Credence Coldwater Revival

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That’s right I want to give credence to the concerns some of my fellow newbie riders have about the Coldwater Road portion of our epic journey by reviving the controversy. The mere mention of this road is enough to send shivers up the spine of any virgin R2S’er that mimic the frigid waters of the very river it is named for.

So, on the morning of Saturday May 26thI set out from my rickety shack east of Mission and backtracked part of our route by car till I sourced the root of the problem. The beginning portion of this 30K trek was rather nondescript or at least only as descript as the outskirts of Merritt can be. I parked the jalopy roadside, mounted up and set off with great trepidation. Guess what?

It wasn’t that bad!  (Oh sure, easy for me to say. Let’s see how I feel on the morning of June 23rd 2012).

Let me start by emphasizing the positive:

  • It’s very scenic.
  • There wasn’t much traffic.
  • There were no bears at the bear crossing.
  • There were perfect riding conditions.

Take solace in the fact that at least the first positive can’t change on R2S day.

Yes there is a little undulation (that’s a cycling term that has a close cousin in the airline business when they tell us there will be a “little turbulence”). Yes the road is a little textured, but certainly devoid of craters and fissures. All in all it was a welcome relief from the monotony of Delta’s farmlands and Surrey’s traffic. Could it be that it is notorious not for its nature, but for its juncture? After all it is at a point in our travels when we have recently conquered the highest elevation and immediately after our bodies have cried out for reinforcements. Should we all be wary of excessive food and drink while we are at the Merritt rest stop?

Grand Larsony

I had the pleasure of meeting up with the road crew at the spot where the Coldwater Road meets the Coquihalla. They are expecting us. I asked how much further to the next turnaround and the gentleman replied with a smile “oh, about 8k”. The reason he was smiling of course is that it’s really more like 25K. The road crews really do care it’s just that they’re bored. That’s why they create moguls. They are aware how difficult navigating the inside shoulder can be. That’s why by the time I started the ascent of Larson hill they were right beside me plowing, sweeping, and watering the OUTSIDE SHOULDER!

In fact riding the Coquihalla shoulder wasn’t bad. There is a margin of about 8 inches between where the rumble strips end and the sand dunes begin. This margin is created by a device known as an anti-cycling octoplow. This entire area is contoured to drive you toward the dunes by angling the pavement in a technique know to road engineers as “slope-a-dope”. If you do hit the rumble strips on a fast descent think of it as training in case you ever want to become a jackhammer operator.

Despite these inconveniences I gained insight into what it will be like on ride day by visualizing our group powering past all obstacles, especially cancer.

Please understand the negatives are tongue in cheek and not meant to be a discouragement. Here’s to part work, part fun, and a problem free R2S.