That Cowichan Valley is an amazing region to ride a bike….too bad the Malahat is in the way!
The Wheelers supported ride was a beaut. This was the first of three Wheeler supported rides, where a group of 50 or so folks with a love for the feel of spandex and a good hard spin gathered at Oak Bay Bikes at 8:00am, Saturday, June 13. Joe Gard greeted us along with Dave Emery in the support wagon to take us on an epic 160km ride. It was a energetic and diverse group of riders, some fast newcomers to the Wheelers Race team, a bunch of folks who sound like they were putting in some long miles in prep for the Victoria Grand Fondo (270 Km around southern Vancouver Island, June 27), some who just wanted to get a good ride in and surprisingly many just wearing the vintage Wheelers gold and black kit.
Two groups took off and we cruised through town towards the Malahat before the big climb (along with rumble strips, transport trucks ripping by, and the constant pinch shooting of pebbles from your tires). Then descended into Mill Bay and hit that coastline strip - just magic. Rolling along a great stretch of Telegraph Road and then into Cowichan Bay for a re-grouping. Don’t ask me why, but I didn’t pack a lunch so James (Stucky Lifer) and I hit the Cowichan Café for some grub (yes, I know I should have packed a lunch). Well….they don’t make em very fast in Cowichan, so the group headed on….and I don’t blame them. So a few breakfast burritos on the bike, and a good chase through Tzouhalem and Maple Bay area (again…magic), and we were able to catch the group across the highway at some random picnic bench in Duncan. Then off we all rolled through old town Duncan, and a great route through Cobble Hill via Allenby Rd, Koksilah Rd and Lakeside Rd. At Shawnigan Lake we had a stellar sized group of 10 or so Wheelers rolling the hills around the lake. Then a quickie stop into see Dave again for some snacks. Everyone wanted to keep the legs moving to get out of Shawnigan Lake and over the Malahat…which by the way is still not fun, even on a descend, which I noticed that we were moving at upwards of 70Km/hr...back along the goose, tired…but smiling.
What a magic day in the saddle. Its pretty cooler the Wheelers fraternity puts on these kinds of epic support rides. Thanks to the many that make these rides possible. Hope to see you at the next one!
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