Monday, July 19, 2010

A billion dollars of bridges

Quick recap - the plan for the weekend was to do the Peach in Penticton as my last race before tapering for Calgary. Without going into the whole gong show, that didn't happen and instead I had the brilliant idea to spend the weekend with a bunch of folks training for Ironman.

For Saturday's ride Teresa's friend invited us to ride with him then come back to his place for beer. I was so enamoured with the idea of beer that the part about 120km route (later changed to 140km) or 5 hour predicted ride time didn't really sink in!

It was a fair bit longer than would have been in my plan, if my plan didn't have me in Penticton readying for the Peach, but sometimes you have do stuff that's fun rather than smart. Hmm, that didn't sound as meaningful as I'd intended.

Most of us, being diehard West Side or Richmond folk, were pretty much lost as soon as Clement took us past Port Moody. "Where are we?" was the most common sentence uttered. I'm not entirely sure of the route, but we did ride over the new overpass leading up to the new Pitt River bridge and then the new Golden Ears Bridge - over $1B of bridges in about an hour!

Places I do know we got to:

  • Fort Langley - the countryside out there is lovely and the coffee shop we stopped at was excellent.
  • Entrance to Allouette Lake Park - not a good place to be on a bike on a sunny weekend afternoon. Valencia called it a "Goat show" - I'm a city girl so not quite sure what that means but the traffice was nuts.
  • Pitt Meadows - flat, pretty, llamas and horses.
  • Top of a ridiculously (as in "are you kidding me" ridiculous) steep hill that George's Garmin pegged at a 13% grade. This was about 90km into the ride.
  • Presumably lots of other places - 143km is a long way.
Other random ride notes:
  • We all got very good at counting to 9 - everytime we regrouped we counted heads. Had someone else inadvertently joined us we would have likely left one of the group behind.
  • I really don't know much of the Lower Mainland East of Burnaby.
  • Peanut butter on a bagel is about the best food ever on a long ride.
  • My Sugoi bib shorts are great for about 100km. Which I figured out on the 145km Mt. Baker ride then for some dumb reason I wore them again on this weekend's ride.
  • I need to clean the lens for my cell phone camera before taking pictures.
  • Heavy traffic when I'm tired stresses me out.
  • I train with a really good group of folks.

A couple of fuzzy pictures taken at the top of "Ridiculous Hill":


Claire Thompson said...

Well, the one and only time I drove (in a car) over the new Golden Ears bridge I was stressed out. And it was a Monday night with very little traffic? Partway through a long bike ride, and lots of traffic, I *suppose* that it makes sense that you might be stressed out ;o)

(I was stressed because I was going on the advice of someone I didn't really know, who wasn't with me in the car, and had consumed a reasonable number of beers when giving me the advice on how to get back home. I kept wondering where the toll booths were and if I had the correct change? Found out later they take a photo of your car and send a bill in the mail. That would be useful to know crazy toll bridge sign people!!!)

Alison said...

I was wondering where the toll booths were!

The bridge was actually one of the good parts - there's a big sidewalk for bikes and pedestrians so we weren't mixing it up with traffic. The sidewalk does this big slinky spiral at the East end - it's quite fun to zoom down on your bike.

The worst traffic was by Alouette Lake (~5,000 cars trying to get into the park) and what I think must have been Coquitlam.