March's ride!

Gallery Here.

So maybe choosing to do a 200 the day after a race, and assuming it would be a fast one was probably a little ambitious.
Still, it was darn fun!

As you may or may not have heard at the Spring Social I decided to go out on the Sunday for March's ride, essentially because the races on the following weekend would be missed if I did the Early Bird.

I like my races :)

So it was also a chance to try my new route that I meant to do in February, only to be precluded by snow. Party in the Parks seemed like a great way to get in some non-major roads but still stay in the Lower Mainland.

Having managed to convince Nigel Press and my fellow UBC student Patrick to come, as it was forecasted as the first possibly sunny day in a while, the ride actually looked like it would be pretty fun!
And I hadn't had a chance to ride my new Grand Bois Tyres yet, so I was excited to have those, especially given the rougher section out to Pitt Lake.

We left Sigel's Bagels at a lazier 8:30AM given the hour of sleep loss, and rode through Stanley Park on the way to Deep Cove, briefly slowing to chat with my Escape Velocity teammate who was doing a 'slacker' 1 hour recovery ride. The stretch to Deep cove did threaten rain, but was reasonably pleasant - although it was there when I discovered my hill legs were lacking :)

After a brief chocolate-croissant stop at Honey's, we rode up the steep Seymour Parkway bit, up to the Demonstration forest and began the lovely stretch out to the end of the trail and back. It was cool and quiet, we passed only a couple of cyclists and runners the entire time. Possibly my favourite stretch of bike roads anywhere.

Then it was off to Belcarra, where Patrick had never been and Nigel and I had not visited for many a year.

Belcarra was a nice mix of hills and views, and by this point it was starting to be sunny, so I happily had removed my rain pants and overgloves. We did however miss one small turn and ended up taking the same hills back from Belcarra as we did on the way. Oops! :)

Exiting Belcarra we moved up the Heritage Mountain climb which is always gorgeous, if a little slow when the legs aren't in it! We stopped for a bit at the top of the hill, and of course it was only as we rolled away that I noticed my tire was flat. So we briefly stopped to pump it up before heading along David and then down to the Lougheed.
Of course by that point we discovered that it was legitimately flat. Oops. And my chain was making some sweet noises. So we pulled into the gas station to harvest some oil, change the tube and consume some food for the remaining 100kms.

Pitt Lake is gorgeous, but the road out there if you know - less so...
Patrick made the wonderful choice of riding a new bicycle with handlebars without padded tape, no gloves and 20mm tires. Combine this with saddle sores and you have a really fun time. Heh.

But after a ride out, brief stop and munchies, we rode back were on our way homewards!

The next section was on the lovely infrastructure out to the SFPR, and as always was pretty. Then it was down the road and up and over the Pattullo Bridge. Though with all the recent construction, route-navigator Étienne lead the other two on a fun chase around the bridge. Need to make that clearer next time :)

Then it was through to New Westminster where we had a forced stop to look for water, as both Patrick and I were super-parched. We stopped at a stadium, but of course all the indoor and outdoor fountains were off for some reason, so we just awkwardly shuffled into a change room to fill our bottles from the sink.

Then it was the home stretch! Down to Marine and along the Kent bikeway, then up the last Cambie hill (though Patrick's legs had taken their vacation by that point - it became slow but steady).
Over to Cypress, down the hill and we were back at Siegel's, amazingly an exact 12 hours after we had left. Weird.

Of course the final task was to stuff our jackets full of bagels and ride home amidst the delicious smells. Patrick passed, assuring Nigel and I that he would go home and cook a delicious burger instead. (He later admitted to regretting the cooking plan, and picked up some food cooked by others instead!!)

In summary? Favourite 200 so far! Gorgeous, and can't wait to repeat this during a summer month!