Sunday, April 5, 2009

My 50+ km ride in the Pacific Populaire Bike ride April 5, 2009

Today I got up early and loaded the bike into the back of the truck for a short drive to Riley Park and the start of the Pacific Populaire bike ride - notice I typed ride not race for while many it is a race this event is for the average Joe - the distance are 25, 50 and 100 KM on mostly bike friendly roads in Vancouver and Richmond - it is meant to serve as a season opener for both the racer and recreational rider.

Here's a link to the web site:

This year I didn't pre-register but did arrive at 7:30 AM for a 9 AM start - there were a few people already there - as you will see I am glad that I arrived early - also to my surprise was who was working the registration booth - one of our bike escorts for the past couple of years who recently became a mom and is taking a break for riding.

The sign tells it all - this year they had a record turnout and over 200 same days registrations - it took so long to get everyone registered that they delayed the start of the ride by 30 minutes.

People waiting to register - the weather was warning up - some filtered sun but no rain which has plagued this event in recent years.

Most of these people are getting ready for the 100 KM start - they had to do a major re-route because of the unfortunate incident where the sister of a prominent Vancouver politican was found mudered on Friday - the route was to go straight pass the crime scene but the police hadn't yet re-opened the area for use. I started a couple of minutes later and we headed in the opposite direction.

This scary picture of me was taken by my biking friend Gerald - he is one of the bike escorts has well.

Here's one of Gerald - he rode up from Yaletown so he had a few kms on his odometer by the time he arrived - he had to wait in line for his registration but he did have me to chat with.

On the 50 and 100 KM ride there is only one control point and that is the Scout Camp on Dyke Rd in Richmond - there is a timing check there and also some food and drink as well as washrooms for all to use - for the 50 ride - it is considered the half way point although it is actually 27.7 KM to this stop - I took me an hour and twenty minutes to reach this point - except for some short uphills at the start and onto the Arthur Laing bridge the route is basically flat in Richmond - I find the wind to be the biggest challenge as it seems to come at you regardless of what direction you are cycling - the winds were light today so that didn't interfere with my timing that much.

There is a stretch along Dyke road in Richmond where we do an out and back for several kms - it is also a rather scenic ride as we follow the south arm of the Fraser River almost into the fishing village of Stevenson. The temperature was starting to warm up nicely - almost took off one layer but stay with my choice of a long sleeve T and a short one over top - did carry my light jacket in my pannier.

On the way back over the #2 Road Bridge you get a good view of the Speeding Skating Oval for the 2010 games in less than a year.

Well 2 hours and 49 minutes and 51.4 kms later I am back at the start - I was tiring coming back up from the river crossing - the route up Hudson St then along 59th Ave and then onto the Ontario St bike route isn't that steep as it climbs gently just tiring as this is my longest ride of the year.

Once we have had our control card stamped and other admin stuff taken care off I received this pin to add to my collection.

I waited about 10 minutes for Gerald to finish and then we grab some more food and he rode with me back to the truck - I then loaded the bike into the truck and headed for a bite to eat.

I was back home shortly after 1 PM and did a slow burn as my internet connection keeps starting and stopping. Probably time to give Telus a call as I don't think it is anything in my system.


Haven't forgotten about doing a photo essay on the Convention Center opening - probably work on that tomorrow.


Canucks on the tele in a couple of hours - sure hope that they can bounce back tonight and that way make it more of a must game for the Flames on Tuesday.


Another biking event that Gerard put me onto was one in conjunction with the Cherry Blossom Festival - so I guess researching that ride will be my after dinner dessert.



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