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A charity bike ride has changed my life :)

Archive for the tag “Iona Beach”

Weekly Group Ride with Comor Sports to Iona Beach

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 giving us an update on the evening’s group ride plan.

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!

Blair changing my tire after a flat.

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!

At Ceili’s – the Comor Sports Group Ride table.

My yummy burger, salad (so healthy!) and beer! A fine treat after a good ride!

My “Red Lantern” Prize!!

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!

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VanFondo 2012 & Iona Beach (Richmond) – 90km Training Ride

On Saturday, May 12th, 2012 Comor held the 1st Annual VanFondo. The leisure-style bike ride was a HUGE success with over 1200 cyclists participating in support of Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. The registration fee of $10 went towards this charity (2 thumbs up!)….. so that’s a donation of  $12,000 towards Canuck Place!

According to this Georgia Straight article  “It may have been the largest gathering of cyclists in Vancouver history”. The fact that the weather was just OUTSTANDING surely helped too! 🙂

When I signed up for the Ride to Conquer Cancer 2012 – my first ever bike ride for charity –  I knew I would be training a lot, but I didn’t anticipate that I’d get to experience another, smaller charity bike ride to serve as a teaser! 🙂

It was a great way to get a feel for what riding in a large group is like. I was so nervous as I was leaving the house – it was my first-ever “on the road” clipless cycling experience. So naturally, I crashed on my left side literally 5 secs after leaving my house. Terrible chain scratches along my ride leg… but I was kinda glad I didn’t wipe out during the actual ride before oncoming traffic!

My guard was definitely up to ensure I rode safely and unclipped well before the red lights!

The route was fantastic and there were a lot of volunteers (and policemen on motorcycles) to ensure we had safe passage through the many intersections.

Some of those hills in Kits really killed me though!

Comor,  a well-known Winter Sports store based in Kits,  recently ventured into the cycling/ bikes business (it seems to be booming in Vancouver) and they launched this new event to raise awareness among the cycling community, rather than spend money on advertising, sales promotions etc. Pretty smart!

When I stepped into the store on the Friday before the event to pick up my event registration pack and I was taken aback by how different the store looked without the racks and racks of ski gear!

The VanFondo 2012 route was circa 45km long – Since Kath and I factored in the extra cycling we did in Vancouver to go to the venue and to go to Kath’s house afterwards before we continued to Richmond – and had a 50km distance stamp on our monitors.

Riding out to Iona beach was lovely – it’s totally level so you can really pick up some speed, and by the time you reach the beach it is just so peaceful and relaxing. For those who don’t know – the long jetty that extends into the water is actually a sewage pipeline… so I’m guessing no one actually swims there, because that thought is kind of gross.

I ended up getting a major sunburn that day – mostly because I was having so much fun and with the breeze whipping on my exposed skin I didn’t realize I was burning up!

The 2013 VanFondo will be held on Saturday, May 11th, 2013. Unless I am out of town – I will definitely be signing up again for this event!!

So here’s my video of the day (check it out for more photos!): 

And here are some more vids – by other people….

An AWESOME video with cool info-graphics (I have to find out how to make those!!): 

A time lapse video of the VanFondo 2012 Route: 

An interview with Comor’s Paul Player: 

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