The 2005 Big Bay 200 turned out to be more than just a 200 km Brevet. I’m not sure words can do this year’s event justice, but we’ll give it a try.
Fourteen riders registered for the event and fourteen riders finished. Joe Hill and Dick Fenton from Sarnia’s Bluewater Cycling Club, Derek Hudson from the Niagra Chapter, Con Melady of Goderich, John Maccio, Rolf Hauckwitz, Gary Donkers, all from Sarnia, Nathan Klages, Bill Little, Pat Little, Glen Kubijta, John deJong, Nestor Koturbash and Carey Chappelle, all from the Port Elgin / Kincardine area completed the brevet.
Joe Hill and Dick Fenton decided to give Randonneuring a try following a presentation by Rolf Hauckwitz to the Blue Water Cycling Club this past winter on Randonneuring. Joe and Dick are not new to extreme sports having both completed the 2005 Vancouver Marathon just over a week ago.
Congratulations to Joe, Con, Derek, Dick, Nestor, Gary, John Maccio and John deJong on completing their first 200km Brevet.
Everyone arrived in Port Elgin on the Friday night except for Con who drove up from Goderich before the ride. Derek secured accommodations with Port Elgin’s Fire Chief (Derek himself a firefighter) and the rest of the out of towners stayed at Carey and Donna Chappelle’s home.
The ride started a 0800hrs with Erika Chappelle and Kate Little pacing the group of 14 Randonneurs to the edge of town and with a friendly wave, we were off. There’s a special feeling that goes with riding in such a large group (relatively) and one could see the pride on the girls faces as they led us through town….maybe they too will become Randonneurs.
Overcast skies, 15 degrees and calm winds set the tone for the first half of the ride. The pace being almost 29km / hr to start and everyone staying together. At Chatsworth, Terrina welcomed us to her General Store, often referring to us as her bikers and as she does every year, suggested we go to her place and partake in the spirits instead of riding. With no one accepting her generous offer we left Chatsworth and started separating the “ flatlanders” from the “climbers”. I use the term “climber” loosely. Some good old jocularity surfaced on the first hill with some riders getting caught up in “who could reach the top first”. This phenomena repeated itself throughout the day and by the time we hit the Wiarton climbs, I for one, had no jam left in my legs. Also of note, the Canadian military were doing exercises in the Chatsworth area and seeing the tank and military personnel was something out of the ordinary. See photo.
Owen Sound was the official lunch stop with everyone regrouping for the second half of the ride. Special mention goes out to John deJong who decided to ride into town and then back to the control via the largest hill in Owen Sound just for fun (that explained the profuse sweating ). Lesson learned, read your route sheets.
Leaving Owen Sound, some riders decided to pare down their clothing and quickly put it back on once reaching the Georgian Bay shoreline. The winds off the Bay were quite cool and dropped the temperature at least 15 degrees. Pat from the Big Bay General Store was as excited as ever to see us and offered hugs to anyone wanting one. Except for Nestor and Joe, the group was together briefly at the Big Bay control but for the last time as Glen, Pat, Nathan, Con, Derek and myself headed off while the others rested a little longer. Years previous we would stop in Wiarton for a short break but now the weather had turned and with steady showers pounding down on us we decided to “bull” through to the Sauble control. Bill Little had decided it wouldn’t rain Saturday and had no cold / wet weather gear to speak of, so the only way for him to stay warm was to “put the hammer down” which he did. Leaving the Big Bay control 10 minutes after the first group, Bill caught the lead group at the Sauble Control and joined them for the home stretch and a blistering 9h16min finish! Nice to finally break the 10hr time for this ride. 45mins later, Gary, John, John Maccio, Dick and Rolf made it in with Nestor and Joe 40 minutes behind them. In almost PBP fashion, the neighbourhood kids were out clapping and cheering as the riders returned to my place and the Finish Line complete with a poster the kids made while we were out riding.
Later that night, those who didn’t head home regrouped for a great dinner at Grosvenor’s of Southampton. There were 16 in all at dinner with good food and good times had by all. A mean set of hamstring cramps brought some good humoured teasing my way and a lot of laughter from Rolf as I struggled to get back into my chair.
Thanks to Derek Hudson who generously bought a couple plates of garlic toast and cheese for the group.
Thanks to Pat and Sue Little for the post ride Sauna as it was “marvellous” after a wet cold ride home.
Thanks to the wives who put together fabulous meals and the kids for their unbridled enthusiasm.