Randonneurs Ontario

Scenic Caves 300 Report

Scenic Caves 300 Report

Story and photo by Carey Chappelle
May 28, 2005

The Huron Chapter's Scenic Cave 300 was held Sat. May 28, 2005. All twelve riders successfully completed the event and they were, Pat Little, Carey Chappelle, John Maccio, Rolf Hauckwitz, Con Melady, Rudy Ziegler, Ann Pokocky, Gary Donkers, Bill Little, Joe Hill, Dick Felton and Nathan Klages.

Congratulations to John, Con, Rudy, Gary, Joe and Dick, as it was their first ever 300 km Brevet. Thanks to Ann for inspiring the Rookies in the field and humbling the veterans. Ann's 300 was her third event of the week which included a Fleche, a 400 in Ottawa and of course the Huron's 300. After the 300, Ann headed back to Toronto to organize and possibly ride a 200 on Sunday...WOW!

Pneumonia Pat pulled of his own heroics on Saturday, not fully recovered from a bout of pneumonia the week before, he managed to tame Bill Little on Bowles Hill with a never say die effort to the top!! Unfortunately, we know Bill won't take this lying down and we should all fear the upcoming Creemore Classic 400 and the awesome Scenic Cave Hill, where no doubt, Bill will seek redemption.

All riders arrived in Port Elgin Friday night with only Dick and his wife Nuella taking a motel room. The rest were either residents or stayed with us. Thanks to Pat and Sue Little for the use of their tent trailer which housed a few more athletes.

The ride started at 6 am sharp, or was supposed to. Seems Joe Hill left his laminated route sheet at our house and headed back to get it. Everyone wanted to wait and it became obvious that rider support was alive amongst these randonneurs. The morning sunrise was a sight to behold as we headed east towards Hanover and the first control. Of course a group photo at Big Bruce has and is a right of passage for those on the Scenic Cave 300. See photo (below).

After Hanover, the group, still together headed towards Owen Sound with a brief stop at Inglis Falls to take in the view or as Rolf would say "to stop and smell the roses". Apple blossoms were out in full bloom and only added to the natural beauty of the Inglis Falls surroundings. From Owen Sound to Meaford we started the climbing that these parts are known for and maintained a pace that kept everyone together. Freshly paved asphalt was prayed for last year and our prayers were answered as we traveled along the newly named Gerald Shortt Pkwy. No traffic, no bugs just fresh black top. Arriving in Meaford we headed towards one of Scott Chislom's favorite eatery's the Leaky Canoe where we blew the froth off a few, ate some great food and then, headed out to flat landers "hell on earth". It seems every time we do this route my good name takes a beating and Saturday was no different. With 12 riders, it's a lot of fun to try and ride with every one and do some socializing. As we were heading along the Seventh line there was a collective sigh of relief when we promptly took a left turn and avoided the hill ahead. Or so they thought. The left turn was intentionally put on the route to add another hill and then return on a steeper parallel hill that they just "avoided". Gary commented on how happy he was that we avoided the hill and it was then that I decided to move along before the truth be known. It was also here that we encountered the only rain shower of the day and it proved to be rather refreshing.

Anyone who has ridden CR7 to CR13 knows about the Great downhill section there. Peoples spirits are lifted, idle chatter abounds...until CR13. I couldn't help but notice how the pace dropped drastically, suddenly nobody was talking, everyone seemed pensive. Did they all know about Bowles Hill ahead? I don't usually let that cat out of the bag, but it was obvious they knew.

Con Melady took the polka dot jersey for his aggressive ride up, but Nathan Klages deserves an honorable mention as he effortlessly spun to the top, passing two other riders and yours truly before being nudged out by Con.

The group had splintered into two parts just after the Seventh line stretch but regrouped in Flesherton where some friendly comments were made towards the route developer.

We traveled as one for a few km's then split back into two groups before rejoining in Dornoch where we had an impromptu ice cream social before the home stretch. The home stretch is just that, it can seem a stretch, another hill, some head wind, cooler temperatures. How much further? More than one person commented on that last 20 km, "it seems further" "that's the longest 20 km of my life".

Following the ride we had some great eats, great stories and just genuine good fun back at my place. Ann P left for Toronto and another ride while the rest stayed the night and headed back home Sunday. It's safe to say, a good time was had by all.

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