Malahat Madness: Don't Try This at Home - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

April 7, 2011

Malahat Madness: Don't Try This at Home

It all started innocently. So far we have only done 30-35 km training runs, around home. Realizing that the time to leave is coming up soon, and that we will need to average 85km per day to get to Montreal at any kind of reasonable date, we hatched a plan for a little longer run. The plan recognized that to get off our Island on the day we leave, we will need to take a ferry at Mill Bay, across the Finlayson Arm of the Saanich inlet, then pedal across the Saanich Peninsula and catch the ferry to Anacortes, Washington, which leaves from the town of Sidney.

So the plan was to just try it - take the Mill Bay ferry and head to Sidney to see if we would be in time for the once per day Anacortes ferry. The total trip for this demo would be 70 km or less - a gentle escalation of our training distance.

And it worked. We got to Sidney really early, looked at the ferry, and said OK! Only thing, we learned that the Mill Bay ferry is going out of service for the month of May. So our plan is toast. Plan B involves going around the Finlayson Arm by road. The glitch in plan B is that the "road" involves the Malahat Mountain summit. The Malahat is not Mont Blanc, but it is still pretty tough.

So sitting in Sidney we said hey let's try out Plan B by circling around the Arm on going up the Malahat. The "Malahat" generally is about 50km, but of course it's 1/2 downhill, right?

Trans Canada Highway approaching the Malahat
Heart 1 Comment 0

Well, we found ourselves with the time left before dark quickly draining away and us grinding upwards in low low gear. Worse, the traffic is heavy, scary, and noisy and the paved shoulder features a narrow amount of pavement between concrete barriers on one side and rumble strips on the other. Plus, there is lots of loose gravel left over from winter.

One stretch of the Malahat
Heart 0 Comment 0

Still, we plodded on and on. Already beat from a day's cycling, we had little reserve for the long hills. We downed some granola bars and carried on. Finally, the steepness of the hills and waning energy had Dodie walking her bike upwards. We made the difficult decision for me to "charge" on home and come back with the van. I hated to leave Dodie plodding along those busy hills, but off I went. It still took me an hour and a half to make it home, and I was pretty delirious when I got there. Still, I jumped in the van and zoomed back.

I expected to find Dodie still below the summit, but to my amazement there she was cycling along, with her night time flashers going, and almost home! I was amazed at her determination. What a fighter!

Still we expect to be too stiff to walk, let alone cycle tomorrow. This is not a good way to train.

We NEED this ferry to keep running.
Heart 1 Comment 0

And by the way, there is no way we will use the Malahat when we do leave, unless it's in a bus!

Rate this entry's writing Heart 1
Comment on this entry Comment 0