Sunday, 5 April 2009

Pacific Populaire

This weekend was one of the best in recent memory. The sun was shining and it was actually around 20° C. today. What great scootering weather - but I didn't scoot at all.

Why not?

Two words - Pacific Populaire.

My friend, Stew (whose photos grace the blog entry today) asked me if I wanted to join him and a friend a few weeks ago. I said that I would probably go but actually waited until the last possible moment so I could check the weather forecast. As it turned out, the weather was perfect.

I drove into Vancouver with my bike on my carrier and parked at Stew's house. Stew and I were joined by his friend, Lana, who had come over the night before from Vancouver Island. After a quick cup of tea, we headed out on our bikes to the Pacific Populaire.

The event is put on by the BC randonneurs which is a long distance cycling group. This particular event was just for fun so it attracted everyone from the serious hard-core cyclist to, well, us. There was a choice between 25, 50 or 100 km so we went up the middle and chose 50 km.

When we arrived, there was a huge lineup for registration - obviously the good weather had brought out a lot of last minute participants. Luckily we had pre-registered so we didn't have to lineup for an hour.

There were so many people registering that the ride was delayed by half an hour. Then we were off!

As usual when I'm starting of on a long ride, I went to fast and did not find my own pace until about 5 km. After that I slowed down a bit and found a pack of cyclists at my own speed. The ride starts in Vancouver at a place called Riley Park and goes along streets that have dedicated bike lanes. We headed south and eventually crossed the bridge over the Fraser River and went by Vancouver Airport. We then ended up cycling in Richmond.

The Richmond part of the ride was very enjoyable as it was relatively flat and there wasn't too much traffic.

At around the 20 km mark, we stopped for a quick coffee at a coffee shop. It was a nice break as we watched the other cyclists whizz by but eventually the sweeper of the 50 km ride stopped by and we decided it was time to press on!

We made good time on the 5 km to the halfway mark and then got our control cards stamped.

Happily there was a nice variety of food including bananas, cookies and cakes.

We had a quick rest and then got back on the bikes as we didn't want to stay at the back of the pack....

I felt really good for the next several kilometres. We made good time as the roads were smooth and the headwind eventually dissipated. We continued on until we crossed the bridge back into Vancouver. Then began the hill back up to the start. Although I slowed a bit on the hills, I still made pretty good time.

Finally, we rode into Riley Park and received a pin to commemorate our ride. We finished the 50 km ride in 3 hours and 24 minutes but that included the 30 minute stop for coffee. After having a couple more cookies and a celebratory photo, we headed to another coffee shop for a quick latte. A very enjoyable ride, but I don't know if I'll be up to the 100 km next year!


Baron's Life said...

I totally enjoyed this post.
well done Dave
Happy Easter to you and your family

Dave Dixon said...

Thanks, Berge, glad you liked it.
Happy Easter to you and yours as well!