Thursday, June 25, 2009


After my last post, team Mighty captain Shane Savage could be found in the comments section, saying "can three and four hundred be far behind...". Well, so right he was, as after that first 200+ km day, Andrew and I did a 300 and a 400 on subsequent Tuesdays.

I'll be back soon with a longer update and some photos from the latest ride, an out-and-back to the old Coquihalla toll booth, 200 km out and 1244 m up. In the meantime, I've got a call to take...

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My first 200km day.

When you hear that yesterday was my first 200k day, you might think I was lying. "You've done some pretty dumb stuff on a bike, Morgan, but not a 200 km day?" Well the odometer has never broken 200, but I've had worse days than yesterday for sure. The first one was on the Show Us Yr Bobs tour, where we rode 170k from Union Bay to Salt Spring Island. Fixed gear, 42/16, loaded trailer. My knee objected at about 150.

Another big day was last year's Big 300 ride. I was again concerned for the knee, due to a recent crash, and decided not to commit to the 300. Instead I came out on my track bike and rode 62 out with the group and solo back. Total was 125 at that point, brakeless. I came home to find Nick all "dude we need to go to Kerrisdale to buy the $160 Rocky Mountain Cirrus". Nick's only bike at the time being a 26" BMX, we hooked up the trailer to the Marinoni, and pushed my day to 170. Knee was just fine.

I also did 160k fixed in December with Weeks and Camilo. We were hoping for more mileage but the constant high winds and below-freezing temperatures kept us in line. Still one for the record books. The sidewalk of the Oak Street Bridge with 10cm of fresh powder was pretty nice.

Yesterday's ride was an impromptu invitation from mander in the next stupidly long ride proposition on fixedvan: almost 400 km with two mountain passes. Mander nonchalantly mentioned he'd be doing a 200 the next day and, having just cleared my schedule to allow for such mid-week adventures, I was in. Meeting at 10am in Port Moody, I can do, and so can the sentinel Tim Wyatt.

Here is the route: Vancouver to Harrison Mills, which is a bit before Harrison Hot Springs, and back (the map starts and ends in Port Moody). We ended up taking Dewdney Trunk Road out of Maple Ridge, which becomes a hilly, forest highway taking you past Stave Lake across a dam. A very nice change from the monotony of Hwy 7. Mander is probably the best person to throw unexpected hill climbs at, too. He eats that shit up.

As the mountain section was drawing to a close, we made a left hand turn and got up to top gear cruising speed again. Then, BAM, my rear tire blew. As I was under the impression the wheel was a tubular, I figured this was it for the ride. When I came to a stop, I realized it was a clincher (hallelujah!). The tire was in such shitty condition that I had come to the false conclusion that it was tubular. That said, I would never had left the house on that tire if I'd known I could change it. Oh well.

So we're at about km 52, in the woods basically, with a flat - my second for the day after a freak front pinch in Pitt Meadows. I pull the tire and pass the tube to mander to patch while I install another tube. Upon reinstallation we identify a sidewall blowout, and boot it with a $5 bill.

We make it all of 4 km before it blows again, in a different spot. Fuck. At least this time we're near civilization. We walk half a block back to a gas station, and ask if there's a bike shop around. Down on Railway Street, the girl says, near the end. Well, at least it's down hill. I ride it on the flat just over 2km to Wenting's Cycle Shop, where I am able to buy a Schwalbe Lugano and some tubes. Mander checked out the nice stock of bikes from road to cx to bmx, including Svein Tuft's own time trial bike on display.

So, we're on the road again. Willie Nelson and shit. (It comes up at this point in time that I've said "Willie Nelson and shit" after fixing all three flats, and mander doesn't know what I'm talking about. It also comes up that the last time he was out this way, his riding partner, Rich, had a mechanical here) We ride the next ~30k to our destination without a problem, our drafting techniques now second nature.

After about 15km on the return trip, we are both ready to bonk. Not enough food. Oatmeal has worn off. Gatorade is low. We stop at a store for sandwiches, coke, and more candy. Sitting under a tree, reflecting on our condition, mander mentions we are doing better than he and Rich were when they also had to stop under this very tree. Of course, they were doing it fixed.

The sandwiches were just what we needed, and we got going again. Another 22km of good momentum, and BAM, my brand new rear tire is blown. Must have been a sharp rock, as it just caught the sidewall. Fuck you, rock! Mander guarded my coke/water bottle from a sea of ants while I changed flat number 4. Willie Nelson and shit.

38 km of solid riding leads us to Port Coquitlam, definitely within stabbing distance of the Lower Mainland. With mander at 160 and myself and 180 for the day, we are zoning out and decide to take it easy the rest of the way. I see hills in the distance and call small ring far in advance. We make it all the way in to Vancouver on the next leg. We part ways, myself for a cold beer and mander to finish his 200 by riding back to Port Moody - Willie Nelson and shit.

Sean came home and all you can eat sushi was mentioned. What better time? I stretched, showered, and destroyed that shit. Now I'm heading up to Mighty to talk fit with Ed about the Cyclops. After 200km in the saddle, it should be a good conversation.