400km Brevet: Beyond Hope (DNF)

I have sometimes said that stories about a DNF on a brevet are often more interesting than stories about successful brevets. This one is probably the exception that disproves that comment.


The brevet was scheduled to start at 9:00pm Saturday evening so Barb dropped me off early at the start, and then drove off with my water bottles still in the van – I had to phone her to get her to return my bottles. Luckily, she was just around the corner making a quick stop at McDonald’s before heading home so I was still able to start on time.

The sun was just setting as we started. As often happens with longer brevets, the majority of participants started at an easy pace, allowing for a little bit of socializing. I talked briefly with Eric about Super Week 2010 and the high number of hits the new section of the BC Randonneurs web site was receiving: it looks like Super Week may be receiving quite a bit of interest.

I started to feel like I wanted to being going a little bit faster along United Blvd so pulled ahead of the group as I turned onto the Mary Hill Bypass. I caught up with Nigel and Cheryl, on a tandem, and Peter on the way through Maple Ridge. I suspect I wasn’t actually setting a faster pace than they were but was simply luckier with the traffic lights. I continued to ride with them until the first control at the Husky station up on the hill in Mission.

It had started to rain on us a little bit when we went up Keystone towards the Husky station so I decided I didn’t want the stop for long. The others were staying a little longer to have a snack so I continued on without them – setting a slightly easier pace for a while as I had a quick snack while riding. The other three caught up with me just past the corner at Deroche, after Nickomen Island.

It was about 12:30 when we passed the Sasquatch Inn, which was used as the turnaround control on the Sasquatch Stomper Brevet which I organized in March this year. I noticed that it was still open and I was wondering why it didn’t make Doug and Susan’s list of places where you could stop during the night for food and water – then I realized that we had been setting a fairly fast pace and that it probably wouldn’t be open when the slower riders went past here.

I first started feeling a little unwell climbing Woodside, with just over 100km completed. After a while, I came to the conclusion that I may have simply been pushing myself a little too fast and so I slowed down a little bit and let the other three go ahead. I wasn’t feeling better by 125km so stopped and took some Ginger-based Gravol which I have found can be quite effective – and is non-drowsy.

Unidentified Cyclist At Tim Horton's

When I pulled into Hope, I wasn’t feeling much better so I decided to take my time and relax for a while to give myself some recovery time. A larger group of riders who had been riding in a pace line arrived half an hour after me, and another group shortly after them. The 24Hr Tim Horton’s in Hope got quite busy – including one unidentified participant (see photo on right) who changed out of his wet clothing, right down to the base layers.

I spent a little more than an hour and a half in Hope before I felt I was ready to head out on the road again. It wasn’t long before the climbing started heading up Hwy 3 towards Manning Park. It also wasn’t long before my stomach started feeling really unwell and I stopped and threw up at the side of the road.

At this point I paused and thought about my options before I turned around and coasted back into Hope. I found a motel so I could get some sleep and phoned Barb to ask her to pick me up in the morning – which she did around 10:00am. I then spent the next 24 hours or so recovering on the couch and in bed so I have come to the conclusion that either I ate something that didn’t agree or caught some sort of infection from my kids (who always seem willing to share that sort of thing).

Nigel, Cheryl and Peter all finished in a little over 17 hours. I heard that a number of people found the route to be a hard ride – as 400s usually are – but I was the only DNF. The results have now been posted on the BC Randonneurs web site.

Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexpope/sets/72157623997541799/
Garmin Connect: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/34320381

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4 Responses to “400km Brevet: Beyond Hope (DNF)”

  1. Harold Bridge Says:

    As one would expect fom Allen/Latornell, a well planned and challenging 400 (is there a non challenging 400,for Fraser etal maybe).
    But there is a question about Rte 7 east of Agassiz.
    While on a family camper trip to HHS in 1970, I ventured east of Agassiz and cycled onto a gravel road that at that time didn’t go anywhere.The Ruby Creek bridge was still to be built when Hathaway did his Calgary-Vancouver record (pre-Coq)of 51 hours in 1972. BTW: that included wading through Ruby Creek with bike on shoulder.
    The Highway was extended to Haig at the juncture with Rte #1 and was known as the Haig Highway, although still Rte #7.

  2. I noticed that Google Maps referred to Hwy 7 between Agassiz and Hope as Haig Hwy. I don’t remember seeing any signs with this name out on the road.

    I checked Mapquest and Yahoo Maps and both of those have Hwy 7 labelled as Lougheed Hwy east of Agassiz but do show a short stretch of road in Agassiz labelled as Haig Hwy that connects Hwy 7 and Hwy 9.

  3. Sorry, I did try to keep in mind all speeds as I put down the open establishments. I should have thought of the Sasquatch Inn and given them a call. It was indeed closed when we went through.

  4. Craig Premack Says:

    Too bad Alex, I virus I believe. Last week it went through my work, then home…