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.

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You riders who did the training ride on June 2,  were totally unaware that you rode through swarms of bees along 0 Avenue between the Abbotsford airport and the 264th boarding crossing...it was amazing to see from the SAG.  We had the windows closed tightly as we watched you ride through them, without even a *swat*.  We were holding out breath, wondering if someone was going to get stung, or if the group would notice.  Maybe it helped you all ride faster, as the bees couldn't keep up...they just flew over you.  Amazing and scary at the same time.

Great ride everyone.  You didn't look like you had just spent 9.5 hours in the saddle.  Starting in the cold, finishing in the sun. 

 

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C'mon everybody, do I hear $300,000 before ride day?  Do I hear $350,000?

We BLEW $350,000 out of the water, can you say over $410,00 as of this morning?!?

We can do this!  We can make this year's Ride2Survive raise more money than EVER before!

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Note to self- if a mountain is mentioned in a training ride, climbing and descending are involved.

Okay- so I see from previous bloggers yesterday's 200km ride effected alot of us. It is at this point in the ride that it is all becoming surreal to me. I was a cheerleader last year. I wore a red clown nose and shook my pom poms. I looked in awe through a windshield or an open roof top at an amazing group of riders doing this crazy amazing ride. All I could do was cheer them on and feed them and give them hugs. They were my heros.

 

I suppose, humbly now, I must admit, I am my own hero. If i hold myself to the same light as all the others, I am them. they are me. We are each other. And judging by the amazing SAG crew yesterday, this statement is truer than ever.

Charles(vetran rider and ride captain), Nicola, Kristine, and Sonia. All riders. All part of the support team. And later Abhi and John. Riders supporting riders? No, team mates supporting each other. It makes no difference the role one plays, its what one brings to each ride that counts. And Charles brought yummy pasta for some of the ride captains that were too busy to prepare the night before. That is teamwork. And the energy and laughs and cheering from that SAG crew was amazing! And Kerri O. What can I say? Always a rock. I bet you had fun.

My, my I've digressed. I have found training is making me dumb. My mind and body is on a slower gear, as my body heals and recovers from each ride and prepares for the next.

 

Okay surreal, that's where I was. I remember last year, Pam and I at the ice cream place, Waiting for riders. and waiting. And waiting. In the hot sun. We had gotten there too early. And I was wearing a clown nose when they came in. My heros. I wondered- how the hell do they do this????? Yet I knew I would be doing it the following year. This year. I wondered how the hell I was going to do it.

 

Snotty hills. Sumas Mountain you should be renamed. You caught me off guard. Although the word 'mountain' should have given me a hint. I didn't do that part in SAG last year(I was waiting at the ice cream shop), so I was surprised by your snottiness. Go blow! Emilio seemed intent on hearing at least 1 f-bomb from me. I aim to please. I gave him 2. S

 

I cheer people while riding. Its ingrained in me. You can take the girl out of the SAG but you can't take the SAG out of the girl. How can I yell/cheer/swear while climbing??Because I'm crazy. Because i teach spin and I have to talk and workout at the same time. And look in control while doing it. Plus I love encouraging and motivating people. It makes me happy. And letting out a "WHAHOO" every once in awhile is a great stress buster. I recommend everyone try it!!!!

And lastly, can I just mention paceline and 0 ave, and how Cathy so eloquently said- the pollen snowing on us. And again Al M, Rich, Emilio, Graham making it work for all of us. Emilio "I'm coming I'm coming" trying to close a very HUGE gap in the fast line. Really, in the wind? You want us doing 29km/hr. After 9 hours in saddle? 170ish km's logged. Sure we can. hahahaha. We can't and we know it but geez its fun trying to keep it together. That's why we ride.

And here we sit, less than 3 weeks out. Getting a little giddy and little afraid of the whole thing. My body trying to grasp the fact that it will double the time in the saddle from yesterday. Double the km's, double the food. And defintely double the fun. I look forward to every moment.

I also look forward to kicking cancer's ass and one day putting this terrible discease behind us all. I don't know what the hold up is with the cure, but I know I want to be part of the solution.

 

Siobhan

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