossed I hoped the weather forecast wouldn’t happen!Unfortunately, another Bridge Closure happened on route to Durham, a few were able to make their way across while others simply took the paved roads detour.
I decided to wait in Durham for all the riders to make it through the second last Control. Time difference from first to last was approximately 3 1/2hrs. Fortunately the weather was cooling down and the 100km / hr winds hadn’t happened! Chatted with everyone, filled up their water bottles, passed a bag of Nuts on to Charles and wished them well to the Finish!
On my way to the Finish, I passed everyone noticing how much better they looked thanks to the cooler temperature, wished them well and headed back to the Best Western Plus, Waterloo. Thought I’d pick up some Pizza but was unable to find a place open. Showered then waited to see our Finishers. Congrats Boys! Well Done!! I wouldn’t suggest riding in these conditions often! Huron Chapter V.P.,Chappy