It had been a looonnng time since my last Comor Sports group ride. So when I saw that they were heading to Iona beach a few weeks ago, I jumped at the chance to join them again and brought my friend Oliver along with me. The evening was spectacular – nice and sunny, not too hot (although my camera & phone were sweat drenched after the ride – so gross!), and a good-sized friendly group.
Blair gave us a run-through of where we were heading, and told us about the special surprise he had in store for us that eve. There were prizes to be won via some races. Sort of like the cash primes I saw professional cyclists race for in the Tour de Delta, Gastown GranPrix, etc. Pretty neat! I didn’t think… ahem I knew I wouldn’t be able to compete though because I am not a super fast cyclist. But still – I thought it was a great idea!
I had been down to Iona Beach once before, way back in May, and was half expecting us to take the same route my friends and I always take when we cycle to Richmond…. but the route was slightly different. We cycled all the way down the Cypress bike route and crossed the bridge used by cars heading towards the Airport – can’t recall what it is called right now.
Once we reached the flat, long stretch of road leading to the beach we REALLY started to pick up the speed. I ended up in a group towards the back and we worked on drafting super close to one another in order to close the gap between us and the group ahead of us. Was really fun but really tough. I mean really tough! haha I had never really cycled at a consistent fast pace with other riders.
I ended up falling behind towards the last little bit and I drafted behind the SUV that Blair was driving. It was pretty funny really… and I joked about it when I reached the pack who were inhaling their energy gels and bars.
You would think this is pretty daft – but others do it all the time! Such as…
Crazy! I doubt I would ever draft behind such a large truck. A sudden brake, and you’d end up as a pancake on the back of the truck! But behind an open-back SUV where I can also chat with the driver? Why not?
Heading back to Vancouver, I was offered the opportunity to jump in the vehicle if I was feeling too tired… but I wasn’t really suffering that bad. I am sure my face looked like I was about to die BUT I just needed to catch my breath and go at a slightly slower pace.
So John kept me company most of the way back and we had a good chat about cycling, bike fittings, and other random stuff. I don’t have a map of the exact route we took back – but roughly it was Eastward bound on SW Marine Drive, up Camosen Street, through Pacific Spirit Regional Park, through Point Grey, including the beautiful Bellevue & Belmont intersection, and then Westward bound through Kitsilano towards the bike shop on 4th and Burrard.
Cycling through the Regional Park and via the Bellevue & Belmont crossroads was definitely a highlight for me. I had never been in that park before or seen the gorgeous view from Bellevue & Belmont, and I wished I had a camera strapped to my bike or helmut at that moment. The view of English Bay, the tankers and the city at dusk was just magnificent.
Somewhere in Kits I realized I had a flat tire – thankfully this happened towards the end of the ride!! So I rode into the Comor Sports shop for a quick repair job. Turns out a tiny yet razor sharp pin prick was stuck in my tire – good thing Blair spotted that one!
After that, we joined the group at Ceili’s Irish Pub for some beers & burgers, and I discovered that I had won a prize for the night! Whhhaaat??? I won a gorgeous Marin Bikes hoodie – the “Red Lantern” prize for keeping the most consistent speed. 🙂 Woo hoo!! I was really touched!
I really enjoyed chatting with the other riders as we ate and the place had an open mic session going on with really nice blues music – something you don’t hear too often in Vancouver!
BIG THANKS to John for keeping me company as we rode back into Vancouver and to Blair for helping me draft behind the van and for changing my tire!